Correction: Oracle Does Support Old JDE World on New IBM i
February 19, 2013 Alex Woodie
In our lead story last week, “End of Tech Support Looms for JD Edwards Shops”, we reported that Oracle‘s JD Edwards World is dependent on i5/OS V5R4. In fact, Oracle has supported those World releases on IBM i 6.1 and IBM i 7.1 for at least two years. But most World shops who contacted IT Jungle plan to upgrade their ERP anyway.
Several IT Jungle readers wrote in last week to point out the fact that they do run JD Edwards World A7.3 and A8.1 on newer releases of IBM i, and have done so for some time.
One reader writes: “Hi, I just read your article on Oracle ending support for A7.3 and A8.1. In the article it says that these will not run on i6.1 or i7.1. I just wanted to let you know that we are currently on A7.3 and i7.1, and I know another company that also is doing it.”
Another writes: “Recently a co-worker had passed this article to me. Just to note, we are a JD Edwards user running World A7.3 on a Power 7 with the OS at V7R1! Works great! It also worked great on V6R1!”
“It’s not true to say those versions don’t work on OS400 v6.1. We upgraded os400 2 years ago and we get objects from Oracle to run JDE A73/A81 on V6.1,” writes another reader. Another: “Contrary to a point made in your recent article, we are indeed running JDE World A8.1 on IBM i 6.1. In fact, I cannot see any difficulty in this scenario.”
The information in the story about the dependency between World A7.1 and A8.3 and i5/OS V5R4 came from Oracle. IT Jungle does its best to get accurate information, but we all make mistakes from time to time, and it’s all we can do to correct them and move on.
Lyle Ekdahl, group vice president and general manager for Oracle’s JD Edwards unit, explained some of the confusion.
“This is a complex topic, the dependencies are not strictly technical, but also deal with support policy and licensing,” Ekdahl says via email. “The simple answer is yes we support Oracle’s JD Edwards World A7.3 and Oracle’s JD Edwards World A8.1 on later releases of the IBM i operating system. The detail is that we provide a set of precompiled source objects that are marked to be read by the OS. These objects are only legally available from Oracle’s JD Edwards and are provided only for our maintenance paying customers. This set of objects does not represent the whole of the Oracle’s JD Edwards World product. Prudent process would suggest that you test the resulting configuration (new source objects, existing JD Edwards World objects, any customer code or modifications).”
Ekdahl says that, on September 30 (when IBM ceases to support V5R4), Oracle will no longer provide any patches for customers who run World A7.3 or World A8.1 on V5R4, and are current on maintenance. Further, any customers running these releases on V5R4 who aren’t on maintenance “can no longer legally upgrade” to run those applications on IBM i 6.1 or 7.1 after September 30. This potentially could impact third-party support providers and their customers.
“The point that I am trying to get across to JD Edwards World customers,” Ekdahl continues, “is that the time has come to at least engage. Know your options. My team is here to support you. Additionally we have invested hundreds of person years in the JD Edwards World A9.x products since being acquired by Oracle. We have JD Edwards World customers who have upgraded and are reaping the benefits. We believe that we have a lot of value and innovation to offer our customers who for various reasons have chosen not to upgrade up to this point.”
The fact that Oracle has kept ERP systems that debuted in 1996 (A7.1) and 1997 (A8.3) supported on the latest releases of the only operating system that runs them (IBM i) is a strong testament to Oracle’s JD Edwards commitment. Seventeen years is a very long time to support any version of an application, and you can’t begrudge Oracle for asking customers to upgrade their software to a more modern release.
Oracle has been fair to JD Edwards customers. No software company–even one as large and wealthy as Oracle–can provide meaningful technical support for every release of software indefinitely. For the record, Oracle does pledge to provide “sustaining support” for all JD Edwards products indefinitely. But Oracle makes no commitment to actually fix anything under this program, so it’s not technical support as most people think of it.
By the way, every one of the JD Edwards customers who pointed out the error plans to upgrade to a current version 9 release of World, and to stay on Oracle maintenance. The fact remains that time will soon be up for World A7.3 and World 8.1. It’s time to move on.