Oracle Java: What it Means for the Future of Software Asset Management
"The future is like a stupid pig. You never know what it will do next!"
– Sven Regener, German author
But in this case, you know, because it's Oracle.
Oracle’s announcement to start charging in January 2019 for the provisioning and support of Java in numerous configurations, created excitement across the entire IT community, and frenzy among all that worked in Oracle license management. Think of the installation routine of the Java Runtime Environment on your own laptop, which entertains you with the information that Java is already installed on 3.2 billion devices globally; even novices in mental arithmetic could make a simple multiplication of $ 1 just to imagine how much potential revenue this could mean.
And when was the last time you could get something from Oracle for just one buck?
However, Oracle's announcement is not the real excitement. In fact, the real buzz is about the very premature requiem for all IT evangelists and prophets on software compliance and Software Asset Management.
Do you need cloud software asset management?
Much has been written over the last 18 months about how SaaS and cloud-based solutions would question the need for a robust Software Asset Management. Why invest in ensuring software compliance when the new provider-managed, pay-per-use models make under-licensing impossible?
It is true that with SaaS and subscription software solutions, the classical compliance concept is somewhat out of place. Instead, two new challenges arise with SaaS, and software license management is critical to prevent organizations from:
Software license optimization – critical in the cloud
Dynamic companies experience a constant up and down in actual user counts and assignments of users to SaaS instances. Adding to this, an individual user activity level can range from very active to completely inactive over weeks and months.
In the light of typical SaaS modularity, the question of which functions and modules are really needed becomes increasingly important. Monitoring and actively controlling SaaS and cloud-based solutions will save money right away. This process of software license optimization is also known as Financial Optimization.
It’s still a hybrid cloud world
However, neither today nor in the future will organizations rely solely on SaaS and cloud software licensing subscriptions. Right now, companies are sitting on a pile of software, worth several billion dollars, that has been traditionally licensed. It is utterly Utopian to believe that this substantial part of an organization’s IT service could vanish within a few months or be pushed into the Cloud. And for this software, both today and in the future, software license compliance and software license optimization must be ensured based on the respective contracts.
And this is what brings us to the starting point of our new consideration:
Within a company’s software landscape, components, modules, and libraries are being used in many (unknown) places, and today's usage is free of charge. It would take fortune telling skills to predict if what is free today won’t cost you money in the future.
Instead, we’ll experience something like the "Causa Java Effect” repeatedly when something that was created long ago as Open Source is suddenly commercialized and thus becomes chargeable. Although we won’t be able to prevent that process as such, we need to get the most out of it by implementing a comprehensive Software Asset Management approach.
Software asset management is far from over
So, to all who make their money from predicting the future to decision makers: the era of Software Asset Management which optimizes the use of software and ensures compliance, is far from over.
But the whole truth is that we are at the dawn of the hybrid age of software license management, where traditionally licensed software – as well as cloud and SaaS-based solutions, must be managed equally. At the beginning of this year, the world’s CIOs probably did not suspect that they would have to manage a new multi-million-dollar risk called Oracle Java. Good for those who have not yet put their Software Asset Management on the sidelines.