Oracle Extends Support For 10.7 For Another Year
Vendor says it will support 7-year-old apps suite through June 2004.
In a reversal of its earlier stance that brought heat from some users, Oracle said Thursday it will extend limited support for its popular 10.7 business software suite for another year.
Previously, Oracle had said it would discontinue support for 10.7 at the end of June 2003, a move that angered some users who saw it as a strong-arm tactic aimed at forcing them to upgrade to the newest versions. Oracle now says it will extend support to the end of June 2004.
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"It's wonderful news," said Donna Rosentrater, the associate director of manufacturing at biotechnology company Biogen and a member of the board of the Oracle Applications User Group, an association and support group of more than 2,000 companies. "There are a lot of companies still on 10.7 that have no ability to upgrade because the economy's so bad, they can't afford it or no longer have the staff necessary" to deploy the upgrade.
According to a statement released on its support Web site, Oracle will limit this "Extended Support" to known workarounds. Oracle 10.7 customers who maintain their support contracts with the company will be able to download patches from the OracleMetalink self-serve site and get telephone support on known issues.
Extended Support does not include updates or fixes to correct any new problems, nor does it include maintenance or functionality releases, Oracle says. "Extended Support is intended for customers that need to migrate to Oracle supported programs/versions over an extended period of time," a notice on the company's the Web site states. The notice also cautions that information regarding 10.7 may be limited.
Companies with valid support contracts will not incur any additional charge for access to 10.7 Extended Service.
The support extension comes as a result of conversations with the Oracle Applications User Group, which had already convinced the vendor to stretch full support twice before.
"This is a big win for us," says John Stouffer, a database administrator with Solutions Beacon and the chairman of the user group's upgrade special-interest group. "This is what we've been after. We were looking for clarification from Oracle as to what kind of support Oracle would offer. There were a lot of unknowns."
In November, his group queried numerous contacts at Oracle for an answer on whether Extended Support would be offered to 10.7 users, a normal practice for Oracle, he says. "We got what we were after."
Well, almost. Under Extended Support, Oracle won't provide its usual annual payroll and tax updates. But Stouffer doesn't see that as a problem. "We were hoping for patches for payroll," he says, "but there are third-party offerings for that."
Oracle has supported 10.7 for seven years, and its heir has been available for the last five. Even so, according to Oracle's own numbers, more than 3,200 of its 13,000 application customers still use the earlier edition.
Details of the 10.7 Extended Support can be found on Oracle's Web site in a one-page FAQ.