Oracle Database license issues

Organizations around the globe typically spend huge amounts of money on the purchase and support of Oracle Database software. Different, complex and changing licensing rules and definitions need to be taken into account and periodically reviewed in order to avoid unnecessary compliance issues and financial risk.

Beware of over-licensing    

It’s very important that software license compliance issues are permanently on your radar and on the agenda of both Finance and IT departments. For instance, automated scanning and inventory tools (including the third-party tools verified by Oracle) do not differentiate system usage from actual usage, so that many end user organizations think they require to license more database options than they actually need to!

You may wear a heavy crown already   

Customers are king, but they may wear a heavy crown, that means carry the burden of legal responsibilities, without even knowing. Take Oracle’s licensing model which is very flexible and non-restrictive. Anyone who wants to use any Oracle software program can visit the website and download whatever they are interested in. The full responsibility to obtain the appropriate software licenses is the end user’s. You need to contact Oracle or one of its resellers to obtain the appropriate licenses before installing and using the software. On top of that, the end user in almost all cases will download more (related) functionalities/features than the software he or she intends to install and/or use.

Complexity follows convenience            

Although all the ease of use and installation Oracle provides is on the one hand very convenient for the end user, it also results in more complexity and difficulty while keeping track of software programs, users, and rights, which you are definitely required to do. In many organizations, multiple (internal and external) people in different roles and with different levels of expertise download and install Oracle Database software programs, without being aware of what they were doing and using in what capacity. This typically results in large non-compliance issues and financial exposure.

Know your Hardware Infrastucture in detail

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.

Some examples: Incorrect understanding of license minimums and Incorrect Processor counts are issues we encounter at clients on a daily basis. They 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. And 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.

Usage related issues

Apart from all non-compliance issues related to A) the Hardware Infrastructure on which the Oracle Database software is installed, B) the complete and accurate view on all Oracle Database installations within an organization, and C) the configuration of the different Oracle Database installations – a number of most common issues are related to the actual usage of software.

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.