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Oracle waives extended support fee for E-Business Suite 11i

The Oracle E-Business Suite 11i Extended Support fee will be waived another two years. While a good thing financially for 11i users, it might just delay the inevitable – an expensive upgrade to R12.

Oracle has again waived the extended support fee for E-Business Suite 11i, this time until November 2013. The move was lauded by some but criticized by one Oracle pro as being akin to putting ketchup on burnt steak.

The fee for Extended Support on Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) 11.5.10 was initially set to start in November 2010. Extended Support is typically used for older releases still in use, while Premier Support is for newer releases. Though they are supported basically the same, Extended Support may not include certification with new third-party products and versions.  Oracle waived the Extended Support fee for a year – now it is waiving it again for another two years. Essentially what that means is Oracle EBS 11i users will get an extended support fee waiver for the entire life of 11i Extended Support.

Oracle’s EBS 12 has been out since 2007 and release 12.2 is scheduled to be released in the coming months, but according to Debra Lilley, president of the U.K. Oracle Users Group, many Oracle EBS users have been sitting on 11i waiting to see what happened with Fusion Applications. She said this second waiver was a good move by Oracle. Since Fusion came later than expected, Lilley said 11i users were “between a rock and a hard place.”

“I was worried about the number of people who said they had been waiting to see Fusion Apps before they made their decision, and I didn’t think they should be penalized because it wasn’t available for them to compare,” Lilley wrote on her blog. “So now we have Fusion Applications on General Availability and the Extended Support waived. Everyone must now decide what they are going to do.”

But Floyd Teter, a director in the project management office at Innowave Technology and prominent member of the Oracle Applications Users Group, said the waiver just puts off the inevitable issue – that of 11i users upgrading and how they go about doing it.

“The urgency of upgrading from 11i still exists, especially for customers using EBS Payroll,” Teter said. “And the cost to upgrade is not insignificant, especially if you’ve done any customizations.”

So, Teter added, the big elephant in the room is the cost of upgrading to 11i, and that has just been pushed off for another two years. Teter said he would rather see “clearly defined upgrade paths” for all Oracle applications going into extended support. For example, E-Business Suite 12.2 is now on the horizon.

“The new version of EBS will run on WebLogic rather than OC4J,” he said. “Is there an upgrade path from to 12.2 and, if there is, can Oracle please walk me through it?

“While I’m grateful for the ketchup, I’d really rather have a well-cooked steak.”

Lilley acknowledged that the upgrade path could be an issue. Oracle has always said there would be an upgrade path from the latest two releases. With EBS 12.2 scheduled for release in the coming months, that means the latest two releases will be 12.0 and 12.1. Lilley also wrote that she doesn’t see many shops completely replacing EBS with Fusion Applications, “especially one who has not already moved to R12.”

“I think a lot of people will take Fusion but in small steps, taking the co-existence route, after perhaps adopting some technology first, over time,” Lilley wrote.

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