Bring Your Own License Drama

04 feb '14 - Mark van Wolferen
bring-your-own-license-drama

With the ability to scale the computing power and storage plus easy setup, the Oracle cloud-based solution is an attractive alternative to consider. Combined with very flexible pricing, even by the hour, cloud solutions can provide large added value to your company. However, this same flexibility can turn into a practical nightmare when it comes to licensing your software. 

With two renowned Oracle database and fusion middleware cloud providers (Amazon and Verizon), it is clear that cloud-based solutions with ready-to-use Oracle database and middleware software is here to stay. Thanks to the ability to scale the computing power and storage plus the easy setup it is an attractive alternative to consider. Combined with very flexible pricing, even by the hour, cloud solutions can provide large added value to your company. However, this same flexibility can turn into a practical nightmare when it comes to licensing your software.

The cloud-based solutions are offered in two flavors: an all-inclusive model that includes the license for the software used, and a Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL) model.

The first, which includes the license for the software, ensures that the license is always paid for and allows you to deploy software free of care. However, if you decide to use the BYOL model and use the existing licenses of your company for the Oracle software deployment, immediately some license issues arise.

Managing this deployment and thus ensuring correct licensing can be tricky.

Here are three key things to keep in mind when considering bringing your own licensing to an Oracle cloud solution:

1. Can the cloud provider deliver periodic deployment reports that include all your activities? 

Because cloud solutions are designed for rapid deployment and often short-term usage, it is important to keep track of what has been deployed, by whom and for how long. Especially in large firms with central licenses, these metrics can be hard to keep track of. The cost is low and often is not on the radar of management approval. If not correctly administered, licenses may be used without your knowledge. Many IT departments use discovery tools to recognize what is going on in their internal infrastructure, but none of the cloud providers allow these tools to be deployed on their hardware infrastructure. This means you must depend solely on the cloud providers’ reports. Make sure you can get aggregated reports to manage compliance and give your employees the flexibility to use the cloud solutions.

2. Can the cloud provider give you information about the underlying hardware? 

In the case of Oracle database and fusion middleware software, all license models have a relation to the underlying hardware. Although Oracle allows you to count virtual cores, you still need to know the core factor (the hardware multiplier used by Oracle) to calculate the processor license. Today, most solutions are Intel-based with a core factor 0.5. However, you cannot be certain that the cloud provider will not change its hardware and potentially increase the core factor, leading you to non-compliance. Make sure you know the details of the hardware the cloud provider uses, and double check regularly to avoid accidental non-compliance.

3. Does your company have the appropriate licenses?

The cloud providers allow the use of various editions of Oracle’s products. However, you might not have the license for these editions. For example, many companies mistakenly believe they are allowed to run lower editions of the product under their license (e.g. Standard Edition under an Enterprise Edition license). This is not allowed unless you have specifically agreed this with Oracle. Knowing what editions are installed and how the products are configured is a necessity to ensure you can bring the right licenses to your cloud solution. 

If you need help setting some guidelines or better understanding the potential risks of Oracle cloud solutions, b.lay and some of our partners have dealt with this before and will be happy to assist!

Self Audit for Compliance with Zyncc

Ongoing license control is difficult to achieve, but periodic self audits can help you stay in control, remain compliant, and stay one step ahead of software publishers. Conducting these audits requires sound understanding of common mistakes and where to look for them. This can be especially challenging in a continually changing environment with new products and versions of products being deployed.

Self Audit for Compliance with Zyncc