Last week, we offered four of our top takeaways from Oracle’s OpenWorld 2008 user conference. This week, we’re back to offer more, and with a special emphasis on JD Edwards applications to boot. So join with me as we share not only what we learned from the sessions we attended, but also what we picked up from private talks with the JD Edwards team. To maintain continuity with our previous article and its four takeaways, we’ll start with…

Takeaway #5 — The EnterpriseOne and World development teams are adopting a more collaborative approach to how they enhance the two product suites. At OpenWorld sessions and casual meetings, managers and developers from both teams stated that they are working more closely with each other to roll out the same technologies on both products. In most cases, these projects involve the World team taking technologies from the EnterpriseOne team and adapting them to World’s unique architecture. A good example of such collaboration is the recently announced integration between World A9.1 and Demantra Demand Planning. This offering appeared first for EnterpriseOne 8.11 SP1 and 8.12, then was reworked for the World A9.1 environment.


I just stepped out of Larry Ellison’s keynote speech at OpenWorld to let you in on the latest news. Oracle has teamed up with Hewlett-Packard to jointly develop the HP Oracle Database Machine. The new device marks the first time that Oracle has ever sold a hardware device.

The HP Oracle Database Machine combines a super-fast storage array with database servers (all based on Intel processors) in a single rack. What distinguishes the DB Machine is the intelligence that Oracle puts into the storage servers. Unlike other storage servers, Oracle’s servers can return query results to the database servers instead of entire data blocks. This increases query performance by 10 to 100 times compared to conventional storage arrays.

That said, there are some limits to what you can do with Oracle’s new toy. Most importantly, you can only run Oracle Database on the device. You also have to use Oracle Enterprise Linux for now, though other operating systems will be supported in the near future.

While the HP Oracle Database Machine will undoubtedly gain a lot of positive attention, it could also put a strain on Oracle’s relationships with other server and storage vendors such as IBM, EMC, and Teradata. It will be interesting to see how these and other vendors respond to Oracle’s entry into the hardware business over the coming days.

There’s an old saying that “All good things must come to an end.” Frankly, however, we don’t agree. That’s why we are taking a good thing — our white papers about JD Edwards — and updating them so they can continue to help our readers for years to come.

If you click over to our white papers section, you will see that we just finished updating our flagship paper, The Transformation of JD Edwards Applications. We’ve refreshed this report with new information about upcoming JD Edwards releases, the growing importance of Oracle’s Application Integration Architecture, and other important findings. We have also revised Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, IBM System x, and IBM BladeCenter, a paper that discusses the advantages of hosting EnterpriseOne on IBM’s Intel x86-based servers.

Over the coming months, we intend to update more of our JD Edwards white papers and write a few new ones to boot. So drop by now and then to see what we’re up to. Chances are good that you’ll walk away with something you can use.

While the summer doldrums may be upon us, there has been no reduction in the flow of JD Edwards news coming across my desk. In this article, I’ll discuss important changes on the middleware and tools fronts, promising developments for JD Edwards World, and a way that almost any company can get a fat check from Oracle.

Next Stop…WebLogic?

Last week, I posted a review of Oracle’s plans to integrate BEA products into its Fusion Middleware portfolio. As the review stated, Oracle’s middleware roadmap raises many questions about the role that BEA products will play in the Oracle Technology Foundation for EnterpriseOne. While we are still working to get definitive answers to those questions, sources inside Oracle have confirmed that there are no plans to force EnterpriseOne customers to use BEA WebLogic Server. If you are running Oracle Application Server or IBM WebSphere Application Server, you will continue to receive support.


Several times over the last year, I have mentioned that IBM and Oracle jointly maintain an International Competency Center. The Center is an ideal place to get advice on how to install, configure, and optimize EnterpriseOne and World on IBM’s hardware and software.

I am pleased to announce that the Center has agreed to let us post some of its white papers on the JD Edwards Advisor. If you click over to our White Papers from Other Companies page, you will see that we’ve already posted three of them. Over the coming months, look for the number of papers from the Center to expand. If Big Blue has a presence in your JD Edwards implementation, watch this space.

Since my pile of papers entitled “interesting bits of news you should write about” is growing to an ominous height, it’s time for me to whack it down to size. Here’s a rundown on the most newsworthy stories in my stack.

