Oracle middleware users go easy on 11g upgrade

New installations, not upgrades will be more prevalent

Oracle's Fusion Middleware 11g release has succeeded in bringing an integrated BEA WebLogic application server under the Oracle umbrella, but some customers will be staging their upgrades over the new 12 months instead of an immediate migration.

Released in the US last week, and on July 9 in Australia, Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g is the first generation of the company's Middleware product to fully integrate BEA's WebLogic application server, following Oracle's acquisition of BEA Systems in early 2008.

Existing Oracle and BEA customers have an upgrade path to Fusion Middleware 11g – the Oracle customers can gain the BEA technology and the BEA customers get better integration with Oracle.

One customer from the Oracle side of the fence is oil and gas exploration company Oil Search.

Business systems manager Michael Plon said Oil Search is likely to delay its upgrade from Oracle 10g to Fusion Middleware 11g for another 12 months.

“We will move to 11g to get access to BEA's technology,” Plon said, adding with 11g customers get some of BEA's technology like the service BUS but not all of it like the application server.

Plon said Oracle most likely chose to charge for WebLogic as it was a best-of-breed application server.

Oracle/BEA Middlware customers include the Commonwealth Bank, Tabcorp, Telstra, Fosters, BHP Billiton and Vodafone.

Another Oracle Fusion Middleware customer is Sydney ISV Milestone Group, which sells its flagship application pControl into financial services companies worldwide.

Milestone Group systems architect Steve Rogers said the company is also likely to wait until next year until integrating into its application as the timing of the release was not in line with its product development cycle.

“We are using Oracle 10g and WebLogic and the upgrade path [to 11g] should be straightforward,” Rogers said. “We'll be looking at it over the next few months, but I don't imagine client clamouring towards 11g.”

“WebLogic is our preferred application server and we've dropped our recommendation for Sybase and DB2 as our customers mainly use Oracle or SQL Server.”

Milestone Group customers include top and tier-two banks like J.P. Morgan, Citibank and National Australia Bank. Its development environment is Java.

Rogers said 11g will be considered over the next 12 months with new deployments, rather than upgrades, leading the pack.

Oracle Australia's general manager of Fusion Middleware Greg Taylor said customers on existing support will get the upgrade to Fusion Middleware 11g for free as part of the contract and there are migration tools that make the upgrade process as seamless as possible.

“Oracle's middleware products embrace a hot-pluggable architecture, for greater flexibility and investment protection, which is really what’s driving adoption among private and public organizations in Australia,” Taylor said.