Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Oracle Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Oracle Finally Decides To Stop Prolonging the Inevitable, Begins Hardware Layoffs (theregister.co.uk) 177

Shaun Nichols, reporting for The Register: Oracle is starting layoffs that will hit its hardware division, The Register has learned. Current and some soon-to-be former staffers have whispered that the database giant is shipping out packages containing the paperwork for ending their employment. The workers have received alerts from FedEx that the packages, which will need to be signed for, are en route for a September 1 delivery. "One of my co-workers emailed that he received a notification from FedEx of a label created by Oracle America, Inc," writes one anonymous employee. "I just checked and a label has been created for my home address. This is in the US. Looks like Friday is it for Sparc MicroElectronics." The layoffs are hardly a surprise, given the performance of Oracle's hardware unit as of late. In the last financial year, Oracle reported hardware revenues of $4.15bn. By comparison, in 2016 the unit logged hardware revenues of $4.67bn. In 2015 it was $5.2bn, and 2014 saw $5.37bn.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Oracle Finally Decides To Stop Prolonging the Inevitable, Begins Hardware Layoffs

Comments Filter:
  • Oracle? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2017 @10:15AM (#55122271)

    Well, they should have seen it coming!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, this is terrible news for the people losing their jobs. Nobody wants to have their livelihood taken away. But in other ways this is a good thing.

    It shows the tremendous work these people did in creating extremely powerful hardware. But we're also seeing improvements on the software side, too. Virtual machines and cloud computing have vastly increased the utilization of the hardware we do have. It's no longer a case of a company having 20,000 servers, and collectively they're idle 85% of the time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      We're now doing a lot more with a lot less.

      "We", Kimosabe? The folks losing their jobs will be doing a lot less because they now have a lot less, unless and until they find other jobs with equivalent pay. Of course those at the top will be doing a lot more with a lot more, and the newly unemployed people can surely take comfort in that while they're struggling to make the next mortgage payment, right?

      ... a net win for society...

      Still subscribing to that ol' trickle-down theory, are you? Heck, even the bastards at the IMF have finally realized that it's bullshit. [huffingtonpost.ca]

    • Sorry to break the news to you but most stuff running on VMs in the last few years is weitten JavaScript or Java. Not C++. Efficient binaries are decidedly not in favour

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Virtual machines and cloud computing have vastly increased the utilization of the hardware we do have. It's no longer a case of a company having 20,000 servers, and collectively they're idle 85% of the time. Now the same company has perhaps 1,500 powerful physical servers running 20,000 VMs, and the physical hardware is idle only 5% of the time.

      People don't buy database hardware for smallish apps, they buy it for big-iron apps that have a lot of transactions and/or data. Small apps with low CPU utilization

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      Except no one uses SPARC hardware to do any of that stuff. It's all common Intel x86 based systems, which Oracle did actually make. Unfortunately, everything Oracle makes (made) is somewhat over-engineered, and way overpriced. There are far cheaper x86 hardware vendors.

      Oracle has always been mostly a software giant. I'm surprised the hardware side of Sun Microsystems has lasted as long as it has.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @10:22AM (#55122323) Homepage
    Oracle Linux: you squandered solaris, one of the great operating systems of our time, and did everything you could to make it a complete pain in the ass to own. Now you expect to slap an Oracle sticker on RedHat Linux/CentOS and ancicipate people will care? You do know that all the well-defined chicanery in the oracle unbreakable linux distro is easily recreated in any distribution a customer could desire, right? and that these distributions dwarf your kernel contributions and community? if customers choose to do 'oracle' in say, Arch or centos, they not only get to skip the 5 hours on the phone with your tech support, but they get to skip the outrageous quarterly fees for the privilege.
    MySQL: Shes dead, jim. All your best and brightest jumped ship a long long time ago to projects like Maria and Percona and now the only people who still use mysql are the ones that havent migrated off redhat 5 yet. In short, the customers that are either transitioning to windows or hired someone to move them to something else.
    zfs: now this ones a bit of a controversy but stick with me here. What sun did to ZFS was great, but its licensing was crippled intentionally. You've had every opportunity as its owner to do something about that and you havent. There isnt much indication you will, so why not GPL or BSD it fully and concentrate on what you do best: shaking down customers for license fees. In the absence of competent licensing ZFS has been attacked on all sides from Redhats LFS and resurgent life support commits to the XFS tree, as well as BTRFS, which already handles disk pools, dedup, and cow and in a few months will handle multi device raid. So if you take any interest in ZFS stop hobbling the community.
    oracle cloud: no one has heard of this, its hardly advertised, and is dwarfed by ec3 and other more competitive providers. just...stop.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just switch to FreeBSD already and quit complaining about ZFS not available on Linux.

