If one constructed their image of Oracle solely based on articles and commentary around Oracle licensing, they could be forgiven for thinking that Oracle has a single product—Oracle Database. Indeed this is the lens through which Oracle license management solutions are commonly viewed, with potentially negative consequences.
There are a number of good reasons why Oracle Database licensing is singled out. Oracle Database products commonly have the highest spend of all Oracle products. In addition, Oracle License Management Services (LMS) has a formal verification program for tools that perform Oracle Database discovery and inventory (FlexNet Manager for Oracle is one of those verified solutions). And, last but not least, Oracle Database licensing models and environments are indeed highly complex.
So, of course, Oracle Databases warrant special consideration, but let’s not dismiss Oracle’s many hundreds of other products and modules. Here are some recommendations for assessing an Oracle license management and optimization solution:
- LMS-verified Oracle Database inventory
- General purpose Software License Optimization platform. As with all software vendors, many Oracle products can be discovered and inventoried using traditional inventory techniques, and niche solutions are typically limited to a small number of Oracle products.
- Understanding of commonly used packaging formats such as Oracle Universal Installer, InstallShield Multi-Platform and InstallAnywhere packages, and proprietary file formats such as those used by WebLogic products.
- Strong virtualization support including the ability to discover virtual server hosts, pools and clusters and resource allocations for a broad range of server virtualization and partitioning technologies. The tools should have knowledge of Oracle virtual use rights for both hard partition and soft partition virtual environments.
- Deep understanding of Oracle license models including Processor, Named User Plus (NUP) and Oracle Application User licenses. The tools should also have built-in knowledge of NUP per processor minimums and core factor tables.
- Support for complex business applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite that host hundreds of separately licensable modules.
Many organizations have significant software expenditure not only on Oracle Databases, but also Oracle middleware and business applications. All of these are very complicated and can prove very costly. When evaluating an Oracle license optimization solution, remember that Oracle is more than a database company.