There have been quite a few announcements from Oracle over the last couple of weeks. In the PeopleSoft world there has been the eagerly awaited PeopleTools 8.50, and the latest version of the HR application, v9.1. In the Database world there was 11g r2, and for Hardware there was the FlashFire OLTP system stacked full of flash memory.
All this does rather ask the question, with OpenWorld only a short time away why announce all these products now?
This is pure speculation, but it does rather lead me to believe that there’s a big unveiling coming. Something that would otherwise overshadow these releases. And I think the only area that would eclipse the afrorementioned releases would be something large from the Fusion stable. I’ve got my fingers crossed …
A bit of a surprise this one, but Oracle has agreed to purchase Sun Microsystems.
This is a huge scoop for Oracle, and they’ve pinched it from under the noses of IBM (after IBM’s buyout was rejected earlier in the month). It is however an interesting move as a lot of Sun’s assets are open source anyway (Java, Solaris, OpenOffice, MySQL) so I can only assume that it’s control over the direction of these technologies that Oracle is interested in.
The Java case is easy to see. Java has become the keystone to Oracle’s middleware solution, and this positions Oracle perfectly as ‘the Java company’.
MySQL is a low-end competitor to Oracle’s Database, but it has a large and growing client-base that Oracle could pitch their database to as an ‘upgrade’.
Solaris is a little harder to understand. A lot of clients use Oracle’s database on Solaris, but then Oracle has been travelling down a different route more recently by pushing its own ‘Unbreakable Linux’ distribution – although to be truthful, I’ve not heard anyone actually using this yet.
It seems as though this may be another large step to offering every part of the ‘stack’, from hardware, through OS, database, middleware, web server, application, development platform, development language etc. According to Larry:
“Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system – applications to disk – where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up.”
Sun also has its fingers in other pies too. It has a strong hardware division, but Oracle has recently started forays into that arena also. It also has NetBeans, which is interesting as Oracle provide jDeveloper as their IDE and is part of the Eclipse foundation so there might be an interesting choice to make there. However, I don’t think we’ll be seeing an Oracle badged version of Sun’s OpenOffice any time soon though …
It seems the release of Fusion has now officially slipped to 2010 …
And let me add, next year we are going to be delivering the next generation Fusion applications …
They’re Larry Ellison’s words, so there’s no arguing with it. There’s no hint as to which end of the year, or whether this is the general release or one of the previously mentioned ‘beta’ releases to a limited customer set.
This may or may not be huge news as we had suspected that the General Availability release would be 2010 anyway, but there had previously been no comment from Oracle on this.
Further comment (from Vinnie Mirchandani) here.
There’s an interesting conversation going on around the topic of whether Oracle is an innovation company any more.
It started at Vinnie Mirchandani’s ‘Deal Architect’ blog with a post stating:
Oracle, in my opinion, has forgotten how to develop code. Its top executives are deal makers, not technology visionaries.
Worse, when it comes to their acquisitions, they cannot retain or easily replace the entrepreneurial talent. Every person who departs Oracle comments about the mass confusion that comes with such a rapid accumulation of software IP.
This opinion seems to have struck a nerve as there has been an ongoing conversation in the comments of the post between Vinnie and Karen Tillman (VP Comms – Oracle).
There has also been a post from Dennis Howlett’s ‘Irregular Enterprise’ blog following on with further financial reasoning and anecdotal evidence.
Oracle today announced a new module for PeopleSoft, catchily named ‘Enterprise Workforce Communications’.
It appears to allow HR departments to communicate outwards to employees, and deploy surveys enabling feedback from the workforce.
I’m not sure with the current market it’s necessarily the optimum time to release a product in a more ‘touchy-feely’ area like this, but I will always welcome new development in the PeopleSoft sphere so this gets a thumbs up.
There are some details here, including links to further info.
A couple of days ago the JD Edwards advisor posted that John Wookey, the ex-Oracle Head of Apps Development has joined SAP.
Interesting news given the knowledge and experience he’ll take with him.
I drew a little criticism a year ago when I posted a link to a site which questioned whether Fusion would go on general release in 2008. Again, I’m not basing this on anything other than quotes from OpenWorld (and I wasn’t present so I have to take it in good faith that these quotes are legitimate), but it really does seem the case that it’s going to be 2009 at the absolute earliest.
There’s an article on NetworkWorld titled ‘Oracle’s Fusion app suite may not ship until 2010‘. Now I can’t see any quote specifying 2010, but reading between the lines it sounds a lot more likely than the 2008 we were reassured it was going to be.
Interestingly, the quotes apparently come from Steve Miranda (SVP Fusion Apps Development).
“We’re going to be with early customers at the end of next year, and we’re going to be very, very cautious on the [general availability date],”
As they’ve mentioned an incremental release pattern, if the early customers are to get it at the end of 2009, surely that means the rest of us are looking at sometime in 2010?
Now that Oracle Open World (OOW) has started we’re starting to get little nuggets of info coming through. The ever interesting Floyd Teter has posted a couple of these:
All seeded reports in the upcoming 12.1 release of the E-Business Suite will be formatted in XML Publisher
I wonder if the following will also be true of upcoming PeopleSoft releases? I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere that there is an internal project to achieve this, but I may be mistaken. It may mean (at least in theory) that the document templates for some of the statutory reports could be consistent across all applications.
The first version of Fusion Applications will ship with the WebLogic web server…not OC4J
I think – following recent strategy announcements – I would have put money on this anyway, but it’s good to get confirmation.
If the rumours are true then it appears Jesper Andersen has left Oracle. For those unaware as to his importance, he was the Senior VP of Applications. In fact, according to the source linked to below, he was sometimes referred to as ‘Mr Fusion’.
I’ve heard Jesper speak in the past at the UKOUG and I’m pretty sure he’s done one or two of Oracle’s podcasts. Jesper was also one of the ‘ex-PeopleSofters’ so I was always pleased he was in a position of prominence.
There have been a few Fusion or PeopleSoft related departures recently, John Wookey, Doris Wong and now Jesper …
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start with the good news …
Floyd Teter, an Oracle envangelist and big name in the User Group community in the US has had a trip to Oracle and has seen some Fusion Apps in the flesh. He mentions that whilst they’re not ready yet, they’re looking pretty good. This is all excellent news as we’ve had little to go on with Oracle’s almost radio silence on release dates and the like. Most of us out here genuinely want to be excited by what’s coming down the pipeline so info like this is very welcome.
There’s no mention of which Apps were witnessed, let’s hope it was some rough cut versions of Financials or HR, and not the rather niche CRM apps that it seems are going to released first, along with (I expect) much heralding of ‘see, we delivered on time’ etc.
There are lots of encouraging snippets for those of us that would like Fusion to be a success with talk that it is “next-generation” and “intuitive”, with “Web 2.0” functionality and collaboration plus “embedded analytics”. Us PeopleSoft folk are used to our app being slightly ahead of the curve, so this is excellent news.
Floyd’s full write-up – and it’s worth a read – is here.