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ERP – Peoplesoft vs. Compiere vs. PHP/MySQL

As ar as ERP’s in general Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft last year moves them into a huge market for managing huge amounts of data from a centralized or multihomed concentric hub broken up into many pieces, of which seem to end up on numerous hosts due to the large CPU and memory intensive processes and daemons.  I intend to give both of these packages a good workout and see what turns

I write this I’m halfway through the PeopleSoft Tools Install and Administration being training seminar provided by Oracle.  At first glance of the software’s backend it looks to be largely cumbersome and clunky requiring huge amounts of Java servlets on the Application server and applets for the client side.  To manage all the listeners and handlers  to manage all requested through a single centralized Bulletin Board Liason (BBL) seems to be looking for failure given the server resources required just to bring the system up in a bare bones install.  Though both Windows and Unix are fully supported, with with no direct support for Linux but RedHat Enterprise Linux, definitely not my first choice for any Linux distribution.  I think a little tweaking on a cleaner platform such as Slackware would be more appropriate since the overall OS footprint is smaller and able to be better secured without all of RedHat’s proprietary junk to impede server performance, thus leaving more resources available to actually run the applications.  Show me a more robost and just plain faster webserver than Apache capable of handling huge amount of concurrent connections…. anyone?  I didn’t think so, especially one not as crippled down with Java, WebSphere though Apache modified beyond words is just annoying and royal pain to manage, the install and administration isn’t the most pleasant either.  Weblogic, it seems Sun Microsystems has some sort of agreement with BEA or something to deal with licensing.

After day one of the seminar I immediately considered there MUST be a better way of managing this data…. namely using a better programming language for the backend that is more adept and Nativity supports SQL…and one that doesn’t carry the burden of huge licensing costs.  Since a web application is easier from an administrative point of view for end user maintenance (not requiring any updates to end user’s machine for software updates and the like) My first choice would be Apache with PHP and a MySQL backend.  Though MySQL may not be quite as robust as Oracle in some areas it is far easier to manage and fairly scalable, capable of handling just plain HUGE databases without issue.

My search resulted in ZERO open source applications/packages at this platform level.  Looks like an opportunity to bring out some of my brainstorms and try to get them down in code to call my own.  Look out sourceforge, as I can gather some more developers I think this could really fly.

Compiere on the other hand looks promising to some degree, though requiring an Oracle backend RDMS, but claim compliance with other RDMS’s are in the works. Hope to have it up and running over the next couple of days, still got huge downloads running to obtain the needed software portions to even get it installed and running to examine it, install will begin tomorrow.  Then the opportunity to really pound on it to see what it can do.  I’m expecting to see huge performance hits for a low end server, but I will keep an open mind thoughout the evaluation stages.

I think portions of the the world are ready to move from these huge corporate ERP applications to something  with the same functionality but minus the large licensing fees and demand for huge servers required to just get them started. Keeping security and data integrity will always at the top of the list, but leaving built in functions for customizations from simpler templates for presentation.  But all the development power of creating custom queries utilizing PHP.

If you’ve read this far I must have gotten your attention…  Want to jump onboard to see if we can turn this crazy notion from a rouge group of coders, hackers, and developers and turn this idea into a more robust and FREE application suite to rival the ‘Big Boys’ of Oracle/PeopleSoft and SAP? Drop me a line with your comments and suggestions and the number of hours you think you will have available to contribute.

Don’t think it can be done?  Just remember back not too long ago folks said our godfather Linus was crazy and that Linux itself would just fizzle out of existence, never be a competitor in any market.  Yet 10+ years later it still exists, aside from the power hungry ‘geeks’ and nerds’ and is really showing a tremendous presence both in internet webhosting (some 80% or) and making big splashes in corporate networks to manage critical services (those they can’t trust to MicroSoft) as well as desktop software for end users.  So why not a full featured ERP platform?