One of the biggest challenges facing Oracle technology professionals today is dealing with upgrades, and as companies gear up for the next major upgrade cycle, IT industry experts and Oracle customers say there are some best practices to remember that can ease upgrade pains.
SearchOracle.com recently surveyed 683 IT professionals who have a say in the IT decision making process at Oracle shops in a wide variety of industries and found that about half plan to upgrade either their Oracle Database or business applications within the next year. Of that group, the vast majority say they're planning to upgrade from Oracle Database 9i to
Moreover, he says, Database 10g is incredibly buggy -- a problem he attributes to the growing complexity of Oracle's flagship.
"[I think] it is tough to properly test all the code on all stages of development," Katykhin said, "and as a result we have non-tested or not properly tested code, and Oracle makes us, I mean customers, its beta-testers."
Upgrading Oracle business applications: Challenges and tips
When it comes to the testing and certification piece, Wang said, companies should do their best to make use of automated testing tools -- some of which may not have existed during the last ERP upgrade cycle about eight years ago.
"Make sure that the testing strategies are sound," Wang said. "Hopefully, this time around [companies] put in automated testing tools so that they're not doing manual testing on things that should be automated to begin with."
Oracle Database upgrades: More tips
Most Oracle Database users are slow to conduct upgrades -- just do the math. Database 10g is more than three years old, and according to analysts, most companies have only just begun to implement migration plans.
Many companies simply don't want to migrate until they absolutely need to -- and when they do, it's either because they're facing an end of support or because a critical application requires it, according to Noel Yuhanna, a database analyst who also works for Forrester.
The reason, Yuhanna said, is that most companies don't see a need to risk database downtime when everything their business needs is working fine. But that "don't fix it if it ain't broken" mentality may be causing many companies to miss out on the business benefits of newer, state-of-the-art features, he said.
"The new versions, like version 10 and [the upcoming] version 11, are going to certainly improve in automation, in security, in availability and performance," Yuhanna explained. "You've got to look at all those factors."
What's worse, he said, is that some companies actually do go through the upgrade process and still fail to take advantage of new features.
"Every organization should look at what's new in the new release," Yuhanna said. "If you upgrade, you really need to look at some of the new features like XML, unstructured data management and some of the upgrades for performance and tuning automation. Those really not only lower the cost of the administration of databases, but they also make [DBAs] much more productive."