IBM to acquire Sun?

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that IBM is in acquisition talk with Sun and considering the source this is very unlikely just a rumor:

If the deal does go through, which could happen as early as this week, IBM is likely to pay at least $6.5 billion in cash to acquire Sun, the people said. That would translate into a premium of more than 100% over Sun’s closing price Tuesday.

The impact of such merge would be huge. Of course the big question is what will happen to the many overlapping business units and offerings (servers, storage, management software).

One of the things that IBM may want to save of the current Sun identity is the upcoming and so much delayed server virtualization portfolio dubbed xVM, which includes a bare-metal hypervisor based on Xen (xVM Server), an enterprise management console that can perform VMs live migrations and resource pooling (xVM Ops Center), a VDI connection broker (xVM VDI), a hosted virtualization product (xVM VirtualBox) and a cloud computing facility that can rival with Amazon EC2 (depending on the recently acquired Q-Layer technology).

So far IBM has been happy in its role of virtualization distributor, despite the company invented the technology in the ‘60s. But Cisco is invading the server space and has a relevant interest in VMware. Not enough to buy the virtualization vendor but enough to keep a leadership position in the fastest growing IT market today.

Of course IBM doesn’t look at Sun just to own a x86 hypervisor. Virtual Iron is available and infinitely cheaper than Sun. But earning a complete portfolio for the virtualization market must be a nice bonus to consider.

If the two big will close this deal, HP may be obliged to do something similar to consolidate its position. And Citrix seems so interesting these days…