Are you Oracle DB 12c aware?

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Implementing Oracle Multitenant can have large benefits, but it also affects licensing. Ensure a smooth transition by knowing licensing implications beforehand.

The Right Knowledge on Container Database Licensing

In its new database release 12c, Oracle Corporation introduced a new licensable database option called “Multitenant” which allows multiple “pluggable” databases to “plug in” to a container database. This new functionality is available in all database editions (e.g. Standard Edition, Standard Edition One, and Enterprise Edition). By enabling you to consolidate databases in one large container database, Multitenant offers many potential benefits in terms of managing the whole group of databases. Patching, database upgrades, provisioning and cloning, and resource management are dramatically affected by this new option. Here, you can learn more about the technical functionalities of Multitenant.

Implementing Multitenant also can affect licensing dramatically. Read on, to learn about these possible effects and how to manage them to ensure a smooth transition, and maximize the benefits of this new database option.

Oracle Multitenant Licensing

Multitenant is an Oracle Database Enterprise Edition option. Similar to the licensing of all other database options, the licensing of Multitenant must match the number of licenses of the associated Oracle Database Enterprise Edition. The associated database is the one managed by the Multitenant option, thus the Container database. The licensing metric is also similar to the existing licensing, i.e. per Processor or by Named User Plus (NUP). In addition, the same minimum applies in the case of licensing by Named User Plus: 25 NUP licenses per Processor.

So What’s New?

The container database can hold up to 252 pluggable databases. These databases, which need to migrate to database release 12c first, can be considered stand-alone databases as before, and as such, they will have their own configuration. This can include the use of other database options, such as Partitioning, Spatial, Advanced Security, and others.

Because these database options are available in the pluggable databases, they are also available in the container database. The current Oracle policy on this is that these options must match the licensing of the associated container database, which can have major cost implications. This situation is similar to the licensing of Oracle databases on large soft partitioned clusters (like virtual clusters). In that case, the full cluster size forms the basis of the license requirement. For Multitenant, the container database is the basis of the license requirement.

Because of this matching requirement between the pluggable and container databases, enabling a database option can cause significant financial surprises if not considered carefully. This means Multitenant and its database options require appropriate attention during migration as well as management when 12c is in Run and Maintain mode.

Some Examples

Let’s take the example of 10 physical servers where every server deploys a total of 20 database instances. All instances are Oracle’s Database Enterprise Edition version 11g, and every server has a total of 2 processors. One database instance on one of these servers is making use of the database option “Partitioning”.  In this example, you would need to license the following:

[Oracle Database with Partitioning on 11i]

In order to reduce costs whie the existing 10 servers have a very low utilization, the company decides to consolidate and change its IT architecture by using Oracle Database Enterprise Edition 12c with its pluggable database functionality Multitenant. To do this, you buy 1 new server with a total amount of 16 processors where all the existing database environments need to be consolidated.

Since Multitenant requires 12c databases, you would first need to upgrade all existing 11g environments to 12c before they can be plugged in a Multitenant container database. Upgrading the database from 11g to 12c may not be a big issue, but making sure that all existing applications running on 11g are certified to run on 12c could be a challenge. Now let’s assume that migrating from 11g to 12c is not a problem, all applications are able to run on 12c, and the existing 10 servers can be de-installed since all databases are now plugged into the new 12c Multitenant container database on the new server with 16 processors.

With these changes, how many licenses would you need to have to be correctly licensed?

[Oracle 12c Database with Multitenant, Partitioning]

Without a proper understanding how they would affect your licensing, the IT budget would be hit with a large unexpected cost, on top of the cost increase for your Oracle database license (inlcuding Multitenant).

This demonstrates how vital it is to have a complete and accurate understanding of your software costs, before implementing a new architecture with new functionalities. Many unexpected software licensing costs can be prevented or decreased with accurate assessments and small, low-cost actions being part of your regular IT operation. Software license management companies like B-lay are happy to assist by challenging your architectural design, analyzing your choices, and assessing the time and monetary cost. With a complete assessment from B-lay, your software licensing does not need to be a surprise, but will deliver tangible value!

This article was published on 28-11-2013