Licensing Oracle Databases ... What Could Go Wrong? (May 20, '15)

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Licensing Oracle Databases … What Could Go Wrong?

Oracle Database is largely accepted as the best database for deploying mission-critical applications on your enterprise network. It's reliable and secure, but it's also expensive. With five different editions, each designed for a specific development and deployment scenario and bundled with a variety of database options and software packs, Oracle Database is one of the trickier—and most important—software purchases you'll make.

"It's such a critical purchase. A single Oracle Database processor license with multiple options could cost $100,000—and a server can easily have four processors on it. It's easy to make a half-a-million dollar mistake," says Melissa Cortale, founder of CorTek Global Solutions, a software asset management (SAM) consulting firm that specializes in Oracle licensing. Cortale is presenting several sessions at the 2015 IBSMA SAM Summit in Chicago on June 8 and 9 that dig into the challenges asset managers typically wrestle with when licensing their Oracle software.

"The different Oracle Database licensing metrics are confusing. But because of the massive expense of mistakes, it's important [that SAM managers] understand them—learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls," she asserts.

In her practice, Cortale works with organizations to identify the Oracle licensing metrics that will be most cost efficient for their needs as well as analyze existing deployments for licensing compliance. She has identified several mistakes that organizations continue to make, thanks to the complexity of Oracle's licensing rules.

1. Virtualized databases

Virtualizing Oracle Database on VMware without understanding the restrictions Oracle has in place is the top mistake users make. Because of the licensing restrictions, users might not be able to use the virtualized database in the way they want to—and that unauthorized use is a bright red flag for Oracle's audit team.

"Oracle needs to be treated differently from every other system that IT virtualizes," said Cortale.

2. Non-compliant non-production systems

Also common is neglecting to properly license test development, quality assurance (QA), and disaster recovery systems. According to Cortale, many organizations simply do not realize that these databases need to be fully licensed along with their production systems.

3. Extra database options

A common complaint among SAM managers is that Oracle forces them to automatically download and install software components that they don't necessarily want—or even know exists—as part of their Database download. These options quickly become licensing nightmares, particularly when they draw the attention of an Oracle audit team.

"Additional software components sit on the database that make licensing even more complex. They have cost implications that IT needs to understand," says Cortale. "They need to be licensed, and there may be less expensive options that IT isn't aware of."

Taken together, these three common pitfalls can be easily sidestepped with some education. Cortale points out that when SAM managers better understand Oracle's database licensing metrics, they're far more likely to be able to choose the most cost-efficient licensing options for their deployments, as well as avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing bills if an audit finds them non-compliant.

"It's always better to have a good relationship with vendors—and being armed with more knowledge will improve the relationship SAM managers have with Oracle," says Cortale. "You'll be on equal footing with the Oracle team."

To learn more about common mistakes made when licensing Oracle Database, and how to avoid them, attend Cortale's session "Cracking the Code: Oracle Database Licensing" on June 8 in Chicago.

SAM Summit 2015 | Oracle Track + Oracle Licensing PCOLM Course: $2,785

A dream team of trainers and presenters from Oracle (Kyle Leonard, Brian Clift, Dave May) and from expert Oracle consultancies (Max Shlopak, Melissa Cortale) will gather in Chicago June 8-11 to present the SAM Summit’s Oracle Track. The Oracle Track includes 9 Oracle-focused sessions and is topped off by a 1.5-day Oracle certificate course, the Practitioners Certificate on Oracle License Management (PCOLM) on June 10-11, all for a special price. Details

View the full 60+ session agenda including the new Oracle Track at

Additional reporting by Leslie T. O'Neill

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