Oracle License Services

OverviewPre-audit Health CheckScript AnalysisAudit DefenceLicense Optimization1 core to a $100,000 liabilitySureHub for Oracle

Overview

Most large Organisations will have an Oracle estate. As the estate grows, governing the deployment and accurately managing the licensing requirements becomes ever more difficult. When we combine this with changing environments, expansions, mergers, purchases and rule changes from Oracle themselves, keeping track and overseeing compliance is a job that requires an expert eye.

Some people are of course very comfortable with managing their deployment and measuring the estate and these people we salute; most others, however, are usually too busy with the day to day operations to give this area the careful consideration it demands. It also calls for an expertise that may not be naturally part of the acquired skillset of the team. Mistakes in this area can very quickly become very costly, even for very light Oracle users.

The simple and most effective message: get it right, keep it right. Avoid the unnecessary spend, waste of resources and the headache of a potential audit. Let the experts do their job so you can get on with your job.

Pre-audit Health Check

If your organisation has a significant investment in Oracle products and annual support and you are responsible for either the budget or the risks if there is a compliance gap this will be of interest to you.

You will probably have one or more tools that help you tracking usage and an Oracle Account manager whom you rely on for advice on licensing and from whom you also buy Oracle products or services.  If you are like many organisations we work with you still have many questions:

  • Can we get more value out of the licenses we already have and avoid new purchases?
  • If Oracle request a license review or full audit how big a financial risk do we have?
  • Do we have the time, resources or best tools to prepare for any negotiations this year?
  • Can we negotiate a better deal on our agreement when it’s up for renewal?
  • How do we leverage our existing investment and avoid getting subscriptions we don’t need?
  • What’s the benchmark for my industry, am I paying too much?

We can help answer these questions and more and the advice is independent as we are not an Oracle Partner incentivised to encourage you to buy more software.

Our Solution

We provide a complete Oracle license health check that is powered by our tool but also supported by a team of experienced license experts, some of who are ex-auditors.  Our health check can quickly collect, reconcile and calculate your license position.  We can:

  • Take the data from your existing tools so no new technology needs to be deployed
  • Provide tools to improve the quality of data collected if required.
  • Automatically de-duplicates and standardises the data collected (normalise)
  • Work with the contracts and agreements in whatever format you make them available
  • Provide a position for both desktop and servers, physical and virtual.
  • Create an accurate Oracle Server Worksheet (OSW) that can be handed to Oracle
  • Provide expert analysis of where there are risks and what to do about reducing or removing that risk

We achieve all of this with a minimum impact on your already busy team, quickly and to a standard that will exceed Oracle reporting standards.

The Benefits

There are many benefits to carrying out a pre audit health check for Oracle, most notably:

  • Finding and removing any compliance risks before Oracle or their SAM partners do.
  • Confidence that the reports will stand up to close inspection as they will have been reviewed by ex-Oracle auditors.
  • Script Analysis
  • Optimal assignment of licenses so you know you are getting the most value from your existing investment.
  • Exact counts should you wish need to buy additional products or services
  • Expert advice on the steps to remove any compliance gaps
  • Free up your team to focus on the core business.
  • No fear should Oracle or the reseller put pressure on you with a license review or full audit.

Costs

Our service at a fixed price based on the size of your estate and covers both databases and servers.

It will undoubtedly be the best investment you’ll make this year.

Script Analysis

There’s a famous saying “sign in haste, regret at leisure”. This is very relevant when dealing with scripts for Oracle. If you have someone in your team who deals with the Oracle scripts every two or three years they will not have the same experience as someone who is doing it every day.

Oracle scripts must be forensically analysed in order to accurate extract all the relevant information and be therefore able to produce an OSW that you can stand over.

Many enterprise software licenses, in particular Oracle products, are measured using a core metric.  In simple terms the amount you pay is directly linked to the number of CPU cores on the physical server it’s running on.  There are lots of other factors that also impact the license cost (core factor, virtualization, DR, etc.) but it all comes back to number of cores.

A quick glance at the Oracle price list before discounts for Database Enterprise Edition gives you’re a starting figure of $47,500 so getting the core count wrong is a very significant cost.

The problem is, if you are relying on the standard methods of interrogating the operating system you might be significantly over counting the number of cores and paying significantly more that you should.

Without getting into too much technical detail the cause of the issue is that the operating system can, for a certain makes and models of chip, report back the wrong number of cores. By analysing the scripts, using an expert eye, these simple but expensive mistakes can be eliminated.

Audit Defence

If you have received notice of an upcoming Oracle Audit then it is now time to ensure that you get your hands on expert and independent advice to make sure that you get the best outcome.

