Oracle: Gradual Fusion Rollout

Unification plan to be executed slowly.

Looking to assuage customer concerns over costly and problematic upgrades, Oracle Corp. will gradually roll out the first deliverables in Project Fusion—its plan to unite various business applications families—starting in 2007.

Project Fusion will use a Java-based, SOA (service-oriented architecture) to unite Oracles E-Business Suite with the three product lines that it acquired from PeopleSoft Inc. late last year. The application suite that emerges will be released over several years, according to officials.

"This is not some big, atomic event thats going to happen in four or five years," said Oracle President Charles Phillips, speaking to a gathering of Oracle customers here last week. "Its more evolutionary."

The evolution could begin as early as 2007, on the heels of next years release of the next version of Oracles application server, which will be designed to support the next-generation application architecture.

Industry-specific tools will be built on top of the new application server, according to John Wookey, senior vice president of applications at Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif.

"Over time everything will be moved over; everything will be supported as an SOA deployment model," said Wookey.

Oracles plans call for that migration to happen module by module. For example, Oracle could build a compensation management workbench module as a Web services component within its Oracle E-Business Suite, then make that component available to the PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management system without changes to the PeopleSoft suite, he said.

Jim Whalen, CIO of Boston Properties Inc., said that he still has a major upgrade to J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.10 to manage this year and that any move to Project Fusion will have to wait.

"Im not concerned," said Whalen in Boston. "I have questions, and I know theyre all not being answered today, but this is a process."

John Matelski, chief security officer and deputy CIO for the city of Orlando, Fla., also a J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne customer, said he is confident that Oracle has the intellectual and financial wherewithal to pull off Project Fusion, even as the jury remains out on details and execution.

"My confidence is bolstered in knowing that, based on Oracles current commitment, my current implementation will be supported through 2013, so the city of Orlando does not need to rush into a hasty decision," Matelski said.

Oracle has adopted PeopleSofts Total Ownership Experience initiative—rechristened the Superior Ownership Experience—an effort to develop best practices for reducing upgrade and installation headaches and add system monitoring capabilities.

Phillips and Wookey reiterated plans to support all PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards applications until at least 2013 and said it is likely that support will continue beyond then.

In addition, they announced that Oracle had extended support for J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne Xe through February 2007 and for EnterpriseOne 8.0 through June 2007.

Next year, Oracle plans to release PeopleSoft Enterprise 9, J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.12 and Oracle E-Business Suite 12.