Monday, September 25, 2006

Sun's massive ERP consolidation effort

Sun Microsystems is currently undertaking the mother of all application-consolidation projects: a three-year effort that is replacing 1,000 applications with a single instance of Oracle's E-Business Suite.

The Oracle system will run on a Sun UltraSparc E25K server for the back end, with small thin x64 Web servers on the front end. According to CIO Bob Worrall, Sun would have liked to run the system on an Oracle grid, but there are "no serious references of Oracle running in a gridded environment that supports 40,000 users."

The first big deliverable is scheduled for July 2007 when Sun goes live with services and price-quotation systems. There are "several hundred" team members working on the project.

Application consolidation of the sort that Sun is undertaking is just one of several consolidation strategies that IT organizations can use to reduce the cost of ongoing support. Other forms of consolidation include server consolidation, storage consolidation, and data consolidation. Our most recent research at Computer Economics shows that all forms of consolidation are highly popular, as companies endeavor to reduce the burden of maintaining existing systems and capabilities to free up funds for new development.

Because application consolidation is much more difficult than server or storage consolidation, it is the least-deployed consolidation strategy. Nevertheless, it has the highest potential payback, as duplicative efforts in system upgrades and maintenance are eliminated and the organization enjoys economies of scale with a single system. Fewer servers, fewer software licenses, and few support personnel are just the beginning of the savings.

Computerworld has the interview with Worrall, discussing the project.

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