It’s a simple fact: Software licensing is difficult to understand and manage. Even the savviest IT professional can struggle to comprehend certain complex language and terms in licensing agreements from the major software manufacturers. For example, companies report they often have difficulty understanding and complying with Oracle’s licensing rules, particularly when it comes to virtualization conflicts and upgrades that require additional licenses.
Case in point, one organization received a bill for millions of dollars, due in 30 days, after an audit revealed that the company was inadvertently virtualizing much of its infrastructure without the proper licensing. The organization brought on SHI, which eventually helped reduce the total cost owed by 90 percent, but this experience shows how ignorance of licensing can result in major costs.
Here are three common Oracle licensing challenges IT staffs are faced with, and three solutions that can alleviate those headaches and diminish the chances of an audit.
Three common pitfalls with Oracle licensing
1. Limited third-party virtualization: IT professionals that rely on certain virtualization technology will find themselves at odds with Oracle’s licensing practices. Oracle doesn’t recognize VMware’s virtualization technology for the purposes of licensing (though it does approve other technologies in addition to its own). Many companies break down servers and install virtualization on some stacks, but Oracle requires licensing of the entire physical server. Many customers fail to realize this, end up severely under licensed, and can get stuck with a large bill after an audit.
2. Opting into services without realizing: Oracle’s database products, no matter what version, come with the entire suite of services upon installation. Individual services and features can be turned on, but in many cases will require an additional license. Many customers make the mistake of buying and installing the baseline version of Oracle’s database solution, and without realizing it, use an option that requires another license and a full upgrade to the next version of the software. Then, after an audit, the company is left with more licenses than initially anticipated and a large bill.
3. A lack of information: Similar Oracle products, and all their bells and whistles, can be licensed very differently and often without explanation. As a result IT professionals often find it difficult to know the required licenses for each specific program and service.
Three ways to better approach Oracle licensing
1. Adopt an Oracle-on-Oracle solution: One way to alleviate licensing headaches is to turn to Oracle for a full solution — Oracle software on Oracle hardware. When you buy Oracle servers and install Oracle software, virtualization software is included, which eliminates the problem detailed above. Overall, customers can simplify licensing with an Oracle-on-Oracle solution, as they are licensed for exactly what they need, while dramatically reducing the chances of an audit and licensing compliance issues.
2. Study up, and do your homework: Enterprise companies with large IT staffs should have a dedicated professional who understands and monitors licensing. Before contract renewals, IT should examine current licensing and determine if changes are needed. If they can’t find the information or answers they’re looking for, IT professionals can consult an independent third-party vendor about licensing changes and compliance. IT should also be introspective: Is my company using VMware? How are users interacting with the solution, and are they using features that require another license? Am I ready for an audit?
3. Step out of the picture, and hand off your licensing: Third-party vendors can take over the management of licensing from IT departments that might not be equipped to understand the complexity of each agreement, and ensure the company purchases the correct licenses. Because third-party vendors can negotiate with software companies directly, organizations might lower costs by tapping an outside source to manage licenses.
Contact your SHI Account Executive today to help examine your Oracle licensing landscape, and to begin a conversation about letting SHI manage your software licensing.