Taking the sting out of Oracle licensing for VMware datacentres

Datacentre management tools have changed a lot in recent years, and VMware has played a big part in the revolution. Regardless of whether or not your organisation is using cloud computing style deployments, server hardware virtualisation has enormously improved flexibility for datacentres.

Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Lion's Mane Jellyfish, courtesy of Dan Hershman

Virtualisation does however have a rather nasty sting that can easily be overlooked – Oracle database licensing.

Oracle licensing is based on a straightforward model. If an Oracle technology product (such as Oracle Database or WebLogic Server) is running on a piece of hardware, the price paid for the licence is based on the number of processors within that server hardware platform.

Oracle offers favourable application licensing for software running on Oracle’s own Oracle VM virtualisation solution, by allowing the partitioning of the server. But for servers or clusters using non-Oracle virtualisation technologies (such as VMware), the price is based on the number of processors pooled in the cluster.

While every vendor seems to have their own rules for these particular situations, the net effect is similar. Virtualisation and clustering technologies will cause you software licensing headaches.

Dataweave has been helping clients to optimise their licensing costs for many years. In cases I have seen in recent months, organisations have dramatically misunderstood their licensing requirements after implementing virtualisation technologies, and faced large unbudgeted application costs. Simple adjustments to datacentre configurations can have severe impacts on licensing costs.

Now of course virtualisation technologies are designed to hide the truth of the underlying hardware from your software. This means your applications can’t easily tell when you have broken your licensing agreement.

If they could, it would be much harder to make a mistake. Any mistakes will undoubtedly be exposed much further down the track in a vendor audit, resulting in a large unexpected invoice. In case you are wondering, vendor audits are now quite commonplace – because they nearly always generate extra revenue for the vendor.

Software licensing for datacentres is truly an area where you will save by getting expert advice.

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About normanweaver

Norman has 40 years experience of IT and related technologies. He was the founder and Managing Director of the IT Systems Integrator Dataweave Pty Ltd which was acquired by Deloitte in 2015. Norman is also a Director of Synergy & Taikoz Ltd, home of two of Australia's leading percussion ensembles, and a Director of The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, promoting excellence in sailing and supporting disabled and disadvantaged people through sailing.
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