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Phillips Says It One More Time: PeopleSoft Customers, We Love You

Oracle plans to port its database software to IBM's iSeries server in a bid to keep J.D. Edwards software users in the fold.

In an attempt to reassure PeopleSoft customers, Oracle President Charles Phillips disclosed that Oracle has been in touch with IBM to plan a port of its Oracle database to the previously ignored IBM iSeries hardware, formerly the AS/400 midrange server line used by many small and midsize businesses.

J.D. Edwards' World applications, now part of PeopleSoft, ran primarily on the iSeries server and Oracle never invested in selling its database systems there because the original AS/400 product line had a database system built into its operating system. If Oracle wants J.D. Edwards customers to stick with the vendor, Phillips acknowledged in a question and answer Webcast for PeopleSoft customers Monday, it has to move its database to the iSeries to make Oracle one of the databases available for J.D. Edwards applications, Phillips said.

The Webcast was intended as a measure of Oracle's commitment to play fair with the products it's acquiring and not abruptly phase them out in favor of Oracle's own E-Business Suite and database system.

"That does potentially bode very well for J.D. Edwards World users," says Robert Robinson, business systems supervisor of Durr Industries and a J.D.Edwards EnterpriseOne and World user. Some companies are still just World users, which means they have an investment in iSeries hardware. They would welcome any news that the World product line isn't in danger of immediate discontinuation, he says.

In addition, Phillips assured PeopleSoft customers that it will support their use of PeopleSoft applications with other vendors' databases, such as IBM's DB2 and Microsoft's SQL Server.

Picking up on an "oversupport" phrase recently used by CEO Larry Ellison, Phillips said Oracle will "oversatisfy you as an existing PeopleSoft customer." Oracle's main goal in acquiring PeopleSoft wasn't the immediate sale of more Oracle databases and applications but "to retain 100% of the customers," he said.

Phillips also repeated Oracle's pledges to bring out a new version of PeopleSoft applications, Enterprise 9.0, and J.D. Edwards applications for Unix and the IBM iSeries, EnterpriseOne. "We will support PeopleSoft applications through 2013," he said in a variation of Oracle's previous statements that it would support PeopleSoft for the next 10 years.

Phillips opened his comments by saying they would be his final attempt to address PeopleSoft customers before going into a quiet period between now and when the deal is consummated at the end of the month.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared at InformationWeek, a sibling publication of Insurance & Technology.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive ... View Full Bio

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