Oracle Says JDE ‘Blue Stack’ Withdrawal No Big Deal
January 11, 2011 Alex Woodie
Oracle says the hubbub over its withdrawal of the so-called Blue Stack group of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is overblown, and that it will have little impact on customers who wish to run the ERP system using IBM software and platforms. The company, which reacted to an article in the last issue of Four Hundred Stuff, says nothing will prevent users from running EnterpriseOne on the IBM i platform.
To recap: In September, Oracle quietly issued an announcement to its JD Edwards business partners regarding the Blue Stack (officially the EnterpriseOne Technology Foundation), which is a collection of IBM middleware, including WebSphere Application Server and DB2 for LUW (Linux, Unix, and Windows). Many EnterpriseOne customers who run the software on IBM i servers purchase the Blue Stack from Oracle as a way to simplify licensing and support for core components of their ERP system. Oracle also sells a Red Stack, or Oracle Technology Foundation, which is a collection of Oracle middleware that’s used to run and support EnterpriseOne installations.
Oracle revealed to its business partners that, effective immediately, it would no longer sell the Blue Stack to JDE EnterpriseOne customers as part of new ERP deals. Existing Blue Stack customers would have until the end of 2013 to buy additional licenses. Technical support for the Blue Stack would end September 30, 2016. After that, Oracle told its partners, Blue Stack customers should be referred to IBM for purchasing or technical support questions.
In the December 14 FHS article, “Oracle’s Withdrawal of JDE ‘Blue Stack’ Raises Questions”, the term “hardball tactic” was used to describe Oracle’s actions. In subsequent e-mails to IT Jungle, an Oracle spokesperson rejected the notion that it has employed any hardball tactics in handling the withdrawal of the Blue Stack.
“Using the term ‘hardball tactic’ has some strong implications that are inaccurate,” the Oracle spokesperson says via e-mail. “Oracle is providing a long lead time (over 5 years) for this migration. Oracle is continuing to certify new releases of the IBM middleware and database. Oracle is not forcing customers to migrate to Oracle technology. This approach is not ‘hardball,’ but simply in line with how we work with other third-party technology providers and standard in the industry.”
WebSphere in the Crosshairs
The spokesperson said the changes won’t be that big a deal for Blue Stack customers, a large percentage of which, the spokesperson says, are running EnterpriseOne on the IBM i platform. “Those customers already have a technical support relationship with IBM for the operating system and the database,” the Oracle spokesperson says. “They would just add the WebSphere component if they do not already get that support from IBM.”
The Oracle spokesperson goes on to say that some of the larger EnterpriseOne customers who also run Blue Stack have purchased enterprise licenses from IBM that allow them to run WebSphere for other uses, not just for serving EnterpriseOne applications. The impact would be even less for these customers, the spokesperson says.
Oracle also is assuring customers that it will continue to work with IBM to certify integrations between EnterpriseOne and the latest releases of WebSphere Application Server and DB2/400. The recent certification of WebSphere Express, which comes with IBM i licenses, is an example of Oracle and IBM working together, the spokesperson says.
In late December, Lyle Ekdahl, the general manager of Oracle’s JD Edwards business, posted an open letter on the Oracle Applications Blog regarding the forthcoming changes to the Blue Stack and how it will impact customers. Ekdahl said the changes absolutely do not mean that Oracle is withdrawing support for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne on the IBM i platform.
“JD Edwards EnterpriseOne support on the IBM i platform remains unchanged,” Ekdahl writes. “This announcement simply states that customers will acquire Oracle products from Oracle and IBM products from IBM.” You can read Ekdahl’s blog posting at blogs.oracle.com/applications/2010/12/an_open_letter_from_lyle_ekdah.html.
Many of the points that Ekdahl brought up are also viewable in a new FAQ about its withdrawal of the Blue Stack. You can read Oracle’s FAQ at www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/jd-edwards-enterpriseone/tf-retirement-faq-206426.pdf.
Taken together, Oracle’s statements show that it’s striving to clearly spell out the impact on the changes to Blue Stack support, and make sure EnterpriseOne customers know they can still use IBM middleware or run the ERP software on the IBM i OS and Power Systems servers. “JD Edwards’ customers continue to have a broad set of choices,” the Oracle spokesperson says.
At the same time, however, Oracle’s statements show that it understands the changes will likely to lead to one result: migration. While customers were given a five-year notice to prepare for the migration, a migration remains a migration.