Oracle Database and hardware infrastructure
The required number of licenses for Oracle’s Database programs are (almost) at all times related to the hardware infrastructure on which the software is installed. Incorrect interpretation or understanding of whether the software is deemed to be installed and how the installed software should be licensed in a certain specific hardware infrastructure is by far the number 1 license compliance issue.
Here we singled out Incorrect understanding of license minimums and Incorrect Processor counts to illustrate how badly you need a complete and accurate understanding of the hardware infrastructure to help you manage and monitor the required number of Oracle Database software licenses correctly. In everyday practice, there will be many more related parameters to consider carefully, among them: Server Virtualization through VMware; Server Virtualization through Oracle VM; Server Virtualization through IBM LPAR; Disaster Recovery and High Availability; Multi-threading; Outsourcing & Cloud environments.
Incorrect understanding of license minimums
As per the terms and conditions of the Named User Plus license metric definition as listed in the license agreement:
You are responsible for ensuring that the named user plus per processor minimums are maintained for the programs contained in the user minimum table in the licensing rules section; the minimums table provides for the minimum number of named users plus required and all actual users must be licensed.
This means that – independent of the actual number of individuals that may make use of the Oracle Database software – Oracle requires end users to have a minimum number of licenses for the different database programs installed and/or used. The minimum required number of Named User Plus licenses is different for every Oracle Database program, including:
Oracle Database Standard Edition One – 5 – Named User Plus
Oracle Database Standard Edition – 5 – Named User Plus
Oracle Database Enterprise Edition – 25 – Named User Plus per Processor
Oracle Database Enterprise Edition Option – 25 – Named User Plus per Processor
Oracle Database Enterprise Edition Management Packs – 25 – Named User Plus per Processor
In addition, as licensing metrics have changed over the last decades from Concurrent User/Concurrent Device to Named User and later to Named User Plus, the license minimums have changed as well. Under the Concurrent User/Concurrent Device license metrics, the minimums were for example 8 Concurrent Device per Processor for Oracle’s Database Enterprise Edition, whereas under the Named User license metric, the minimums were 10 Named User per Processor for the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition.
Apart from changing license minimums, it’s not uncommon for end users to believe that all the minimum required number Named User Plus licenses are – at all times – calculated Per Processor. This is incorrect. The minimums for the Oracle Database Standard Edition One and Oracle Database Standard Edition have always been 5 per organization. So 5 Concurrent Device licenses, or 5 Named User, or 5 Named User Plus licenses per organization is the minimum required number of licenses to deploy these database software programs.
In addition, end users typically forget that this minimum should be calculated for all the servers on which the software is installed and/or used, no matter if the software on a server is used for production, test, development, acceptance, or any other type of usage.
Example: In case an end user has one production server with 4 processors, one acceptance server with 4 processors, one test server with 4 processors and 2 development servers with each 4 processors on which a total amount of 125 users are making use of the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, the end user is required to license a minimum number Named User Plus licenses as per this calculation:
Production (1 x 4) + Acceptance (1 x 4) + Test (1 x 4 ) + Development (2 x 4) = 20 x 25 = 500 Named User Plus
On top of this, the minimum required number of licenses are Per Processor, meaning that end users need to determine the minimum required number of Named User Plus licenses Per Processor, as per Oracle’s Processor definition and NOT just per the amount of CPUs of the machine itself.
In case an end user has for example one production server with 4 CPUs – 10 Cores per CPU – Intel Xeon, one acceptance server with 2 CPUs – Quad Core – Power 7, one test server with 4 CPUs – Single Core – Intel and 2 development servers with each 2 CPUs – Octo Core – Intel Xeon on which a total amount of 125 users are making use of the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, the end user is required to license a minimum number Named User Plus licenses as per this calculation:
Production: 4 CPUs x 10 Cores x 0.5 (Processor Core Factor for Intel Xeon) = 20
Acceptance: 2 CPUs x 4 Cores x 1.0 (Processor Core Factor for Power 7) = 8
Test : 4 CPUs x 1 Cores x 1.0 (Processor Core Factor for Single Core) = 4
Development: 2 x 2 CPUs x 8 Cores x 0.5 (Processor Core Factor for Intel Xeon) = 16
So the total number of Processors (as per Oracle’s Processor definition) is (20 + 8 + 4 + 16) = 48, instead of (4 + 2 + 4 + 2×2 =) 14, as many end user organizations believe. The minimum number of required Named User Plus licenses for the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition is therefore 48 x 25 = 1200 Named User Plus licenses Oracle Database Enterprise Edition.
Incorrect Processor counts
As per the terms and conditions of the Processor license metric definition as listed in the license agreement:
Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running. Programs licensed on a processor basis may be accessed by your internal users (including agents and contractors) and by your third party users. The number of required licenses shall be determined by multiplying the total number of cores of the processor by a core processor licensing factor specified on the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table which can be accessed at http://oracle.com/contracts. All cores on all multicore chips for each licensed program are to be aggregated before multiplying by the appropriate core processor licensing factor and all fractions of a number are to be rounded up to the next whole number. When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name (with the exception of WebCenter Enterprise Capture Standard Edition, Java SE Support, Java SE Advanced, and Java SE Suite), a processor is counted equivalent to an occupied socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket.
A processor is explicitly defined as stated above, with many factors that impact the way you have to count the number of processors on which the software is deployed, including:
Number of CPUs
Number of Cores per CPU
Type of CPU
Purchase date of the hardware
Configuration of the hardware itself (e.g. virtualization, logical partitioning)
Not applying the right methodology, licensing rules and calculations on the number of Processors can lead to an incorrect calculation of the license requirements and can therefore result in large compliance issues and financial risk.
Example: In the case of 50 servers with one single-core Intel processor each running Oracle’s Database Enterprise Edition, for which you apply an Oracle Processor Core Factor of 0.5 for the Intel processors, you would calculate: 50 servers x 1 processor x 1 core x 0.5 = 25 Processors. However, because the servers use single-core processors, you would need to apply an Oracle Processor Core factor of 1.0 (instead of 0.5 which is only applicable for multi-core processors). Therefore, you would need to license: 50 servers x 1 core x 1.0 = 50 Processors. Wrongly applying this single Core Factor would result in noncompliance of 25 Oracle Database Enterprise Edition processor licenses, leading to a list license fee exposure of 1,000,000 USD.
Richard is one of the managing partners at B-lay. He started to work in the license management industry in 2004 and worked for almost 10 years at Oracle as regional director of compliance. He uses his knowledge of enterprise software vendors (such as Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft) to educate, equip and enable software end users in their challenges regarding proper software license management. Richard holds a master’s degree in IT, from University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.