PeopleSoft Embraces Linux

Company will port all line-of-business applications to Linux

In tandem with IBM Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. announced plans to port more than 170 business applications to Linux.

PeopleSoft made the announcement at its 2003 Leadership Summit, held this week in Las Vegas. The Pleasonton, Calif.-based company said that it will use a combination of software and hardware from Big Blue—xSeries Intel servers, the DB2 database, and WebSphere Application Server—as its Linux porting and development platform of choice.

PeopleSoft, best known as a purveyor of human resources (HR) applications, competes against SAP America Inc. and Oracle Corp. in the ERP space.

David Sayed, a technology product marketing manager with PeopleSoft, says that his company’s move was prompted by demand from customers. “Customers are telling us that Linux is ready for prime-time. We hear from them that they are ready to start using [Linux] to support their mission-critical applications.”

Sayed says, "The announcement means that all of PeopleSoft's 170 applications will run on the Linux operating system."

Competitors such as SAP and Oracle have introduced Linux support for their applications. SAP has supported Linux on some of its applications—such as its MySAP Business Suite—for several years, and Oracle, especially, has been bullish about Linux. At its Appsworld Conference (http://www.esj.com/news/article.asp?EditorialsID=392) held in January, Oracle senior VP and chief marketing officer Mark Jarvis “strongly recommend[ed] that [customers] take a look at Linux.”

Jarvis touted the scalability and reliability of Linux in support of Oracle Outsourcing, an application hosting program that is powered, he claimed, exclusively by Intel-based Linux servers.

In this respect, suggests one analyst, PeopleSoft’s announcement marks a significant gesture of support from a key ISV. “For their own reasons, IBM and Oracle have been backing Linux for years,” points out Rob Enderle, a senior analyst with Forrester Research subsidiary Giga Information Group. “But moves like [PeopleSoft’s] are important because customers have been waiting for other major brands to [support] Linux.”

Enderle says that Linux has thus far been deployed primarily in edge-of-network and other meat-and-potatoes-type roles, such as in support of file and print services. In this regard, he suggests, “[PeopleSoft’s announcement] is showcasing the fact that people are getting ready to start deploying Linux in support of mission-critical applications.”

PeopleSoft markets more than 170 products, but Sayed says that because of the four-tier architecture of its PeopleSoft Pure Internet Architecture, porting his company’s software stack to Linux shouldn’t be too difficult. “Three of the tiers [database, applications server, and Web browser client] are available already for Linux,” he says, meaning only PeopleSoft’s application server must be ported and optimized to the open source operating environment.

In addition to Linux, Sayed stresses that PeopleSoft will continue to support a range of platforms, including several flavors of Unix—e.g., HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris—and Windows NT and Windows 2000, along with IBM’s zSeries mainframe environments.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.