      • by Predius ( 560344 )

        Or run an Illumos based distro, or any distro that ships ZFS on Linux which is the shared code FreeBSD, Illumos and Linux ZFS consumers are all basing and contributing to.

      • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

        And party like it's 1999?

        BSD is missing too much to be considered an option today.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      On ZFS, while it may be hampered by license, there's sadly nothing that Oracle will gain by bothering to relicense it, unless it's part of a much friendlier open source stance to turn their image around, which seems to be something they aren't remotely interested in. I agree it's not worth the investment, just like everything else you listed, with respect to Oracle's culture.

      Also, we have speculation here, is it just layoffs and keep working the product (the usual), abandoning all hardware, or just the SPA

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2017 @10:59AM (#55122565)

        when people were excited to get a Solaris SPARC workstation.

        They weren't excited because it was a SPARC workstation. They were excited because it was a Solaris workstation. For much of the 1990s, and even into the early 2000s, Solaris provided perhaps the best workstation OS experience around. It had the best desktop environments, it had the best userland software, it had excellent development tools, it had a lot of advanced functionality, and compared to its contemporaries it was very pleasant to use. Although Solaris workstations weren't exactly cheap, they were relatively affordable to serious users.

        Yes, part of Solaris' appeal was due to its tight integration with the hardware, but the hardware itself was largely irrelevant to most users. It was the Solaris experience that they wanted and desired.

        NeXT systems running NeXTSTEP were a real competitor to Solaris and SPARC workstations, but NeXT systems were prohibitively expensive for even many deep-pocketed business users. It wasn't until Apple came out with Mac OS X that this technology started to become accessible to a winder audience.

        Solaris also started facing more competition from Linux and the BSDs at the low end, which by the early 2000s had started to mature. Interestingly, we've actually seen a lot of regression lately within the Linux sphere of influence, such as systemd, GNOME 3, GTK+ 3, PulseAudio, and Wayland. FreeBSD has managed to avoid these shenanigans, while actually incorporating some of the best parts of Solaris, such as ZFS.

        Solaris' success was typically far more about the software than the hardware it was running on.

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          I'll give credit to their hardware too. A lot of users at the time were somewhat disappointed at their Ultra10s (which were SPARC, but with IDE drives and such).

          The Ultra1, Ultra30 and Ultra60s were very highly regarded from a hardware standpoint, as well as the higher end server stuff.

        • by emil ( 695 )

          Irix was a much friendlier player with Motif and made it look good and work well. As I'm still using the Irix filesystem in CentOS - there was certainly better technology in Irix than Solaris.

          And Sun really couldn't challenge anyone on the high end until Cray was forced to give them the e10k. And why was Cray forced into this? Because SGI bought them.

          Sun got SGI's table scraps. I will grant you that NFS and a number of other important technologies came from Solaris, but Irix was nothing to sneeze at.

        • by erice ( 13380 )

          when people were excited to get a Solaris SPARC workstation.

          They weren't excited because it was a SPARC workstation. They were excited because it was a Solaris workstation. For much of the 1990s, and even into the early 2000s, Solaris provided perhaps the best workstation OS experience around. It had the best desktop environments, it had the best userland software, it had excellent development tools, it had a lot of advanced functionality, and compared to its contemporaries it was very pleasant to use. Although Solaris workstations weren't exactly cheap, they were relatively affordable to serious users.

