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Oracle's systems boss bails amid deafening silence over Solaris fate

No reason given for Fowler's exit, no new exec named and no sign of continuous delivery

Oracle has revealed that John Fowler, a Sun veteran who stayed to serve as Oracle's executive veep for systems, has left the company.

An SEC filing [PDF] dated July 27, 2017 says “John F Fowler resigned his position as Executive Vice President, Systems effective as of August 2, 2017.” No reason is offered for Fowler's departure.

According to Oracle's biography for Fowler (cached here if Oracle deletes it), Fowler had responsibility “for the delivery of all of Oracle's systems products, including SPARC and x86-based servers, Oracle Solaris, networking, and disk and tape storage products.”

Oracle's hardware sales were $4.15bn for the 12 months to June, but that is declining and the division now brings in less cash than the cloud. Which may be why the database giant recently decided its FS1 storage array won't be sold to customers, and instead will be kept alive to form part of Oracle's cloud.

The Register has asked Oracle's press representatives why Fowler left and if a replacement would be named. "No comment," was the response.

We also asked Oracle this week about the continuous delivery regime it revealed in January as the future of Solaris, replacing a previously announced plan for Solaris 12 to debut this year. The California biz told us this week it has nothing to say about it at this time.

Solaris users, meanwhile, tell us Oracle has revealed nothing of those plans.

And a former Oracle staffer tipped us off that Big Red's Github repo for Solaris's user-land is hardly a hive of activity suggesting a thriving continuous delivery effort.

“For a 'continuous delivery' model, I would expect several GitHub branches with a high frequency of commits,” they said. “I very strongly suspect the Solaris 'continuous delivery' story is not true. They made it up and went public with it so they don't scare off the last few customers who still buy hardware and Solaris licenses from Oracle.”

It's believed we'll see Solaris 11.4 at Oracle OpenWorld in early October this year. If that is the case, it will represent conventional release cadence for Solaris. ®

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