Time to take technical debt to task

After three years of drought, including two years of pandemic-induced economic and supply chain disruption, Namoi Cotton, was ready to ramp up again. With prices for lint cotton—the raw fibre from the cotton plant after the ginning process removes the seed and other unwanted material—at their highest levels in years due to pent-up demand, the time was right.

However, over the previous years, Namoi Cotton had accumulated considerable technical debt. Because finances were tight, there had been little budget to spare on upgrading systems. In particular, the company’s core Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 ERP - was long past its end of supported life. As well as being expensive to maintain, Namoi was no longer eligible for security patches, bug fixes, and other important updates.

As Namoi Cotton’s business started to expand again, the company’s new manager of IT, Jim Tolson, proposed to management that it was time to upgrade the out of support ERP system, move away from a reliance on outdated hardware, and host it in a public cloud. But Tolson needed to make a compelling case for the cloud migration, which included keeping costs to a minimum.

The case for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

After evaluating cloud infrastructure offerings from Oracle, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services, Tolson and team decided to move the company’s Oracle JDE applications to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and upgrade to the 9.2 version in the process.

After an initial ‘quick look’ at AWS, Tolson and team were leaning toward Microsoft, having already moved most of Namoi Cotton’s server infrastructure to Azure. “But once we got the Oracle crew to show us the OCI platform properly, the conversation changed very quickly,” says Tolson.

For starters, noted Tolson, Oracle JDE applications perform better on OCI than on third-party cloud infrastructure. “I’ve got Oracle software running on Oracle infrastructure, and my long-term goal is to try to get as much of it onto Oracle Linux as I can,” he says. “Oracle applications on an Oracle OS running on Oracle infrastructure—in my mind, that’s a no-brainer.”

Still, a gating factor was the price of the cloud migration. Namoi Cotton’s management considered the initial quotes from all three cloud providers to be too high. Tolson subsequently connected Fusion5 with the Oracle Cloud Lift Services team, and between them, they figured out a way to slash the price of the implementation.

“At that point, the executive team was happy to go ahead with it,” Tolson says.

A significant saving and supercharged performance

The JD Edwards system architected by Fusion5 allowed Namoi Cotton to migrate to Oracle Cloud, and upgrade from JDE 9.1 to 9.2, for a total project cost of AUD$120,000 - a saving of over 60% compared with other upgrade and migration quotes.

Furthermore, the company’s move to Oracle Cloud reduced its ongoing system maintenance costs, while mitigating the security and downtime risks—and associated costs—of running end-of-life applications on outdated hardware. And with Oracle’s commitment to supporting JDE 9.2 until at least 2033, the future looks bright.

While it’s difficult to assign percentages to application performance improvements, running the latest Oracle JD Edwards apps on the latest Microsoft database and virtual machines in Oracle Cloud has noticeably improved application performance for the company’s 200 or so users, most of whom work in corporate finance. A happy Tolson says that processing that used to take minutes can now take mere seconds. “Anything we’ve moved to OCI is running far faster there than we could’ve ever hoped for on our on-prem servers.”

Moving the applications to Oracle Cloud has also made it easier for Namoi Cotton’s five-person IT team to scale capacity as the business grows.

Seamless teamwork

Through working closely with Oracle Cloud Lift Services for OCI, network, security architecture and design, and JDE environment migration strategy to OCI, Fusion5 completed the successful cloud migration in just a few months. Namoi Cotton’s Oracle JDE 9.2 instance went live on OCI, using the JDE one-click provisioning tool, in March 2022.

“It was seamless. The two teams speak the same language. The project manager on the Fusion5 team and the project manager on the Oracle team worked really well together. Everything was well-aligned. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Jim Tolson, IT Manager


What’s next?

Over the next six to twelve months, Namoi Cotton and Fusion5 will evaluate implementing additional JD Edwards 9.2 modules and features and explore how to take advantage of additional JD Edwards and OCI capabilities bringing further value to Namoi Cotton.

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