          Yes, part of Solaris' appeal was due to its tight integration with the hardware, but the hardware itself was largely irrelevant to most users. It was the Solaris experience that they wanted and desired.

          NeXT systems running NeXTSTEP were a real competitor to Solaris and SPARC workstations, but NeXT systems were prohibitively expensive for even many deep-pocketed business users

          As I recall, Next machines were actually cheaper than contemporary Sparc Stations but Next was targeting users who were mostly unwilling to pay so much. With rare and mostly weird exceptions* Sparcstations were not used by nor priced for rank and file paper pushers. These were engineering workstations. They were use for tasks beyond the reach of contemporary PC's. In the beginning this was about raw computational power and 32-bit addressing when PC's were 16-bit. In the mid to late 90's, it was 64-b

      • How long do you think it will take Red Hat to jack in ZFS once the license is compatible?

        It would probably appear as a technology preview within a week.

      • There could be a LibreOffice-like project for ZFS. If you remember, once OpenOffice was separated from Sun and reborn as LibreOffice, it prospered.
        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          The challenge being there was that OpenOffice was already appropriately licensed to let the community take it, Oracle's IP strategy be damned.. Here the crux of the problem remains how it is licensed, and thus you need Oracle's participation to modify it, and Oracle is unlikely to play ball. It's just completely out of character for them, and it's hard to make a strong *business* case they can't deny (people saying 'it would help oracle linux', but it would help redhat linux just as much, so it'll be even

    • License cost, license hassles and the Oracle License Death Squad have always been problematic, to the point where a couple of my clients (large corporations) have a "No Oracle" IT policy.
    • Oracle Linux: you squandered solaris, one of the great operating systems of our time, and did everything you could to make it a complete pain in the ass to own.

      Yeah, Solaris really was great. I spent years as a Solaris admin on my 2 jobs previous to this one and I do miss Solaris at times. I'm not knocking Linux at all, which we use at my current job, but I did like Solaris. Now if you want to talk about not very good OSes, I'd put AIX, DGUX and HPUX as some of the ones I worked with and didn't like much. Every now and then on my current job, and by the way as a company I think we don't officially support Solaris internally any more, I run into people who if t

    • by hAckz0r ( 989977 )
      I could not agree more. Lets face it. Oracle is where they send good products to die. Its the legacy of Larry Ellison's death grip on newly acquired technology. Whether its milking it for all its worth, or for deliberately ensuring the competitors product dies a painful death, its all pretty much the same result.

      if it happens to be a software based product that can fork without a lawsuit following close behind, then it might just survive that bad experience. Unfortunately there is seldom any victory cele

    • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

      Solaris used to be great. Then they came up with Solaris 11. What a turd that is. Did you know they put a lot of /etc a database? Sure, the files are there, they often don't do anything. You have to use their bullshit commands to configure it instead of being able to hack the old files. Just like Windows and their pain in the ass registry. It's a really bad idea, don't do it.

      By the way, nobody I know is transitioning to Windows. They were up until about 2 years ago, now they realize their stupidity when MS

  • I had a meeting with my manager and someone from HR the last time I was laid off.

    You're telling me they announce lay offs by mail? What happens if I ignore the delivery?

    Seems like a bad way to deliver bad news...

    • I had a meeting with my manager and someone from HR the last time I was laid off.

      You're telling me they announce lay offs by mail? What happens if I ignore the delivery?

      Seems like a bad way to deliver bad news...

      I had a meeting with my manager and someone from HR the last time I was laid off.

      You're telling me they announce lay offs by mail? What happens if I ignore the delivery?

      Seems like a bad way to deliver bad news...

      Someone probably paraded some bullshit statistics in front of management that claimed the chances of an ex-employee going postal was minimized if you deliver a firing via postal worker.

      How ironic.

      • by thomn8r ( 635504 )
        We find it's always better to fire people on a Friday. Studies have statistically shown that there's less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week.
        • We find it's always better to fire people on a Friday. Studies have statistically shown that there's less chance of an incident if you do it at the end of the week.

