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Oracle Licensing & Audits – Getting Through The Ugly to Get to the Good

Enterprise Software | Posted on November 28, 2012

In blaring red font – a $1 million dollar invoice from Oracle. Maybe you’ve been in a similar situation yourself, or maybe you have a little anxiety knowing you’re not as up to date on managing your Oracle licensing agreement as you’d like to be. You’re not alone. We’ve had a few customers in this situation.

In the world of IT, auditing activity is expected to increase year over year. To provide some advice on better managing your Oracle licensing, we reached out to Eric Guyer, Managing Partner at Rational IT Consulting and former Oracle Architect. Eric is a consultant who works closely with Softchoice on our Oracle TechCheck Assessments. Here are the key take-aways from of our interview:

The Ugly

CB: Why do Oracle customers find licensing so complicated?

EG: Customers find Oracle licensing complicated because it requires a very technical understanding. A great example is Oracle Licensing Manuals. These documents can contain hundreds of pages in which all the content may not be relevant. As well, important policies may not be well documented and the ones that are have a lot of loop holes. Oracle licensing also contains copyright infringement and intellectual property laws which require people who are very technical to understand the contract.

The Bad

CB: What are the most common licensing violations by customers?

EG: The most common licensing violations customers make include not virtualizing in a way that Oracle recognizes as licensable; as well customers do not understand what they are entitled and often use products that they thought were free but really aren’t. The software installs additional software that customers haven’t paid for automatically – which sets them up for non-compliance. Customers often buy new hardware thinking that they are compliant but it is often the case that they aren’t.

CB: What are the biggest obstacles faced by Oracle customers?

EG: The biggest obstacles customers face with Oracle is how to save money on it. It is expensive software and once you do business with Oracle, you are subject to annual software support payments which increase 3-5% on maintenance agreements per year! Inevitably customers try to reduce this amount and are most often unsuccessful.

The Good

CB: In your blog post One Good Thing about an Oracle Audit you mentioned that opportunities to reconsider how you deploy the software often arise during audits – can you explain this?

EG: Oracles biggest competitor is itself as it can be deployed in an expensive way or a not-so-expensive way. When I get involved in customer reviews, more often than not the customer has deployed it in a way that is over engineered, or they’ve gone a little overboard with how they have implemented the software which could be simplified – all with the same software. It happens about half the time I review a customer’s environment. One of the benefits of Softchoice’s Oracle TechCheck Assessment is that they’re now able to look beyond Oracle licensing to ensure that their customers have the proper hardware infrastructure required to maximize their licenses, which often leads them to saving their customers money.

CB: When thinking about Oracle licensing, should customers review their data and severs to ensure they are properly set up?

EG: Absolutely! Oracle is above all else a very technical product, so how the product has been deployed and implemented is vital. Oracle can be set up in many different ways, including how it is set up for disaster recover or high availability, how it is backed up or recovered. If you are licensed well or compliant, you have to look at how the software has been set up because these two are inseparable. The reason for that is because Oracle measures the way you set them up when determining compliance.

CB: Lastly, do you have any recommendations for customers regarding Oracle licenses?

EG: I always recommend that the customer has a third-party review their licensing. I recommend this because if you do not do it you are at a financial risk, if you let Oracle do it for you, you are likely being audited by Oracle which never turns out well. If you are letting your Oracle representative review your licensing they are motivated to sell you a lot more software. Having someone come in who is first and foremost concerned with optimizing what you have and save you money is key. You are always able to purchase more licenses, but once you’ve purchased them you cannot un-buy it.

Softchoice makes Oracle licensing easy

Softchoice is widely recognized as the software licensing experts and continues to provide its customers with innovative assessments, including the Oracle TechCheck Assessment.

The Oracle TechCheck Assessment provides:

  • A comprehensive analysis of licenses you own vs. what you use and identifies any licensing gaps that could give you a surprise bill from Oracle (even if you aren’t audited)
  • Evaluates your existing platform and identifies opportunities to consolidate or adopt a more effective technology.
  • Determines architectural changes that can help cover licensing shortfalls and provides a three-year ROI that would result from our proposed optimizations.
  • Control over the licensing process rather than waiting for Oracle to do it for you and provides absolute privacy – we will not share any of your information, not even with Oracle.

Interested in seeing how Softchoice helps with your licensing needs? Reach out and set up a discovery call. Contact your Softchoice Account Representative, or speak to a live person at 1.800.268.7638.

Have any questions or comments you’d like answered? We’d love to hear from you – leave them below in the comments section. Our team is here to help.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, make sure to check out the other post in this series, 4 Common Oracle Licensing Errors to Avoid – and How to Fix Them.

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