PeopleSoft users fear forced database move

PeopleSoft users fear forced database move

Some PeopleSoft users fear that in addition to putting their business application investments at risk, Oracle's US$6.3 billion bid to buy PeopleSoft could force them to migrate to Oracle's database

Some PeopleSoft users fear that in addition to putting their business application investments at risk, Oracle Corp.'s US$6.3 billion bid to buy PeopleSoft Inc. could force them to migrate to Oracle's database. Oracle supports its own E-Business Suite applications only on its namesake databases. But an Oracle spokeswoman said that the company wouldn't force PeopleSoft users who rely on rival databases such as DB2 or SQL Server to switch technologies and that all existing PeopleSoft applications would be supported for at least 10 years.

Nevertheless, several customers of Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft and Denver-based J.D. Edwards & Co. -- which PeopleSoft is expected to acquire under a deal announced last month -- said they're worried that they will have to rip out IBM Corp. or Microsoft Corp. databases if Oracle's takeover bid succeeds.

"I have not been reassured by (Oracle)," said Ben Wilson, head of IT services for the government of Napa County in California. "We're convinced they want us to switch to the Oracle database in the future, and that would be an expensive proposition to us."

Costly Migrations

Napa County now uses Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 database to support its PeopleSoft-based ERP system. Wilson said he plans to stick with the applications beyond the current version, PeopleSoft 8. Being forced to move to an Oracle database would cost the county tens of thousands of dollars more for software licenses than it spends now and would require that its database administrators be retrained, he said.

"We are most concerned about possibly being forced to the Oracle database," said Bill Monroe, chief operating officer at the Texas Education Agency in Austin, which runs PeopleSoft applications that are supported by Microsoft and Sybase Inc. databases. A changeover would be disruptive and expensive, he said.

Oracle's promise to let users keep their current databases appears to contradict the position the company took when it announced its takeover bid in early June, said Peg Nicholson, president of the PeopleSoft International Customer Advisory Board and CIO at Acushnet Co., a maker of golf equipment in Fairhaven, Mass.

But if Oracle were to force a migration, "a ton of work" would be needed to convert Acushnet's data from SQL Server to an Oracle database format and retrain its IT staff, Nicholson said. "We have far better things to do with our time and money -- projects which will bring a business return on our investment," she added. "This will bring nothing but aggravation and expense."

Having to change databases "would be unacceptable to most customers," said Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting in Daly City, Calif. "No one should be forced into anything, and I doubt Oracle would be foolish enough to try." -- Computerworld (US)

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