While Oracle Corp. is still evaluating its underlying platform decision for Project Fusion, its next-generation application suite under development now, some users are quite certain which technologies they need included to consider an upgrade.
Oracles Project Fusion plans, which bring together functionality from the Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise and J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne suites, must include IBMs iSeries platform to be seriously considered as an upgrade option for more than 75 percent of Quest International User Group members surveyed by Quest, according to a report released Wednesday.
iSeries, formerly known as AS/400, is IBMs midrange server line designed for small businesses and departments of large companies.
A survey of 300 Quest participants—a global organization that represents about 25,000 JD Edwards and PeopleSoft users—indicated that 29 percent of JD Edwards users would not migrate to Project Fusion if it does not include the iSeries system of servers.
An additional 50 percent said they werent sure if they would migrate under the same conditions.
Project Fusion, expected sometime around 2008, is a sort of super suite that will bring together the best functionality from the Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise and J.D. Edwards Enterprise One suites.
Oracle acquired the latter two application stacks when it bought PeopleSoft Inc. last January.
While the Quest survey found that JD Edwards users overall have an interest in exploring Project Fusion, they ranked the infrastructure platform decision as a more significant factor than Fusions price or functionality.
“Clearly our user community has indicated it wants IBM to play a part in Fusion,” said Quest president John Matelski, in a statement.
“Our hope is that Oracle uses these results to expand a dialogue about Fusion and educate users about their plans.”
While Oracle has clearly articulated its integration strategy with its three application suites, it has been sketchy on functionality and platform details.
If Fusion follows a similar path as Oracles E-Business Suite, the applications will be supported strictly by Oracles database and Fusion Middleware platform (which includes its application server and other add-on technologies).
However, Oracle could also do an about face on its current strategy and include support for IBMs server and database.
According to Quest, 87 percent of JD Edwards customers use IBMs iSeries, while 67 percent use DB2 (the rest use DB2 in conjunction with another database, like Microsofts SQL Server).
“Theres actually two issues at hand, both of which we are talking with Oracle about,” said Quests Matelski, in response to e-mail questions.
“Most iSeries users are running DB2 as their database, however ,there are a number that are also using Oracle or [Microsoft Corp.s] SQL. With this in mind, Quest is also partaking in an Alternative database focus group that is sponsored by Oracle, that will focus on all alternative databases that Oracle applications currently run on.”
Oracles CEO and co-founder Larry Ellison has gone on record saying the company is still debating its options when it comes to Fusions underlying infrastructure.
However, despite Oracle being a closed shop in the past, some signs indicate a leaning toward the IBM camp.
Archrivals on the database front for years, Oracle and IBM have been playing nice since the PeopleSoft acquisition, rallying together on issues like standards support.
Then at Oracles OpenWorld user conference in September, the companies announced an initiative that will enable IBMs WebSphere integration portfolio to be an additional runtime environment for Project Fusion.
Oracle officials said in a press release that the company would continue to support PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications—and DB2—until 2013, “while evaluating [DB2s] role in Project Fusion.”
While the joint projects definition and scope is still under discussion, the two companies will cooperate in the areas that are “most beneficial and technically feasible” for customers like joint standards support, identity management, single sign on and directories, according to the release.
Meanwhile, the Quest survey indicated that should IBM not be part of Fusions infrastructure roadmap, users would look at a number of options from evaluating other ERP systems to staying their current product course without Oracle maintenance.
Fewer than 12 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to switch platforms and databases to migrate to Fusion.