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If you did not make it to COLLABORATE 08 this year, you can still do a “virtual sit in” on many of the sessions held during the annual user conference. That is because Quest has posted the slides for many of the presentations on its web site. You can browse the sessions by subject and download to your heart’s content. However, don’t wait too long to do this. My sources at Quest say that the slides will only be posted until May 15.


Now that IBM has announced a new line of Power Systems and a new version of the i5/OS operating system, JD Edwards customers are asking, “Should I run my applications on this stuff?” To help you answer that question, here are some important things you need to know before you give Big Blue a call.

The Basics

First off, here are the essential facts about what IBM has done. This month, the company completely replaced its System i and System p servers with new line of Power Systems. All of the systems run on the latest POWER6 processors. Each model in the Power Systems line comes in IBM i, AIX, and Linux Editions. These editions are configured to meet the unique requirements of each operating system and the customer bases that use them. Here’s an IBM diagram that shows how the computer giant unified the System i and System p lines.


Yesterday, IBM announced that it is replacing its System i and System p product lines with a single, unified family of POWER6 processor-based servers. The new server line — known as Power Systems — will deliver improved price/performance, greater energy efficiency, greater flexibility, and a simplified pricing structure to System i and System p customers. The unification of the System i and p will have a significant impact on the choices of thousands of JD Edwards customers who rely on these servers.

While IBM has not yet announced all of the models that will make up the new Power Systems lineup, it made a good start on the project yesterday. Here’s a quick overview of what Big Blue unveiled.


ibm-built-on-power-logo.jpgTwo weeks ago, IBM’s senior executives came to New York to brief investment analysts on how Big Blue’s business is doing. While much of what was said matters little to the JD Edwards community, one executive’s brief utterance definitely caught my ear. At the end of his presentation, Bill Zeitler, Senior Vice President of the Systems and Technology Group, stated, “We’ve got the high end of the POWER6 family coming in the beginning of April.” This means that in two weeks, JD Edwards customers will have new servers to consider as platforms for their applications.

As many of you know, IBM’s POWER processors run the company’s System i and System p servers. The System i is the only server that runs JD Edwards World. The System i and System p also host a substantial number of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne installations.


I have half a dozen news items sitting on my desk that are too small for an article, but too interesting to ignore. That happens a lot around here at the JD Edwards Advisor. So here’s what I’m going to do. Every once in awhile, I’ll group the best items into a single column. In keeping with my promise, here are this month’s tips, traps, and tangents.

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When IBM announced i5/OS V6R1 late last month, it also unveiled a complete repackaging of its application development tools for the System i. That could have a significant impact on JD Edwards sites, as many World and EnterpriseOne shops use System i development tools. To learn more about the repackaging, check out IBM’s new web site on the subject. Then, read an analysis of the repackaging from Joe Pluta, a System i development tools expert.


i5os-v6r1-logo.jpgLast Tuesday, IBM unveiled a new version of i5/OS, the operating system at the heart of its System i. The version — i5/OS V6R1 — contains enhancements that could help JD Edwards customers who run their applications on Big Blue’s venerable midrange server. Among the dozens of new features in V6R1, the following ones are standouts for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World users.


Last week, IBM took several steps to make its WebSphere products more appealing to JD Edwards users. Big Blue’s latest moves could partly be a response to the competitive heat it has been catching from Oracle Fusion Middleware in companies that count both vendors as strategic suppliers.

On December 4, IBM announced a new release of its WebSphere Adapter for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne that runs natively on the System i. As many of you “blue stack” aficionados know, WebSphere Adapters enable applications running on WebSphere Application Server to integrate with software from other vendors. For years, IBM has offered an EnterpriseOne adapter that runs in AIX, Linux, and Windows environments. Now, the V6.1 release of the adapter supports i5/OS as well. In addition, the new release supports the JD Edwards Dynamic Java Connector API with Business Functions, among other capabilities.


Blade servers have been around for many years, so it was mildly surprising that IBM chose to feature them as the “next big thing” in hardware technology at a recent briefing for industry analysts. Despite being late to the party, the case for blades that IBM executives made was quite convincing. You don’t have to rely on our interpretation, however, because the presentation was video taped and can be seen on IBM’s own web site. Just click on the opening screen below to see what I mean.


By the way, IBM was even hip enough to load the darn thing onto YouTube for those of you who also want to poke around to see what whatever stupid things Brittany or Paris have done recently.


