Update #3 on Vista Certification for the E-Business Suite

[Nov 8, 2007 Update:  Vista is now certified with IE 7 for E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12.  See this article for full details.]

[Oct 11, 2007:  See the latest
Update #5: Vista Certification with the E-Business Suite]

I've been receiving questions from a relatively small number of large enterprise customers who are planning Vista upgrades for their end-users.  Unfortunately, I have no information that I can share about certification dates, either publicly or off-the-record, for reasons I've discussed in the past.  But I can give you an update on our progress.

Microsoft Vista Logo:

What Does Certification Mean?

The deceptively-simple phrase, "Certification of the E-Business Suite on Vista" actually hides a great deal of complexity.  This certification covers two major E-Business Suite releases -- Versions 11i and 12.  Depending on who's counting, there are between 200 to 240 products to be tested.  In additional to base functional testing, additional tests are required for MLS languages, including right-to-left multi-byte / Unicode character sets.  Each set of tests performed need to be duplicated for both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Each of these releases have three parts that need to be tested:
  1. Oracle Forms-based components of the E-Business Suite running in Sun's Java Runtime Environment (JRE) plug-in on Vista, for both IE7 & Firefox
  2. HTML/Javascript-based components of the E-Business Suite running in IE7/Firefox
  3. Client/server administration components of the E-Business Suite running on Vista
Iterative Testing Cycles

It's very important to remember that all technology certifications are inherently iterative. 
Any issues found and fixed in the course of testing may cause some or all of these activities to restart from the very beginning.  For example, a Vista compatibility issue discovered and fixed downstream in Release 12 may require fixes to be backported to 11i.  Such fixes will trigger retesting in both releases.

The iterative nature of these types of certifications makes it extremely difficult to predict certification dates accurately.

Progress Report:  Where We Are Today

I can fill you in on some background on what we've done so far:
  • We had conducted early pre-certification tests with Vista release candidates last year.  These went well, for the most part.
  • Our Vista certification was hung up when we discovered that a serious focus-related issue in Sun's JRE occurs in Vista, too.
  • Sun has just released JRE 1.5.0_12.  This appears to contain the fix we've been waiting for.
Our Vista certifications have now restarted in earnest.  We have passed the first two of approximately five certification rounds for Vista for Release 11i. 

Next steps will include automated regression testing of all E-Business Suite products, additional manual testing of advanced flows for selected E-Business Suite products, and testing of selected configurations involving internationalization and non-English languages. 

All of these certification tests will need to be repeated for Release 12.

Your Feedback is Important

We're working closely with Microsoft on this certification.  I meet with them several times a month to discuss technical issues.

This has visibility at the highest executive levels in both of our respective organizations, so this certification effort has been prioritized accordingly.  Both Oracle and Microsoft are highly motivated to complete this certification as soon as possible.

Oracle and Microsoft have been pooling lists of our shared customers waiting for this certification.   So far, we have only heard from approximately 60 customers planning this migration.  I suspect that this may not be representative of the real scope of impact. 

If you haven't already sent me your plans for upgrading your E-Business Suite uses to Vista, please post a comment or drop me an email to get visibility for your organization's requirements.   As part of our ongoing prioritization activities, it would be helpful for us to understand your plans for adopting Windows Vista, specifically:
  1. When will your organization first start conducting trials of Vista? 
  2. Which Vista editions will you be deploying?
  3. When will Vista be rolled out to the majority of your desktops?  How many desktops?
  4. When will you need Vista to be certified with Release 11i?
  5. When will you need Vista to be certified with Release 12?
The above is intended to outline our general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.   It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decision.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle's products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle. 

Comments:

Here you are from Alcoa:
1. Vista image is already built, testing is started
2. Vista Business
3. Q1 / 2008
4. latest Q1 / 2008
5. no plan for Rel 12

Posted by Andras on June 18, 2007 at 02:25 AM PDT #

Thanks for the update on your plans, Dawna.Regards,Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on June 18, 2007 at 06:35 AM PDT #

Thanks for the update on your plans, Andras.  Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on June 18, 2007 at 06:37 AM PDT #

1. We have started limited testing now
2. Vista Business
3. Q2 2008 - approx. 650 systems
4. Q4 2007 so we will be ready by Jan 2008. As of Jan 2008 we will no longer be able to obtain Windows XP
5. We will begin our project to move to R12 in Q3 2008

Posted by Dawna Roberts on June 18, 2007 at 08:56 AM PDT #

I *was* going to chime in with "we'll deploy Vista when Dell stops shipping us machines with XP, and then with much wailing and gnashing of teeth" but decided to get some real answers from our IST Ops manager for #1-3:

1. We're scheduled to start testing Vista in Q407.
2. Business Edition
3. Timeline for rollout of Vista is undecided, though it will ultimately be deployed to all user desktops.

