Sun co-founder hails database possibilities in Oracle deal

But Andreas von Bechtolsheim otherwise keeps silent about the takeover at conference on Thursday

Andreas von Bechtolsheim, a Sun Microsystems co-founder and the person who holds the distinction of being employee No. 1 at the company, expressed optimism Thursday about the planned Oracle-Sun merger's impacts on database technologies, but he stayed silent about the deal otherwise.

Speaking at the MySQL Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, Calif., Bechtolsheim during his presentation focused on developments in storage, particularly in the flash space. Following his talk, he shied away from responding to a question about his views on the merger, citing advice from lawyers. He also would not say whether he planned to stay at Sun after the merger. Although chairman of Arista Networks since last year, Bechtolsheim has remained a part-time Sun employee.

Bechtolsheim did cite synergies presented by the merger as far as building better database servers using such concepts as large memory. "Obviously, this is of great [an] interest to Oracle as it is to Sun," Bechtolsheim said.

"You should expect a whole bunch of interesting database servers to come out of this future collaboration," he said.

Bechtolsheim had left Sun in 1995 and returned in 2004 when Sun acquired Kealia, a server design company that Bechtolsheim had co-founded.

Bechtolsheim said Sun soon will ship flash storage systems.

"The most important thing about flash is it's getting cheaper all the time," he said. Flash, he stressed, "makes the storage go a lot faster."

Also at the conference on Thursday, Don McAskill, founder and CEO of the SmugMug online photo- and video-sharing service, weighed in on the merger. SmugMug uses MySQL, Linux, and Amazon cloud services.

"We're hoping that [Oracle] will realize that MySQL is not some sort of gateway drug to Oracle, that they're both great products," he said.

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