Like other Oracle DBAs, Kash Kasturi, president of the Austin, Texas, Oracle Users Group, had been watching Oracle battle the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with a fair amount of indifference.
But when a federal judge handed down a ruling that rejected the DOJ argument to block Oracle's hostile takeover of PeopleSoft last week, Kasturi and others began to see it as an opportunity.
While Oracle still faces several hurdles before it can go forward with its takeover plans, Oracle DBAs are pondering their future with the database software giant's technology. Many DBAs admit that the Oracle-PeopleSoft battle rarely hit their radar screens, but most consider an Oracle victory a stepping stone to new high-paying jobs.
Many PeopleSoft users see consolidation as a threat to the viability of their application software, as it may mean expensive migration projects. Oracle users, however, see consolidation in the software industry as normal progression -- and a good thing.
"I truly believe in a simplified architecture and by bringing PeopleSoft into the mix, it eventually will simplify a set of technology and tools in one place," Kasturi said. "Companies are trying to streamline their heterogeneous environments and in the end I believe that DBAs will benefit with a simpler environment to maintain."
While Oracle said it will initially support PeopleSoft applications, Kasturi and other DBAs believe the software will be eventually absorbed into Oracle's E-Business Suite. PeopleSoft customers also fear that they could be pressured to switch from SQL Server and other databases to install and maintain an Oracle database, a theory that Oracle DBAs hope will become a reality.
"Oracle has as an advantage in that it is a database company," Kasturi said. "The database is the center of every business, so why not have your applications come from your database company?"
Other DBAs agree.
The industry for enterprise software is becoming a lower margin industry and that consolidation is inevitable, said Craig Read, president of the Toronto Oracle Users Group. Technology and innovation will allow current and future firms to compete with Oracle, opening up jobs for DBAs and developers, Read said.
"The Justice Department should stop wasting its time and taxpayer dollars," said Read, IT director at Toronto-based mobile software maker, M-trilogix. "Consolidation is healthy and needs to happen. You don't need to buy just from one vendor. New firms and old firms will have to find ways to compete against Oracle or anyone else."
Peter C. Smith, president of the Ottawa Oracle User Group, said members of his group will likely have to deal with changes of major PeopleSoft or Oracle installations with the Canadian federal government. While an Oracle takeover of PeopleSoft won't have any dramatic impact on products that organizations have, future software releases will likely be more innovative, he said.
"For Oracle, in general, I would see this as a very good addition to the existing application suite, and they needed something like this to better compete with SAP," Smith said.
It still could take years before DBAs will see any changes, Smith said. Whether Oracle can move forward with its takeover attempt will depend on several other factors.
One hurdle is the European Commission, which announced its intentions to launch an investigation into the takeover attempt, and will weigh in soon on whether it will consider the merger. The DOJ also has 60 days to decide whether to appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"This is purely an application purchase, but in the end money is being driven by the database engine, so eventually I'd expect to see some changes for the better," Smith said.