Never Lose the Database

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2004-11-01 Print this article Print

"All PeopleSoft applications will run on the Oracle database and Oracle application server—thats unequivocal," said John Ottman, executive vice president of worldwide markets at Corio Inc. and a former 10-year executive with Oracle. "We had a saying at Oracle: Never lose the database. Its fundamental to the Oracle strategy. The biggest reason why Oracle would want to buy PeopleSoft would be to secure the Oracle database [on PeopleSoft] and secure maintenance."

Oracles E-Business Suite is built on the Oracle language and is proprietary. There is no way to port the suite to any other database, according to Ismael Ghalimi, president of Intalio Inc., which develops business process management software that interoperates with SAP AG, Oracle and PeopleSoft software. Practically speaking, "Oracle is not going to make the investment for portability moving forward—its expensive," Ghalimi said. "But most importantly, Oracle wants to sell the database."

PeopleSoft Enterprise user Andrew Albarelle, principal executive officer with staffing consultancy Remy Corp., has no intention of attempting to port his applications to Oracles database.

"If they gave [the database] away, if it were free, I wouldnt nibble on that because eventually they are going to charge you," said Albarelle in Denver. "Our original [PeopleSoft] 8.0 environment was in Oracle, and it was very expensive, and it wasnt as stable as it is now ... [with Microsoft Corp.s] SQL [Server]."

Like many PeopleSoft customers, Remy has a contingency plan in place should Oracle acquire PeopleSoft. Now in the midst of a core financials upgrade to Enterprise 8.8, Albarelle would go off maintenance from PeopleSoft and home-grow his applications. He would wait two or three years and re-evaluate whats available then.

Because of a recent acquisition, Peter Pereria, CIO of Sun Life Financial Inc., in Toronto, is migrating some PeopleSoft subledgers to Oracles financial modules. While migrating, Pereria said, he looked not just at the PeopleSoft and Oracle environments but also beyond what he was currently using to migrate into areas such as banking and reconciliation.

Because his PeopleSoft applications were already based on Oracles database, Pereria said, the transition has been relatively smooth. But he cautioned that companies attempting the same move should resist modifications to their software, such as customizations that make porting more difficult, and instead rely on open standards.

"Most of the challenges will come in understanding what youre getting into," Pereria said. "Its single-digit or low double-digit. Half of it is understanding what youre buying into."

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