Oracle support frustrations: SIA it as it is

A client was sharing a thought with me yesterday. He had recently begun to think his organisation was being shaped into becoming a long-term revenue generating mechanism for Oracle, rather than simply paying to use their software and...

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A client was sharing a thought with me yesterday. He had recently begun to think his organisation was being shaped into becoming a long-term revenue generating mechanism for Oracle, rather than simply paying to use their software and hardware.

Having been around the tier-one enterprise game for many years he has always been pretty comfortable with the normal tech-vendor ‘constantly moving goal posts’ type relationship, but he reckoned Oracle had shifted markedly and perhaps for the worse, since the Sun acquisition.

I could empathise with him to a point as, although we have many clients that enjoy trusting and meaningful partner relationships with Oracle, there are a number that are beginning to feel, well uneasy, particularly after 70 Oracle acquisitions. Most organisations now have an increased dependency on Oracle, reduced choice in the market and loss of vendor leverage. Moreover, many have a growing feeling of being trapped.

A different client recently commented to me that, “we want a long term value based relationship, and they (Oracle) want it all, their way, and forever.”

Enter SIA Complaint

It seems that the Service Industry Association (SIA) agrees with these clients and has lodged a complaint against Oracle in the US and Europe.

Essentially the SIA complaint is around third party Oracle support for Oracle hardware. The SIA feels that the recently introduced Oracle support policy is not great for clients; in fact it could be a little anti-competitive and maybe even monopolistic. Its claim is that Oracle is refusing to provide support for Sun/StorageTech hardware in the enterprise, and that Oracle will not support non-Oracle certified stacks even on a time and material basis.

Furthermore, security patches and firmware updates previously freely available are now forbidden to Oracle clients unless they are on a certified stack. And guess what, Oracle won’t certify a third-party supported stack, but do have a punitively priced re-instatement fee.

I won’t go into the detail of the SIA complaint here however I will speculate that those third party vendors that distribute such Oracle intellectual property could face the same wrath as did SAP, as I have previously discussed.

I imagine that Oracle feels that the best way to serve clients with high value support is to protect the integrity and purity of the stack by eliminating non-Oracle controlled variable such as third parties, and that Oracle itself is the best way to support Oracle products.

Should Oracle clients have a say in whether they should have a choice in how Oracle/Sun products can be supported?

By all means have your say.

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