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Oracle's Ellison Issues Cloud Challenge

The next generation of Sun's Solaris operating system will have a major cloud component, according to Ellison, managing clusters of computers which in turn support customers' cloud efforts.

At least one analyst thinks that Ellison is shrewd to stick his head into the clouds.

"We like Oracle's vision of using Sun's assets to deliver unified solutions to customers to both power customer data centers and cloud provider data centers," wrote Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities, in a note released on Friday. "With Sun, Oracle will have most of, if not all, the tools needed to provide a full cluster."

Walravens warns, however, that Oracle will need to ensure it has the hardware production and supply chain capabilities to meet customer demand.

Oracle, which comfortably beat analysts' second-quarter estimates, also issued solid third-quarter guidance.

Safra Catz, the company's president, explained that total revenue growth on a non-GAAP basis is expected to grow between 3% and 6% at current exchange rates and negative 3% to flat in constant currency.

Excluding items, Oracle expects earnings between 36 cents a share and 38 cents a share, assuming current exchange rates, up from 35 cents a share in the same period last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Oracle to report revenue of $5.71 billion and earnings of 36 cents a share.

Oracle shares surged $1.45, or 6.3%, to $24.33 in Friday trading, outpacing the broader advance in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq gain 1%. Sun's stock was also heading northward, albeit modestly, gaining 4 cents, or 0.4%, to reach $9.33.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York
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