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McNealy discounts big system death comments

Sun Microsystems chairman Scott McNealy reassured investors that Sun and Oracle are still travelling in the same direction despite Oracle chief Larry Ellison predicting the demise of large computer systems.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's chief executive officer, told financial analysts in late January that the company plans to replace its Hewlett-Packard Unix servers with clusters of Intel-based machines running Linux. The Oracle chief also predicted the demise of large servers.

Ellison's comments exposed a possible conflict with Sun, a long time ally and major vendor of powerful servers. The two companies have a joint development initiative and work together to try to persuade users of Microsoft SQL Server on Windows NT to switch to an Oracle database running on Sun's Unix-based operating system, Solaris.

McNealy said Larry Ellison told him that he had been misquoted.

"I would say 95% of Larry's revenue is coming on very large single-instance, vertically-scaled SMP [symmetrical multiprocessing] machines and is significantly at risk if that revenue went away so I would not take that statement very literally." McNealy said.

Asked if Ellison had explained what he intended by the remarks, McNealy said: "He said we believe there will be a horizontal scaling architecture and he knows he is going to be selling, certainly through the end of his career, very large single-instance implementations both in the database and applications environment. I'll be very surprised if he retires after there is a complete transition to horizontal computing. It just won't happen."

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