Oracle&s Lifetime Offer

Among the highlights were lifetime applications support, a pledge of middleware certified to work with IBM WebSphere and a new application server.

Oracle conveyed that message during what just might have been the world&s largest single-vendor technology conference. Last week more than 35,000 attendees jammed into the San Francisco Moscone Center to hear how the Redwood Shores, Calif., vendor will tie its own products with those from PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, i-Flex, ProfitLogic and, now, Siebel Systems.

What they heard was a theme of openness: openness to enable components from Oracle Fusion Middleware to plug directly into IBM&s competing WebSphere products and an openness to supporting application suites that have outlasted their shelf life.

That new lifetime support, for example, is especially big news for customers using older PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications, which carry a dizzying array of support expiration dates, partners said.

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“Some customers will not rush to the [next-generation] Fusion applications,” said Karen Mills, CEO and president of JD Edwards solution provider Axion Solutions, Irvine, Calif. “This way, Oracle has secured customers for life because they won&t feel they&ve run out of options.”

Oracle&s Premier Support delivers the full range of updates, including patches, tax and regulatory updates and major product and technology releases. After five years, customers then receive indefinite Sustaining Support, which includes pre-existing patches and major technology releases.

Owners of certain soon-to-expire PeopleSoft and JD Edwards products also can sign on for three years of Premier support. So, for example, customers with PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.8, for which full support will expire in December 2007, can extend Premier support to 2010 and receive Sustaining support after that.

If it sounds complex, it&s because of the breadth of products Oracle finds itself having to support. “We&re harmonizing a lot of programs,” said Juergen Rottler, executive vice president of Oracle On Demand and Oracle Support.

The company also unveiled Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3, due later this fiscal year, which ends May 2006. The new offering is certified with Microsoft&s Active Directory and non-Oracle databases, just as its other middleware products are certified on other J2EE Web servers, including BEA WebLogic, JBoss and IBM WebSphere.