Jul 02, 2018

6 Reasons Why Oracle Verified Tools Are More Effective Than You Think

For anyone struggling to understand their Oracle licenses, there’s a temptation to turn to a SAM or IT Asset Management tool that is “certified” or “verified” by Oracle.

Remember, there is no tool certification from Oracle. But they do have a verification process for discovery tools that shouldn’t be dismissed outright.

Full disclosure: SmartCollect is an Oracle-verified tool, which feeds its data to our Oracle license optimization tool: LicenseControl for Oracle.

Earning that verification is no cake walk, it takes know-how and grit that brings inherent advantages that go beyond taking an inventory of your Oracle products and improves SAM effectiveness.

What does Oracle “verified” actually mean?

Oracle’s verification certifies the completeness of data collected by the tool and is accepted during an audit as an alternative to running Oracle scripts.

Before you rush down to the comments section to rant about how incomplete that data is, let me say the verified data only relates to the installation and usage of the database and options, plus hardware and virtualization configuration of your servers. That excludes many other Oracle products, but those database and options covered by verification account for 80% of our clients’ compliance issues.

Another caveat is that the use of a verified tool does not prevent an audit, but verification does guarantee the accuracy and completeness of the data collected by the tool. It addresses comprehensive and complete data collection – the first crucial step for effective Software Asset Management.

Getting Oracle verified is like Oracle Boot Camp

Verification is a rigorous process that certifies a discovery tool’s reliability and its mastery of Oracle’s database and option attributes. We know this because Aspera went through it.

To earn and maintain verification, Oracle provides us with technical requirements, specifications to integrate, and a schedule for returning results.

From these specifications, we develop SmartCollect’s inventory block, gaining in-depth knowledge of how Oracle interprets collected data relative to its databases’ and options’ installation and use. The results are sent, analyzed, and verification is confirmed or rejected by Oracle.

Our tool’s capacity to generate the data required by Oracle (more than 60 collection scripts) is subjected to continuous evaluation. Every year, SmartCollect is audited. This rigor allows us to improve our tools, refine our analytical abilities, and keep pace with Oracle’s own developments.

Earning verification improves Oracle license optimization

Verification focuses on a tool’s ability to relay comprehensive, accurate raw data to Oracle, instead of resorting to the Oracle script. Collecting raw data is crucial for earning verification and submitting data to Oracle, but it isn’t enough to manage your Oracle licenses.

That raw data must be interpreted to show your compliance for product and options usage. Data interpretation also determines the actions necessary for optimizing your licenses and reducing your risk of non-compliance with Oracle.

During our Oracle verification process, the initial specifications given to us from Oracle were critical to understand their license management vision and their interpretation of raw data. Our knowledge from earning verification improves the Oracle license optimization features of LicenseControl for Oracle for our customers.

The ability to effectively interpret data allows us to insist on a different interpretation when Oracle takes an unfavorable position with the user over questionable grounds.

Verification is more than capturing raw data, it’s the mark of deep knowledge of Oracle’s metrics and license management practices that cut the margin for error. Unverified players, with no access to Oracle’s specifications, identify all the raw data and interpret it with a larger margin for error.

Being Oracle verified is half the story for Oracle license management

Verification is just the first step towards effective Oracle license management. The ultimate differentiator between verified tools is the quality of the raw data’s interpretation.

SmartCollect’s verification process is one of many proof points in our expertise with Oracle licensing issues. Investing in research and development, and recruiting Oracle specialists all contribute to the effectiveness of LicenseControl for Oracle.

This expertise informs us where to look in the raw data we collect. In our complete interpretation, we’re able to see what Oracle would see during an audit, and more.

For example, using LicenseControl for Oracle to compare Oracle’s interpretation of raw data with our own deeper understanding allows the ability to spot false positives (product activation traces that Oracle counts as usage) by differentiating proven usage (activation traces that are actual usage).

Another issue for Oracle users is the activation of some packs in the Oracle Enterprise Manager by ticking a box. This activation requires the purchase of an additional license, but if there’s no verified usage, then the box can be unticked.

Verified raw data can only go so far. Effective Oracle license management requires the knowledge and expertise to account for all the intricacies and eccentricities of Oracle’s metrics.

A verified tool can inform you on your compliance and license position, but it can’t recognize opportunities to optimize your licenses.

A verified tool is confidential, transparent, and secure

Oracle doesn’t offer any guarantees in the event of a data or systems breach, making it difficult to reconcile Oracle’s audit requirement and the security concerns of its users.

Data collected by a verified tool is accepted by Oracle, so you don’t have to run Oracle scripts. With SmartCollect and LicenseControl for Oracle, the user has access to all their raw and interpreted data, and only data required by Oracle is extracted and sent to them.

Oracle verification builds expertise

On paper, Oracle verification allows Oracle users to bypass the Oracle script to submit their data. In practice, the expertise a SAM vendor develops from earning verification can make them more effective at determining compliance and Oracle license optimization with an Oracle-verified tool.

However, when looking for a Software Asset Management partner, an Oracle verification shouldn’t be your only consideration. A better measure of a SAM partner is a Proof of Concept, which allows you to work them and see what they can unearth. A simpler measure, without any commitment, would be a product demonstration.

What’s important is that you find a SAM tool that fits your needs, not the other way around.

Topics: Discovery, License Optimization, Oracle