          "It's been good talking to you, Bob, and Bob."

    • You're telling me they announce lay offs by mail? What happens if I ignore the delivery?

      Doesn't everyone? Normally the formalities are done via internal mail.

      I mean you can feel free to ignore it as much as you want, but you may find at some point you're no longer let into the building, no longer paid, and someone comes knocking at your door to return that company phone that you failed to give back.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      announce lay offs by mail? What happens if I ignore the delivery?

      Just come into work anyhow. Maybe they'll forget they laid you off.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The thing that shocks me most about this article and comments is how few people understand the difference between revenue and profit.

    Revenue is not profit. It is not money that comes in that you get to keep. Profit is what you get to keep. Profit is revenue minus all of your costs.

    One important metric withing a large company is called "return on capital." Capital is the amount of money you have invested in property, building, tools, and other things that keep the revenue coming in. The return on capital is

    • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @11:10AM (#55122639)

      Yes, but if you get rid of the people, that capital equipment is worth a whole lot less because you got rid of the knowledge and skills to work with it, and likely sent a lot of that expertise to potential competitors.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      I do not think people are strictly part of the cash flow. A lot of investment went into those people creating institutional memory, and if you did it right, some sort of emotional investment of the people in the company. Treating people as strictly part of cash flow tells them they do not count, are more or less worthless, and the company has not allegiance to them. All of this represents selling off the people and getting squat for them.

  • Today I learned that Oracle apparently has (had?) a hardware division. I'm amazed it's lasted this long, honestly. As crappy as their overpriced, proprietary software is, I can't imagine *also* trusting them with hardware. Sucks to be one of the workers, for sure, but you have to expect it when you choose to work for such a monolith. The faster we get to Oracle's demise, the better for everyone.

    • Today I learned that Oracle apparently has (had?) a hardware division. I'm amazed it's lasted this long, honestly. As crappy as their overpriced, proprietary software is, I can't imagine *also* trusting them with hardware. Sucks to be one of the workers, for sure, but you have to expect it when you choose to work for such a monolith. The faster we get to Oracle's demise, the better for everyone.

      They bought Sun Microsystems waaaaaaay back. That hardware was rock solid for the most part when it was Sun. I'm unclear as to it's actual reliability after the purchase.

      • by Cramer ( 69040 )

        A lot of hardware is actually designed and built by Fujitsu. (I've wormed my way through Fujitsu's sites to get updates before, since the greedy bastards at Oracle require a support contract to even download drivers.)

  • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Friday September 01, 2017 @11:36AM (#55122881)

    No one is buying SPARC. Solaris is fading away. OpenOffice is forked and everyone runs the fork. About the only thing of value Oracle has after buying Sun is Java; $7.4 billion for a language they can't really monetize. ZFS I suppose... another thing 90% of its users don't pay for.

    • About the only thing of value Oracle has after buying Sun is Java; $7.4 billion for a language they can't really monetize.

      It seems Oracle is trying to hand off responsibility for Java as well https://developers.slashdot.or... [slashdot.org] , although maybe not, at least with respect to security... https://developers.slashdot.or... [slashdot.org]

    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      Don't overthink this, the purchase of Sun accomplished it's primary goal: Larry Ellison got to wave his dick around.

      A better company might have been able to monetize that purchase more effectively, but don't think that Oracle didn't get what it was after.
    • About the only thing of value Oracle has after buying Sun is Java; $7.4 billion for a language they can't really monetize.

      But they tried! Twice so far. They were seeking $9B from Google in that lawsuit [wikipedia.org].

    • You do realize I hope that SunOS / Solaris has run on x86 / x64 systems as well since the late 1980's?

      Back in the day the x4100/x4200 Intel/AMD series of systems were among the best rackmount x64 servers one could source. People even bought them to run MS Windows on.

  • Since when do people get fired via FedEx? I mean it's fitting for Oracle because it really seems like the single most expensive way of doing something.