An audit is not an experience that you want to go into without having the best defence possible; it can be a sobering and expensive lesson!

Your auditors do not arrive to your door cheaply and their job is to ensure that their investigations come up with maximum possible return for their trouble. Before you even agree to a date with them be sure to contact us. Even if the Audit has begun, your defence team can argue each individual point to ensure you get the most favourable possible result.

Best advice we can give: Get in our team of experts to fight your corner with you.

License Optimization

To get the most out of what you already have usually takes some help, usually requires a lot of knowledge and the vision to see where wastage or under usage is proving costly. This is where asset management and licence optimisation are key components of a well-functioning IT budget.

The software vendors do not want to make it too easy; they want to ensure their revenues remain secure and with varying technologies and licencing models across almost any estate, slippage can very easily occur. It is this exact slippage that the vendors will seek to identify in an audit situation.

Managing this licence jungle requires time and knowledge. Licences differ for applications, users, servers, desktops, virtualisation, etc etc. Optimisation means sweating the assets that you own before deciding to make any further purchases, maximising the usage, un-installing the unnecessary, knowing the way to make real and consistent cost savings.

It is an area which usually needs simple changes to establish, simple guidelines to follow and a process which leads to manageable budget and estate. Take expert help to get it started in the right way and then the right advice to maintain it.  Do not depend on your reseller to provide this information, it is not in their interest to reduce your spend.

How one core of Oracle Database becomes a $100,000 liability

When talking about Oracle licensing you will frequently hear about the number of “licensable cores” required for a particular product. This is useful measure from a technical stand point as this directly links to the architecture the product is deployed on.

It does however disconnect us from the financial cost and potential risk to the business. Similar to the chips in a casino each core represents a potential $100K chip.  But how can this be you might ask.

To illustrate the point lets break down a typical scenario which most organisations using Oracle will encounter and it will quickly become apparent where this figure comes from.  For this example we’ll use $ (US Dollars) as this is how Oracle publish their prices.

Scenario: You are a small to medium sized organization running a couple of systems on Oracle technology for example a payroll or Time and Subsistence.  You have completed a licence review and, after submitting your Oracle Server Worksheet (OSW) to Oracle LMS, it has been determined that your organisation are short by one licensable core of Oracle Database Enterprise Edition.  The database in question has been found to be in use for a number of years and also has at least one database options in-use on the same server.

So what are the potential costs to you?

This is a modest compliance gap so here we’ll break down the costs.

One core of Oracle Enterprise Edition as listed in the current Oracle Technology Global Price List which is the basis for audit pricing:

$47,500

One core of Database Partitioning (Database Option); it’s the most common in use so we’ll use it here.

$11,500

Add to this 22% support for the year for both products

$10,450 + $2,530

Now because you have been using this database for some time you will be required to pay back-support.  This will be estimated from the install date and can go back 6 years (unless you can prove otherwise)

$77,880

If it’s not a formal audit you will get your usual discount.  Even if it was a formal audit you can expect to get at least 10%.  So let’s assume an average discount of 25%

$47,500
$11,500
$10,450
$2,530
77,880
Sub total $149,860
Less 25% $37,465
Total $112, 395

So now you see how that one core has become a $100,000 unbudgeted expense for your organisation.  Even allowing for higher discount levels and even fewer years of back support, you see how quickly it becomes very expensive.

This is only an example but it does represent a common situation, most usually in organisations that are relatively light users of Oracle technology.

Next Action: You need to carry out a review of all systems running on Oracle Technology, most notable Database and Fusion Middleware to determine if any changes have occurred in the last 12 months which could have inadvertently increase the number of cores.  Once you establish this you can either budget for additional licenses or take action to remove the problem.

Business Case

If you are having difficulty getting approval for a project to review your Oracle deployment might I suggest you share this article with your CxO.  They business case should write itself after that.

Conclusion

Now that you appreciate that each processor core on which an Oracle product sits is not only a $100K asset but also a $100K risk, ask yourself, what are we doing to manage this risk?

SureHub for Oracle

As an overall means of managing your Oracle estate, SureHub offers an unmatched means of accessing and reviewing all your information across all vendors. You can then chose which area you feel needs the most pressing attention.

With full and constant visibility you can manage your entire estate from your own dashboard. This means that for you to produce an ELP or OSW becomes a far simpler task; you can take charge of the desktops and the servers; you become the hands-on manager of your entire estate and you can approach any review with confidence.

The set-up is quick and easy. SureHub is an expert, highly productive, on site, employee who is fully managing your estate and reporting constantly, without ever asking for holidays. It means that you can prevent those unplanned surprises, plan better for upcoming events and monitor it all easily.