back to article Oracle users meet behind closed doors: Psst – any licensing tips?

The UK’s Oracle user group is meeting today to discuss the murky world of licensing and software asset management. It will be the second annual meeting focused just on licence management, an area of growing importance as companies are increasingly running hybrid systems and dealing with multiple, often intentionally complex …

  1. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    When users have to meet secretely and anonymously to try and understand licensing terms and avoid being sued to oblivion by their own supplier, perhaps it's time for them to understand that something is rotten and they ought to change suppliers...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rotten

      If you'd ever suffered the indignity of a severe Oracle audit you'd meet in secret too!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rotten

      "any licensing tips?"

      SQL Server is usually much cheaper? Or say PostgreSQL if you don't need the performance / features of SQL Server....

      The only reason today to use Oracle on a greenfield is if you REALLY need RAC. Anyone know when those patents expire? ;-)

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Don't you reall mean

    a discussion on 'Exit Strategies' to get out from under the thumb of Oracle.

    It would be interesting to see if the likes of IBM and Microsoft are there in an 'undercover' role....

    now as if they'd do anything as dastardly as that....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't you reall mean

      'Exit Strategies'

      Well, moving to Microsoft, IBM, SAP aren't going to help these companies. For the most part they elected to buy in a third party IT system, because the concluded that it would be cheaper and better to do so, and that ownership of the IP and the system architecture weren't core requirements for their business. And unfortunately, it now turns out that for any big customer service business, your business IS your CRM and your ERP, and you need control of both cost and capability.

      Given the vast pain and expense in any major IT migration, ERP/CRM aren't products or services you can re-source every five years to get a better deal, which is something these companies overlooked - they've locked themselves into deals with predatory IP companies, whose "licence" agreement is a singularly one sided agreement. If they can't even understand the licence terms, then it certainly is time to consider an exit strategy, but that is very long, very slow, and involves building as much as economically and technically possible of your own systems, and VERY slowly moving your business onto that new IT platform (possibly even creating a new operating company for the new system, and only putting new customers on it. That needn't mean building it yourself, and it can involve buying a basic third party software core - but THIS TIME, make sure that the terms aren't one sided, can't be changed to suit some future IP troll, that there's change of control terms that gives the customer access to the source - or even buy the IT company. Most big ERP and CRM systems were originally crafted by quite small companies, there's nothing magic about this.

      Then again, how many companies would be brave enough to do this?

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The meeting reception desk should be interesting. Checking attendees from lists of pseudonyms and handing out redacted name badges.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Black Helicopters

      Especially when that team of 5 guys in cool shades and sharp suits with the gym-muscles turn out to be an elite undercover Oracle hit squad - who record all the juicy details then slaughter everyone in attendance. Possibly after further interrogating the more valuable-sounding ones.

      Then their lawyers and audit teams descend on the companies concerned in attack helicopters. Possibly while playing Ride of the Valkyries and calling in airstrikes with napalm...

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        @I ain't Spartacus

        Then their lawyers and audit teams

        Must be this lot, dressed in corporate colours too.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

    It's only murky because the supplier is doing its damndest to make sure that it stays that way.

    Licensing should be simple : you have how many people using this software ? It's this much.

    End of.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

      I know the system at Computer Associates, before the dot-com bust and having to rebrand to CA, used to be that sales people were only allowed to keep an account for one year. So they had no incentive to keep customers happy, but to screw as much money out of them as humanly possible. If that meant audting their licenses and making them sign a 5 year extension (with a tiny amount of unwanted "training" thrown in to sweeten the pill), then so be it.

      Of course that strategy is also improved when you keep buying all the opposition, so that people who move to less horrible suppliers then end up with you again anyway.

      I don't know if things have improved now. My friend left them many years ago, as they treated their staff worse than they treated their customers...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

      "Licensing should be simple : you have how many people using this software ? It's this much."

      Of course it shouldn't. First define a "person using this software". With a DB there are usually only a few people using the software as they have middleware which the 'people' access which then utilises the DB.

      Okay so now you licence every person who uses any software which might utilise some other software which accesses the DB.

      Next thing you know your ecommerce website has to be licensed for every single person in the world as they might want to use it?

      Then you have redundant environments, testing systems etc.

      I agree licensing is overly and deliberately complex, ambiguous and a pain but your solution isn't a solution.

      I prefer per person OR per server (per Core/vCore) with no limits on portability, only required for production or permanent testing (passive DR no licence needed) and a grace period of say 28 days to transition or host a recovery server.

      1. Bryan Hall

        Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

        I actually think that SAP has the right idea for how to license databases in the current world of multi-core CPUs - by total memory per server.

        Let me use whatever features I want, with as many fast cores as I can throw at it - only with a memory limit based on whatever I've licensed it for. Total memory use is much easier to control than real core / hyperthreaded core / vCPU.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

        "I prefer per person OR per server (per Core/vCore) "

        How about per connection?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

          "How about per connection?"

          So lets say you have a webscale internet application that supports 1 million+ concurrent users, but does it all via one connection to a massive DB backend? It's not that simple if it's to be (reasonably) fair to all....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

      "Licensing should be simple : you have how many people using this software ? It's this much."

      But also what features are they using and how many servers / CPUs is not unreasonable to consider?

      What was most unreasonable about Oracle licensing last time I had to use it (has this changed?) was that they refused to acknowledge non Oracle virtualisation. So if you installed say a one vCPU instance of Oracle on a vSphere cluster, as far as Oracle were concerned you had to license Oracle on every CPU in the cluster?! Madness.

      1. Robert Halloran

        Re: "the murky world of licensing and software asset management"

        Extend that now to the world of Linux containers: as soon as you fire up a containerized instance of Some Oracle Product on your Measurable-Gravity-Field Kubernetes cluster, the red-clad ninjas of Oracle Legal descend upon you wanting license fees for all the cores therein...

  5. -tim

    Dear former Sun:

    I need you to get a pair of T8-1 in every major IT department in every university in the world.

    A stripped down T8 on the cheap would be great too. Can you do a T8-.0001 for under $2k?


    One of your real customers.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Dear former Sun:

      AND release the info needed to OpenBSD and other Open Source products to support domain management and the encryption hardware on T1, T2, T3, even if not current product, so that geeks can gain familiarity with your kit.

      Lets face it, Solaris is good for some, but not for all, and if there is no one able to support your kit, (in the flag waving sense, as much as being able to read the manuals) the sales will continue to slump. Remember, geeks are the people who recommend (or otherwise) your product.

      Personally, I would like a fanless T style machine. The most cores I can get without it being 86dB in the shade, and able to operate off a UPS for longer without resorting to diesel. (SSDs are a thing!)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a tip...

    How about honouring the CDDL and open-sourcing your changes to ZFS?

  7. HmmmYes

    For me, licenses are becoming a big pain in the arse.

    In the old days, you ot a license, installed on a box - everyone happy.

    Now, youve companies looking at screwing you further down the line.

    Im not sure what he solution is but Im trying to avoid lcinesed software as much as possible.

    Its not the cost of he license, its the fucking hassle.

  8. HmmmYes

    Thought about this.

    For what is essentially a database, metrics/limits on memory, CPU etc are incorrect.

    The licesning should be around transactions.

  9. Griffo

    Not all Vendors

    Actually, Microsoft has significantly reduced the size and scope of it's software compliance teams. As they move to online services, they don't really care as much as it's pretty easy to tell how much is being used. They also don't seem to care so much about ownership rules etc - as long as somebody is paying, they are happy.

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