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Virtualizing Oracle software: Don't pay for what you don't need

May 7, 2014 06:30 AM ET

Negotiating with Oracle: Experts' tips

  • When executing an Oracle software license agreement, visit the Oracle contracts page and print out or store copies of all online policy documents to which the contract refers as a class.
  • Be sure to include the Oracle Partitioning Policy document (PDF), Oracle Processor Core Factor Table (PDF), Software Investment Guide, Licensing Data Recovery Environments (PDF) and Oracle Software Technical Support Policies (PDF). These have information not otherwise specified in the customer's Oracle Software Licensing Agreement (OSLA).
  • The documents can change over time, so it is important to have copies of the policies that are in force at the time the OLSA is executed.
  • For more information on Oracle licensing in a VMware environment read the VMware white paper, "Understanding Oracle Certification, Support and Licensing for VMware Environments" (PDF).
  • Avoid overspending on new Oracle licenses when moving servers to a virtual environment, especially when it comes to vSphere clusters. Oracle may ask users to pay a licensing fee for every server in a cluster -- not just the servers where the Oracle products are installed and/or running -- "but that condition is not spelled out in the software license or associated policy documents," says Guarente.
  • Inventory your Oracle licensing paperwork before starting a server consolidation project to see if you can allow maintenance contracts to lapse selectively for Oracle licenses associated with retired physical servers. Note that Oracle's contracts group individual licenses within so-called license sets. Oracle's matching support levels policy states that you can't cancel maintenance and support on a subset of licenses within a license set without also cancelling those licenses. That may trigger a re-pricing for the rest of the agreement. So renegotiating the contract may not save you any money.
  • Carefully consider the implications of any invitation to migrate all of your Oracle licenses into a single agreement. Such initiatives rarely work in the customer's favor, professional negotiators say. Keep Oracle software licensing contracts separate whenever possible for maximum flexibility. Also keep in mind that Oracle's License Sets policy works against allowing maintenance and support to lapse on all product licenses within a given Customer Service Identifier (CSI).
  • According to what's commonly known as Oracle's 10-day rule, you're entitled to leave one node unlicensed in a vSphere cluster -- even if you dedicate every other physical server in the cluster to Oracle -- for up to 10 cumulative days, so long as that node is named as a designated failover node. The failover node must also share a storage array with the source node. See Oracle's Software Investment Guide and Licensing Data Recovery Environments documents for details.

Sources: House of Brick, Palisade Compliance

-- Robert L. Mitchell

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