    • Since when do people get fired via FedEx? I mean it's fitting for Oracle because it really seems like the single most expensive way of doing something.

      I've heard some places just text you to let you know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2017 @01:37PM (#55123997)

    Ellison is a fool. I don't care if he's rich.

    First, when buying Sun, a legend in the industry and the origin of countless software and hardware technologies everyone now takes for granted, he decides to exterminate anything with the Sun name on it.
    SunSolve.Sun.com, an enormous wealth of technical and debugging information, gone in an instant.
    Docs.Sun.com, an even bigger wealth of research and documentation (ever gone through their Blueprint docs? Phenomenal)... also gone. Yes, they pretended to copy everything over to Oracle, but they didn't. The vast majority was purged, what was left was filled with perpetually broken links, and they ignored any requests for docs that other (remaining) docs referenced. The wealth of info lost here is astonishing.
    When a group published the Blueprints, Oracle went after 'em and shut 'em down.

    Idiotic.

    Next shot at his own foot was to pull out of OpenSolaris without so much as an announcement.
    OpenSolaris.org? Shut down and purged from existence. (I managed to grab a tarball of their Solaris AD integration that predates the mismatched crap in Solaris 11 and got it working in Solaris 10, and in Solaris 11... works better than their official solution).

    By this time they were well into the self-destruction phase where they were treating Sun engineers like absolute crap under their boots, so they drove the majority of them out. When internet legends are leaving your company en masse, you've done something really, really stupid.

    Another shot to his foot was to eliminate the free license for education and personal use... every University still teaching Solaris immediately switched to Linux. Now those entering the market are trained in Linux (and have a poor opinion of Solaris, much of which is beyond what is deserved). WTF did he think would happen?!?

    As if he has infinite feet, he takes another shot and removes all entry-level SPARC servers... you used to be able to get a T2000 for ~$2k. After this *($# move, their cheapest hardware was ~$40k! If I had his ear, I'd tell him "listen dipwad, it didn't work for IBM or HP, why the heck do you think it'll work for you?" (in reference to his "we only want the richest customers" approach). If you're thinking "but IBM & HP are doing well...", you're missing my point. I'm talking about their Unix systems. I haven't seen AIX in many years, and I haven't seen HP/UX in at least 2 decades.

    Fast forward... they're still (up to recently) putting amazing R&D into Solaris & SPARC, but they fail miserably to properly market them. Solaris 11 is nothing short of astonishing. I love Linux, but it's barely approaching Solaris 10 tech at this point... and Solaris 10 is archaic compared to Solaris 11. The newest SPARCs are absolute monsters, and are actually starting to get slightly more affordable again (I saw a 64-core, 256-thread, 64GB RAM entry level machine for $9k early this year), but when you go to their sales pitches, they can't let go of their grudge against IBM! Every single benchmark and price comparison is against IBM's AIX hardware (which they apparently actually still make). I asked about x86 comparisons, as it was pretty obvious by some of the numbers that they could actually compete against Xeon offerings (which was actually mentioned by Ellison!) and they got pissed like I was heckling them!

    Morons, the lot of them, but this all boils back to Ellison's ego. He's a moron, plain and simple.

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      Every university I knew was already pushing Linux heavily well before Oracle took over. Oracle wants to be paid for everything, so sunsolve and docs had to go away.

      IMO, Solaris 10 is where Solaris died. "smf" (*cough*systemd*cough*) absolutely fucking NO.

  • Oracle always has layoffs around this time of the year. Sometimes they happen as early as July, or as late as December, but basically every group has to manage to a number that they get when the new FY begins, and the sooner they cut the headcount, the more people that they can keep. Oracle's hardware group has been cutting people every year around this time. Every. Single. Year. Sorry, no news here. Nothing to see. Move on.
  • We have some people that are making us use Sun/Solaris crap. Even though we showed them it worked better under Linux. If they have no choice, they'll finally have to do what we told them years ago and switch.

    How not to look too smug when they admit they must ditch Solaris.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

Working...