iSeries customers rather fight than switch

Members of Quest and the J.D. Edwards/PeopleSoft user group said they would rather dump Oracle than get rid of their iSeries. Only 20.1% of members said they would consider moving to Fusion if it did not support the platform.

As mega-software giant Oracle continues to hash out a plan to digest its acquisitions under the project Fusion umbrella, iSeries customers are voicing their concerns.

Oracle's Project Fusion is the company's initiative to integrate applications and customers it acquired from PeopleSoft Inc., J.D. Edwards & Co. (JDE) and others. The Fusion middleware will eventually be the underlying infrastructure for all Oracle applications.

While Oracle has pledged support for JDE and PeopleSoft applications, it hasn't said whether or not it will support the iSeries platform, the workhorse server behind many JDE and PeopleSoft shops.

And many IT pros say they would rather dump Oracle than their iSeries.

A new survey from Quest International Users Group -- representing JDE and PeopleSoft users -- said many JDE/PeopleSoft users wouldn't consider Oracle's Fusion upgrade unless it supported the iSeries. Those former JDE/PeopleSoft customers would rather stay on older software or find another enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor altogether.

Among 300 Quest members surveyed (both iSeries and non-iSeries shops), 86.4% said the iSeries plays a role in determining their ERP strategy. And 77.2% of customers would consider migrating to Project Fusion if it was available for the platform. But only 20.1% of the Quest members said they would consider moving to Fusion if it did not support the iSeries.

Quest president John A. Matelski said the survey results didn't surprise him at all.

"IBM has provided these customers with a very robust, flexible solution that has enabled them to run their mission-critical systems on a platform that requires little or no hardware maintenance and no database administration, and provides uptime of 99.99%," Matelski said.

According to Matelski, Oracle has already agreed to support all of the current applications through 2013, and that commitment alone will require a significant financial investment by Oracle. And now the company is looking at laying out more money and determining where to spend those dollars.

"Oracle is tasked with the unenviable job of determining what platforms and databases they should support with the new Fusion application," Matelski said. "[Oracle] may determine that the costs of development and support on this stack/platform will exceed the revenues that can be generated -- and may decide that it is not in the company's or shareholders best interests."

But Charles King, principal analyst with Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Research, said he expects Oracle to come around to see the iSeries side of things.

"The iSeries users are among the most rabid IT customers," King said. "They love the platform and they're very vocal."

But if they don't, King said mega-ERP vendor SAP has been grooming itself for the midmarket, and there are other options available to customers.

"Frankly, I expect to see Oracle find a way to accommodate these folks," King said. "They run the risk of losing the business and getting a black eye in the IT community."

For more information:

Will Fusion satisfy JDE and PeopleSoft customers?

PeopleSoft, JDE customers leery of Oracle support

According to Matelski, Oracle is still engaging customers and user groups to determine the future of the iSeries platform and DB2 as an alternative database.

"None of the existing roadmaps outline specifics yet, and to my knowledge, nothing has been taken off the table yet either," Matelski said.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, News Editor

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