Oracle Execs Say Fusion Applications Remain On Track

Oracle OpenWorld attendees were given demonstrations of several snippets of Fusion applications during a keynote by Ed Abbo, senior vice president of Oracle applications, and Steve Miranda, senior vice president of application development who is now overseeing the Fusion application project.

Questions have been raised about the status of the Fusion applications since news leaked out last month that John Wookey, who had been managing the development project, was no longer working at Oracle. During a press Q&A session at Oracle OpenWorld, Chuck Rozwat, executive vice president of product development, said components of Oracle Fusion Applications would begin shipping in 2008 as the company has long said. "The dates haven't changed. That's still our plan and we're still on track for that," he said, refusing to be more specific.

When asked about Wookey's departure, Rozwat said it was the result of "a functional reorganization" within Oracle, but wouldn't say more.

During his earlier keynote Abbo offered an overview of Oracle's application strategy, acknowledging: "I know that's top-of-mind for many of you." He recapped the new releases of Oracle's E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel applications the company shipped earlier this year. New releases of those applications, including E-Business Suite 12.1 and PeopleSoft 9.1, will debut in 2008.

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Abbo said each new generation of Oracle's applications would make greater use of technology from the underlying Oracle Fusion Middleware, including business intelligence and enterprise search capabilities and Web Center for creating composite applications. That will provide customers with an eventual migration path to Fusion applications that he said "are being designed to be modular or component-based."

Miranda provided a brief demonstration of several Fusion applications that include embedded analytics, including a salary and bonus allocation application.

But he and the other executives were careful to say they have no intention of forcing customers to upgrade and the older applications will be supported indefinitely under Oracle's Applications Unlimited program. "Our job isn't to tell [customers] what to move to or when," Rozwat said.

Also during the Q&A, Rozwat described Oracle's new Oracle VM virtual machine product, announced Monday, as an extension of the company's Linux strategy and a response to customer demand. That came in response to a question over whether the Oracle VM product is intended to be a major competitor to VMware and other commercial virtualization software or is merely an addition to Oracle's software stack for customer convenience. He said Oracle VM would work with other versions of Linux beyond Oracle's.