Oracle to offer lifetime support

The software maker introduces new product support plans in a bid to dispel post-merger fears of its acquired customers, including future ones from Siebel.

SAN FRANCISCO--Oracle will commit to new product support plans which include lifetime maintenance for PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel applications, says the software vendor's co-president, Charles Phillips.

"One of the things we hear from all the focus groups and meetings with (PeopleSoft) customers is, how we are going to support an application that was crucial to their organization," Phillips said during his keynote address at Oracle Open World yesterday.

To allay post-merger fears that PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and Siebel users may be forced onto an Oracle application platform, he said that the company will be introducing new "premier", "extended" and "sustaining" plans to provide five years, eight years and lifetime product support, respectively.

"Under premium support, customers get more product upgrades," he explained. "And as you get to lifetime support, there will be fewer updates--mostly bug fixes for security issues."

"We will figure out what are the things that need to be updated to make the application (remain) usable, but customers don’t want a lot of change," he added. "They will want to continue using the applications they have, and we'll (continue to) make them functional."

Charles Phillips, co-president, Oracle

Phillips however, could not comment on whether Oracle's lifetime support fees would be lower than what existing Oracle customers are already paying, which is currently 22 percent of their license fees. "The (new) support pricing will be available later," he said.

Multi-database support?
During a media briefing, he also answered the perennial question with regard to his company's support for non-Oracle databases in its next-generation Project Fusion applications. He revealed that Oracle recently set up a Fusion strategy council, made up of key customers who are concerned about the company's support for databases purchased from other vendors.

Phillips said that there are technical issues to resolve before Oracle is able to support databases, such as IBM's DB2. For example, some features in Oracle's applications are closely tied to the Oracle database, he explained. As a result, customers would face a trade-off in terms of using features such as security and automation, that are available on non-Oracle databases, he said.

The Fusion strategy council has come up with different conclusions in how such issues should be addressed, he said, adding that the decision on whether to provide support for non-Oracle databases will be made in six to nine months.

In a separate announcement, Oracle also unveiled plans to certify IBM's WebSphere to power its Project Fusion applications. Both companies are expected to enable existing Oracle applications such as J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft Enterprise and E-Business Suite, to support IBM WebSphere and Tivoli in areas including identity management and single sign-on.

"Oracle views the IBM-Oracle project as one of the most important customer-focused projects underway at our company," Phillips said in a statement.

ZDNet Asia's Aaron Tan reported from San Francisco, USA.