- Nov 16, 2017
- Maxime Pawlak
Top 8 Challenges of Managing Oracle Licenses
Oracle is an essential component of your company’s IT infrastructure. But their database solutions and applications have some of the most complex and expensive license contracts in Software Asset Management (SAM). I’ve put together this list of the Top 8 Oracle license management challenges to help SAM managers stay in control of licensing costs and avoid compliance risk.
Proper management of your Oracle licenses costs means having complex insight into such areas as license metrics, deployment, usage, configurations, virtualization, and the number of CPUs. Because these ever-present compliance challenges can’t be managed using spreadsheets alone, an automated SAM tool is needed to protect against software audit risk, and to discover cost savings through Oracle license optimization.
- Steep support fees. Oracle’s support fees represent 22% of their license fees. Your challenge is to understand and correctly apply the key items listed in the Technical Support Policies. In fact, Oracle earns more from its maintenance fees than from the software licenses, and although it is very hard to reduce your Oracle maintenance stream, it’s not impossible!
- Complex metrics. Oracle has a tricky licensing scheme using the two most common metrics: by processor (CPU) or by Named User Plus (NUP). There are also other big factors to consider like clusters, virtualization, multiplexing and variations in core types and counts.
- Confusing fine print. Oracle’s enterprise contracts can be as complex as their metrics. The vendor often acquires and incorporates new software products, each with its own licensing rules, and there is a lack of standardization in their contract language.
- Communication. Oracle does not always clearly communicate their licensing changes, and information is often hard to find. This makes keeping up with your Terms & Conditions challenging, so it is always advisable to ask a neutral third party in these cases to ensure compliance.
- Picking through the packs. Each option, feature and pack in Oracle Database is licensed separately. In fact, any DBA can easily activate an option by mistake, with no warning message. To clean it up, you have to control activated options and know the root cause of the usage.
- Unlimited License Agreements. Contrary to how it might seem, the Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) may not actually mean “unlimited”, as it may not cover all of Oracle’s products and options, or all of your company’s business units and legal entities. And if you don’t renew the ULA, then Oracle requires a license for every installation—and maintenance payments.
- Lack of virtual licensing options. While most of IT is racing forward, Oracle still relies on its strong position in the database market and doesn’t provide virtualization-friendly license policies. Market-leading technologies like VMware are categorized as “soft-partitioning” which often results in obtuse license demands and huge compliance risks.
- Flexible IT means constant change. Enormous cost risks can occur from a change in the data center. For example, you might install a high-risk application on Oracle middleware, or move a virtual machine to a different server cluster. It’s essential to keep a close watch.
Oracle cost optimization
Although Oracle license management can be quite overwhelming, so it’s critical to take a comprehensive and strategic approach for managing your software licenses. Automated software license management solutions like Aspera SmartTrack or License Control for Oracle – plus our managed services options, ensure that you optimize your Oracle investment while lowering financial risk.
By providing a detailed metering on your usages, our optimization component significantly reduces your Oracle footprint by:
- Removing options that have been activated by mistake
- Reducing the sizing of your physical / virtual servers partitions by getting a view of maximum CPU / memory consumption over last months
- Getting the list of improperly configured virtualization to achieve partitioning of your licenses usage
- Evaluating the option to use the appropriate edition on specific perimeters
- Detecting and uninstalling unused instances