Do you know what Oracle’s Named User metrics are and how to manage them? (Part 1)
February 15, 2011 2 Comments
By Paul Bullen, Technical License Consultant at Rocela
When it comes to Software Asset Management (SAM), there’s probably no area quite so dynamic, challenging and constantly evolving as licensing compliance.
Just trying to keep up with the twists and turns can be a full time job so we wanted to take some time to focus on one element in particular today; Oracle’s Named Users metric and policies.
For the sake of ease, we’ll talk about Named User metrics generically and apply the underlying principles of all Oracle’s Named User metrics. Bear in mind that each version of the metric, although sharing similarities, also has their own important differences, and that the definition in your license contract is what you should use.
For reference, the various Named User metrics over the years are (in no particular order):
- Named User (based on UPU–calculated minimums)
- Named User (based on Processor–calculated minimums)
- Named User Single Server
- Named User Multi-Server
- Named User Plus
A rose by any other name
The Named User licensing metrics can be without question one of the most cost-effective ways to license Oracle software but to gain the benefits of this model, it is essential to properly control it. However, a poorly monitored Named User license estate can become insufficient or inappropriate to cover actual usage much sooner than you might think.
Oracle’s ultimate stance is that if you cannot accurately measure your Named User population for licensing purposes, you must purchase processor licenses: this can have a significant effect on your expenditure.
So how do you avoid the potentially enormous financial consequences that this represents?
It’s time to get to know this metric properly – let us break it down for you.
What exactly are Named Users?
- By “Named”, Oracle means that you have to know (and track) your ‘users’ and are required to purchase a separate license for each such user. This hints at the critical fact this metric needs management (i.e. you need to be able to ‘name’ your users).
- By “User”, Oracle means any person, application, or device that in any way interacts (or could interact) with the Oracle Software. These “Users” are to be counted at what Oracle calls a multiplexing front end, such as an application server, if it exists. This part of the metric name is key: the license relates to individuals and not servers. Typically, Oracle licensing is thought of and managed as server-orientated: this metric turns this upside down.
Simply put you need to count everyone and everything that accesses the Oracle software regardless of how casual, indirect, or infrequent that interaction is.
Since 2001, there has been a broad array of Named User metrics, varying around aspects like batching, single or multi-server and user minimums (based on the underlying hardware).
The number of regular changes to these metrics and their nuances should be taken as an indication of how much interest they hold for Oracle. It should also be a clue that organisations can benefit from giving this just as much scrutiny, and that they should devote extra attention to understanding how they can make the most of their Named User licenses.
In Part 2: Join me next week and delve further into this metric. We’ll start looking at other factors for Named User licensing, the difference between application users and database accounts as well a few more pitfalls to avoid along the way. Of course, at some point we’ll also have to discuss Oracle’s Named User minimums…
In the meantime, let me know what your experiences are. Have you been having trouble with Named Users? Can you ‘name’ your Named Users if necessary? Do you have any questions which we can integrate into next week’s post? Leave a comment and we’ll get the discussion going!