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Tech question

Has there ever been an Oracle implementation that is not bungled?

Next has botched wage payouts for thousands of employees, heaping misery on low-paid staff who are struggling with the soaring cost of living.

Swathes of the fashion retailer’s 43,000-strong workforce have been underpaid over several months after the bungled implementation of a new Oracle payroll system in February.

20 thoughts on “Tech question”

  1. Bloke near Worcester

    I have been involved in Oracle implementations for over 20 years. The answer is no.

  2. Back when I had a software company one of our products had its own proprietary database because the commercial ones of the time couldn’t do what was needed efficiently. One customer said “we are an Oracle site, we will only buy your software if you use Oracle as the database”. It was an 8 figure contract so we hooked it up to Oracle, but with the proviso that we couldn’t guarantee performance until their expensive Oracle DBAs tuned the database properly. 9 months later they asked “how much would you charge for transferring our data out of Oracle into your database?”.

  3. Selection bias.

    Why would the successful delivery of a piece of working software be newsworthy?

    But I echo the DB comment above: we also wrote our own DB because the commercial ones were (a) crap (b) expensive, (c) slow & (d) didn’t store data reliably: even a power failure was too much, nevermind a server fault.
    But these things are sold on the golf course, not based upon suitability for the job.

  4. dearieme

    All ones that I ever encountered were likewise crap and that was a lot. This was mostly in the 90s, I’d have thought that they would have worked out the problem by now.

    The old joke used to be :

    What’s the best platform to run Oracle ?

    An overhead projector.

  5. “Why would the successful delivery of a piece of working software be newsworthy?”

    For the novelty?

    Semi-serious question though – how many *new* large scale Oracle installs are there these days? Not really my area, but there do seem to be a steady flow of jobs migrating away from those old providers, far fewer on putting more in…

  6. Where I work there are plenty of basic Oracle databases containing all sorts of stuff, so yes, their core database works. Where it goes wrong is their fancy ERP system, which has to be heavily customised for each client. The customisation is done by the cheapest developers, because nobody who is a proper developer would be caught dead customising an ERP. Therefore it is always bungled.

  7. OldYeoman,

    “Semi-serious question though – how many *new* large scale Oracle installs are there these days? Not really my area, but there do seem to be a steady flow of jobs migrating away from those old providers, far fewer on putting more in…”

    Not many. Oracle used to sell because of certain advantages (I think around scale, sharding and replication) over SQL Server, Postgres and MySQL but they all caught up and are much cheaper. I’ve worked for companies that have a core Oracle DB but for any new systems and data, they’re using SQL Server.

  8. “Where I work there are plenty of basic Oracle databases containing all sorts of stuff, so yes, their core database works. Where it goes wrong is their fancy ERP system, which has to be heavily customised for each client. ”
    I support Oracle and have for many years. It has many flaws however, the ERP system often doesn’t need to be customised instead people could change the way they work. It is cheaper to do that and quicker than customise Oracle but sadly often IT departments are too scared to have tough love with their users.

  9. By customised you mean provide normal functions for most people, OOB it’s not user friendly, if memory serves from one place I worked you couldn’t look up the balance on a supplier account on screen you had to run a report, similar issues for GL, of course we could customise it to show what we wanted but that was extra.
    How they can claim there are self-serve functions given the state of the out of the box UI is beyond me, it’s why I insist on a demo of base system for stuff when I can as the sales guys will always show you a perfect world customised pretty version

  10. That’s why banks capital markets divisions all used Sybase on Sun Microsystems servers till Oracle bought Sun.

  11. @BNic
    “By customised you mean provide normal functions for most people, OOB it’s not user friendly, if memory serves from one place I worked you couldn’t look up the balance on a supplier account on screen you had to run a report, similar issues for GL, of course we could customise it to show what we wanted but that was extra.”
    That is true – although I am not sure if it is so bad.
    The biggest problem is the cost and effort of upgrading every few years

  12. I once managed to replace Oracle with MariaDB in a not too small corner of a tier 1 global bank. One of my proudest achievements given the internal opposition faced.

  13. I live in a different corner of the IT world, but the meme is that if you can afford the staff to keep Oracle running and make any changes necessary to it that your business requires from time to time then you can afford staff to do the same with MariaDB/PostgreSQL/etc. and not pay any licensing fees. For smaller outfits, MS SQL Server is normally Good Enough™ and can usually be maintained by the same (much cheaper) people that look after Exchange and Sharepoint.

  14. AndyF – that must have a been a fuck of a long time ago.

    There’s a mate of mine took a CTO level job at a large international firm, that ran Oracle Financials and a whole load of other stuff. Got his feet under the desk, and the Oracle account manager rings up to arrange an introductory meeting – fair enough.

    So on the day, seventeen of the buggers turn up.

    Personally, I would have told them all to fuck off into the car park and fucking sort themselves out.

  15. DuckyMcD

    Oracle salesmen are scum. I’ve turned down jobs(2) when I realised my boss/colleague was an Ex Orifice man.
    EMC the disk people are the same. An entire rugger team of them turns up all bleating the same bo!!ox and smirking at each other.

    Glad I left the industry… froth, froth, gurgle….

  16. @ Ducky McDuckface

    Oracle bought Sun in 2009 and SAP bought Sybase in 2010. The common options were to migrate to DB2 or Microsoft SQL server. Anything but Oracle. SQL Server seemed the best option.

  17. AndyF – my memory is that a lot of firms slung SPARC + Sybase in during the early nineties, but had begun to replace that kit around 7~10 years later.

    Intel architecture stuff got better, and was basically at a commodity price anyway, and managing NT got better.

    (There were also several incidents where some likely lads wandered on-prem at night, and nicked all the Sun kit. I think in one, they actually lifted all the RAM out of the boxes).

  18. Sun’s downfall was that they changed architectures. Buy a Sun computer and one got a high quality piece of kit that was engineered for high throughput and a good easy to use operating system.

    They changed to PCI. I remember distinctly in 1998 opening a new computer and looking at the empty void of a Mitac bus and a little Sparc chip. I concluded that they were screwed. IBM’s PowerPCs were faster and Intel was caching up fast. It was only the familiarity of Solaris and their waning “mainframe” business that kep them going. I was surprised that they managed to keep it up till 2009.

    ps I turned down two jobs at Sun too, one of those my boss would have been an ex Oracle rep. The other job was for a department that was axed soon after.

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