While some industry observers are wondering whether Oracle can keep growing at its torrid pace, the company is showing no indications of slowing down. Last week, the software giant announced quarterly earnings and revenue that exceeded the forecasts of financial analysts. Oracle also reported exceptionally strong growth in sales in its applications group, of which JD Edwards is a part.

In what has become something of a tradition, Oracle chalked up financial figures last week that closed the distance between it and its archrival SAP. For the first quarter of its fiscal year 2008, the company announced that its net income grew by 25 percent to $840 million. In similar fashion, revenues grew by a strong 26 percent to $4.5 billion. By contrast, SAP grew its net income by 8 percent and revenues by 10 percent in its most recent quarterly report.


Over the last year, Oracle has been quietly stepping up efforts to promote its Fusion Middleware to its application customers. From our company’s viewpoint, those efforts are starting to bear fruit. For instance, we have seen a growing number of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers asking about Oracle’s “Red Stack” (an industry phrase that distinguishes Fusion Middleware from IBM’s “Blue Stack” of WebSphere middleware). We have also seen several EnterpriseOne sites deploy their first Fusion Middleware products.

Now that the the Red Stack is popping up at JD Edwards shops, I want to make you aware of two things. First, Oracle is going to use its upcoming OpenWorld conference to honor application customers that are deploying Fusion Middleware. To do that, the vendor will present the Oracle Innovation Award to selected companies that are integrating their Oracle applications with the Red Stack. If you are one of those companies (or know one of them), you can nominate your company for the award at a web site that Oracle has set up for the purpose. If your nomination is accepted, you will receive one free pass to OpenWorld and be honored at an awards banquet. You may also be featured in a cover story in Oracle’s Profit Magazine.


If you are like most JD Edwards users, you run your EnterpriseOne or World applications on at least one IBM hardware or software product. If you do, you owe it to yourself to get to know the people at the IBM Oracle International Competency Center. They are a great resource for helping you size and tune your applications for IBM environments.

I’m not bringing this up to be some sort of marketing shill for IBM (I assure you that the company is not paying me). I’m telling you about the Competency Center because it just came out with a handy directory to some of its best system sizing and tuning guides. These guides have great technical content in them that you just won’t get from Oracle’s other technology partners. Feel free to download the resources directory from this web site and see for yourself.

On May 21, IBM unveiled its first production server running the much-awaited POWER6 processor. That raises fresh questions about when POWER6 chips will come to the rest of the System p product family, not to mention IBM’s System i. Those questions are on the minds of JD Edwards customers, as many of them run their applications on POWER servers. Fortunately, IBM is providing its field force and Business Partners with answers, and I’m going to reveal them to you in this posting.


power6-processor.jpgIf you are in the market for an IBM System i or System p to run JD Edwards applications, you’ve probably been wondering when Big Blue will replace its current crop of POWER5 servers with ones that run on POWER6 chips. After all, IBM has been telling its customers that the price/performance of POWER6 will be significantly better than POWER5. Who wouldn’t want to benefit from that improvement if they could manage to hold off on an acquisition until the new servers ship?

Today, I’m going to offer all of the information that I can legally give you to satisfy your curiosity. That should help you figure out whether you should buy a POWER5 server now or wait for the POWER6 lineup to ship.


Earlier today, IBM executives stepped up to microphones in San Francisco and Boston to announce a big change in how IBM packages and prices its System i, the heir to the venerable AS/400. The company unveiled System i Express, new models whose prices are based entirely on the number of users they support instead of IBM’s arcane system of “interactive” and “batch” performance ratings. More importantly, the per user prices for these models make them potent competitors to Microsoft Windows servers. In addition, IBM made other announcements that significantly reduce the price of running enterprise applications on the System i.

I am not going to dive into the details of the System i Express announcement here, as I have already done so in an article about the new models in MC eServer Insight. (I would encourage you to read that article, which should be posted by now.) However, I am going to discuss the implications of IBM’s latest announcements for JD Edwards customers. And trust me…the implications are significant. Here are the key points you need to understand.


If you are on the verge of purchasing a server to support your World or EnterpriseOne applications, I have a one-word suggestion for you…WAIT!

Why am I saying this? If I told you now, IBM would have to kill me. So in the interest of self-preservation, let me simply say that Big Blue will make an announcement next week that will affect a lot of server purchase decisions among JD Edwards users. When that happens, I will post further information on this site. I will also point you to a column I am writing for MC Press Online that will provide further details on the announcement.

Feeling intrigued? That’s good. This is one announcement you will want to know about before you write your next check for a server.

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