Expect sales reps' calls if IT wants to ditch Oracle

Licensing and compliance issues advisor spills the beans

Oracle executives brief clients against plans to move away from Big Red's technology platforms, it is alleged.

A recent webinar by Palisade Compliance heard that it took "guts" for enterprise customers to make the decision to move away from Oracle technology as its senior salespeople would call customer CEOs and board members and brief against IT management proposing such a move.

Craig Guarente, an advisor in Oracle licensing and compliance issues, said: "You need the courage to do something different, because you're going to have 20 Oracle reps telling you why it's a mistake, and they're going to call your CEO. They're going to call your board and do whatever they need to make you [change course]."

Guarente, CEO of Palisade Compliance and former Oracle veep, said customers would often complain that no matter how they try to reduce their reliance on Big Red's technology, "the Oracle calculator only has a plus button."

"Sometimes companies get in distress and they're shrinking and Oracle says, 'Yeah, but you still have to pay me, I know you only have half the users and half the capacity but you still have to pay me and we're going to raise prices because of inflation.' That really frustrates companies," he said.

The webinar was also hosted by Ed Boyajian, CEO of EDB, a software company backing the open-source database PostgreSQL. He said large customers had moved away from Oracle to PostgreSQL but that it often required top-level support.

"Our biggest customers – very large-scale enterprise-wide Postgres users – report needing a strategic drive to change. That intersected the C-suite: there is a common theme that it takes a strong commitment at that level. Because people are always afraid of the risk of the unknown."

We have asked Oracle to comment.

Big Red has argued that its approach to the cloud has offered a way of integrating with the on-prem world. In 2020, it launched an on-premises cloud product, Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud, completely managed by Oracle, using the same architecture, cloud services, APIs, and SLAs as its equivalent regional public and private clouds.

"Customers can think of it as their own private cloud running inside their data centre, or they will also see it as a hybrid cloud, given that this the exact same thing we offer in a public cloud," said Regis Louis, exec veep of product management for Oracle Cloud Platform in EMEA.

Meanwhile, Oracle also claims to innovate with tight integration between hardware and software supporting the performance of its Exadata products. Big Red claims it beefed-up Exadata X9M, launched last year, provides online transaction processing (OLTP) with more than 70 per cent higher input/output operations per second (IOPS) than its earlier release.

But some customers have trodden the path away from the dominant application and database vendor. EDB claims to offer tools that smooth the migration to PostgreSQL, plus the option of moving applications without rewriting them.

Speaking to The Register in 2020, Ganadeva Bandyopadhay, associate vice president of IT at TransUnion CIBIL, described the migration from Oracle to Postgres EDB.

The company was looking to revamp older applications based on "rapidly outgoing concepts like heavy database servers with a lot of business logic within the database code," Bandyopadhay said.

The credit information company operating in India found its Oracle licences were being underused, but the rigidity in the rules made it difficult to move them onto different virtual instances and convert from the processor-based to the "Named User Plus" licensing.

Starting from 2015, Bandyopadhay and his team wanted to remove the business logic from the main database, improving performance and flexibility in the architecture, something he said would have been difficult to do with Oracle.

"It was nothing against Oracle, but our logic was to address Oracle features which are built within the database," he said. "There is a cost to that which we had accepted for a long time, but with the changing expectations [from the business], we had to really revamp and flatten out the databases and put the business logic into somewhere else in the middle tier," he said.

After completing the migration in 2017, Bandyopadhay's team found the Postgres EDB-based system achieved higher throughput at lower licensing costs than Oracle, but not before reskilling its internal IT team. ®

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