Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oracle Withdraws EnterpriseOne Tech Foundation (Blue Stack)

Oracle announced major changes to EnterpriseOne licensing at OpenWorld.  The EnterpriseOne Technology Foundation, commonly called "Blue Stack" from it's beginnings as a licensing partnership between IBM and JD Edwards, is being withdrawn as a licensing option for EnterpriseOne customers.  This effectively leaves Oracle's own "Red Stack" as the only alternative for directly licensing from Oracle the components that underpin EnterpriseOne.

Technology Foundation, originally conceived to fill gaps in the JD Edwards OneWorld offering with technology from IBM, allowed Denver to move forward with a web-based product running on IBM's WebSphere Application Server.  IBM's portal was bundled as was the DB2 database and various other associated technologies.  The value for customers was their ability to license all technologies through one vendor - JD Edwards.  IBM realized the value of introducing their products to JD Edwards customers who had largely drifted away from IBM with the introduction of One World and away from the World product.  PeopleSoft's and Oracle's continued partnership with IBM in the early days of the JDE acquisition served to calm platform investment fears.  Apparently that is no longer necessary.


"Oracle is announcing the withdrawal of the product known at JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Technology Foundation effective September 16, 2010."

Oracle lists several important milestones:

End of sales to new customersSeptember 16, 2010
End of license expansions to existing customersDecember 31, 2013
End of technical support from OracleSeptember 30, 2016

What this means is that Oracle is no longer providing licensing for Tech Foundation on new contracts and will not license additional users for existing customers after 2013.  Oracle will continue to provide tech support for Blue Stack for another six years.

Oracle claims that this does not affect certification of these products and that they "may" continue to certify these products for use with EnterpriseOne both up to and beyond the September 30, 2016 date.  Oracle states that the continued certification of these products is at their discretion.  The last sentence is no change from their current policy but, when combined with the licensing announcement, serves to create uncertainty concerning foundation components.

It should be noted that an organization is licensed to continue using the current versions of IBM Tech Foundation components perpetually even after the above dates and, assuming the continued certification of Blue Stack components, an organization can always choose to license new versions of the products directly from IBM.  Tech support from Oracle will continue until September 30, 2016 after which tech support can be obtained from IBM.


Oracle states that it is making the change to "simplify the licensing of technology products" and I agree that this makes sense.  However, I must note that this continues Oracle's gentle, persistent pressure to move customers onto their own products and off those of competitors and should surprise no one.

The number of organizations that continue to utilize IBM products will likely determine how bold Oracle will be in de-certifying them and continuing the Red March.


My first recommendation is to review the FAQ document at https://support.oracle.com/CSP/main/article?cmd=show&type=NOT&doctype=ANNOUNCEMENT&id=1232453.1 for official answers to their licensing questions.

I also recommend all customers using Technology Foundation review contracts to see if they are affected and if so, begin strategic planning targeting the 2013 end of license expansion date.  Organizations affected may find that they are able to continue utilizing their current versions with no need to change licensing, they may be able to add licenses from IBM or they may be able to add licenses from Oracle just prior to the December 31, 2013 date based on projected numbers of new users.

A large number of current E1 customers have an enterprise license that is very favorable to them (and hence unfavorable to Oracle) and need to spend additional time determining how moving off that license model will affect licensing costs.  It is possible that maintaining that license model with Oracle and licensing Tech Foundation directly from IBM is favorable.

Regardless, it is time for EnterpriseOne customers to begin a review of projected licensing costs and also their continued commitment to Blue Stack.
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