In light of his responses, my answers to 4 and 5:

#4: We'll be on Release 12 long before rolling Vista, so we'll have no need for R11i certification.

#5: Unlikely to need Vista certification for Apps before Q108. Best estimate is Q208.

Posted by John Piwowar on June 19, 2007 at 11:51 AM PDT #

Steve,

Have you heard of anyone bridging the gap to Vista certification with 11i by using Mirosoft "Virtual PC" on Vista?

The concept being to create a logical XP environment running Jinit 1.3.1 within a Vista workstation.

Steve

Posted by Steve on June 20, 2007 at 12:45 AM PDT #

Steve,That's a cool idea.  I haven't heard of anyone considering this yet, but I'll run this by our Microsoft contacts to see what they think.By the way, I'm pretty sure that maintaining backwards compatibility with WinXP on Vista desktops was one of the motivations for Microsoft releasing the Virtual PC product for free. I'll post an update here with Microsoft's response -- great suggestion!Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on June 20, 2007 at 02:40 AM PDT #

>...with much wailing and gnashing of teeth...That's funny.  I suspect that resistance is futile, though.  I've heard from a number of customers who've noted that their desktop suppliers plan to stop shipping WinXP completely, or start levying expensive surcharges on a per-desktop basis to "downgrade" pre-ship systems from Vista to WinXP.  Timeframes range from later this year to early 2008.Thanks for the update on your firm's plans.  You're using a Gmail ID, so I can't infer your organization's name.  If you care to share it, feel free to drop me a private email.Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on June 20, 2007 at 02:57 AM PDT #

Neil,Thanks for the comment on the situation that you're facing.  Many customers are in the same boat.  I don't have a timeframe that I can share right now (see:  Loose Lips Sink Ships), but I'll be sure to post updates with more details as soon as possible.Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on June 20, 2007 at 03:00 AM PDT #

We typically roll out a lot of new laptops to our users and it is becoming more difficult avoiding Vista. The one piece of software that prevents us from moving to Vista is Oracle 11i. Your updates on certification have been helpful. What is your estimated time frame for certification?
Thanks

Posted by Neil Edwards on June 20, 2007 at 05:30 AM PDT #

Can you provide more details on the roadmap for Sun JRE 1.6/6.0 certification? Is it being certified in conjunction with 1.5 for Vista? Does the "focus" issue manifest itself with this version also?

On another thread, here are some thoughts on how you can use Virtual PC 2007
1) developers today (with XP) can install Virtual PC to run a virtual image of Vista for early testing (without actually upgrading to Vista)
2) developers, once upgraded to Vista, can use Virtual PC to launch images of XP and even Windows 2000, to support a mixed user base in transition
3) end users can use Virtual PC on top of Vista to launch an image of an older OS to use an app that is not supported on Vista (wouldn't recommend this for a large deployment strategy though)
4) rather than #3, for larger scale deployments, you can set up a Virtual PC server running an older OS, and users can connect with Virtual PC client, and launch the app from there (although if you are going to do this you may also want to consider alternatives like Citrix Presentation Server)

Posted by Jim Kennedy on June 20, 2007 at 10:34 AM PDT #

I submit that once Alcoa has spoken that their time line had the most weight. Last I heard ALCOA was the largest user of Oracle Apps out there.

Besides the sooner support happens, I can stop steering companies to suppliers who stlil have an XP horizon. As opposed to those taken in by Vista.

/Not an ALCOA asset, I just build RACs for anyone who needs it.

Posted by Therel Moore on June 21, 2007 at 04:26 AM PDT #

Jim,You weren't the only one curious about 1.5 vs. 1.6, so I've just posted the following article:Update #4: JRE 1.5 vs 1.6 for Microsoft VistaThanks for your thoughts on using Virtual PC -- it looks like you've covered nearly all of the possible permutations!  I'm running this by Microsoft right now.Regards,Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on June 21, 2007 at 07:24 AM PDT #

# When will your organization first start conducting trials of Vista?

We are starting them now, within the IT department.

# Which Vista editions will you be deploying?

Whichever versions of Vista come on business versions of IBM laptops and Dell PC's - for example we just ordered an IBM Lenovo Laptop and it came with Vista Business Edition.

# When will Vista be rolled out to the majority of your desktops? How many desktops?

There probably won't be a company-wide rollout since we are not big enough to have an internal base image or official supported repackaging of Windows - instead Vista will most likely be adopted quietly and slowly as people order laptops and desktops and the OEM versions of Vista come on them. Right now people are trying to back-order XP onto their new machines, but sometimes they forget.

# When will you need Vista to be certified with Release 11i?

By the time the hardware vendors start to generally ship Vista pre-loaded and users aren't regularly asking for them to be back-dated to XP is about when we need Vista certified.

Posted by Marvin Hecht on June 26, 2007 at 05:35 AM PDT #

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