HP Goes After Oracle 11i Upgrade Business

Teaming up with systems integrators like Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, HP is offering a new program for Oracle users that aims to ease the burden — and cut the cost — of upgrading to version 11i of Oracle’s applications.

HP, which announced the Oracle Applications Upgrade program at this week?s Oracle AppsWorld show in San Diego, says it can cut users’ upgrade costs by up to 50%.

That should make the program attractive to Oracle users, who can easily spend millions of dollars upgrading large Oracle systems to 11i.

Part of the cost savings come from discounts offered by HP, and part comes from using Intel-based servers running Linux or Microsoft Windows instead of pricier RISC-based systems.

According to Hanock Eiron, HP’s alliance director for Oracle, many customers are interested in running Oracle’s 9iAS application server, which makes up the middle tier of their Oracle systems, on lower-cost Intel systems.

That interest may stem in part from watching Oracle itself. The Redwood Shores, Calif., software vendor says that nearly three-quarters of its own mid-tier systems are running on Intel-based servers using Linux.

The upgrade program, which HP is offering in conjunction with systems integrators such as Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and e-Waken, also includes free “loaner” systems during the upgrade period. Companies frequently find they need significantly more computing capacity during an upgrade, until they’ve had time to do performance tuning, as well as to handle necessary periods of downtime.

HP is also helping users cut costs by including recommendations for the reuse of existing equipment in new infrastructure designs, and offering equipment trade-ins on new purchases.

Version 11i of Oracle’s application suite was first released in May 2000, but many Oracle customers hesitated to upgrade at first because of reports of bugs in the product. The current release is much more stable, according to customers and systems integrators working with the software.

Oracle estimates that about one-quarter of its approximately 13,000 application users are not yet running version 11i. The company has announced that it will not support version 10.7 of its applications after next June, which is providing further incentive for users to make the switch.

Interest in 11i upgrades is high, according to HP’s Eiron. At this week’s trade show in San Diego, the biggest crowds at HP’s booth congregated in the part of the booth dedicated to the upgrade program, he says.