Licensing Oracle in a virtual future – Part 2

by Senior Licence Consultant Paul Bullen

Last time we looked at the current state of virtualisation and the flexibility of Oracle virtual licensing. Today we’ll delve into the physical nature of Oracle’s virtual licensing policies and find out if there are any real benefits to this licensing model.

The physical nature of Oracle

Instead of dealing with virtual processors or virtual machines, Oracle requires the physical processors (generally obfuscated to Oracle administrators) to be licensed. This undoes some of the cost saving benefits of virtualisation, and means that administrators need to consider the total physical resources and not virtual machines when estimating licensing costs.

As Oracle’s technology licensing is still based on physical processors; it is imperative that you understand fully the relationship between hardware, architecture, services and products in use. This requires a combined effort.

Oracle administrators can no longer manage all this without the on-going input of a server administrator: virtual servers are often ‘mobile’ or their resource allocation is dynamic and this needs on-going tracking. Therefore, your server administrators also need to understand the impact that the flexibility of virtualisation can have upon Oracle licensing.

Finally, another benefit (often overlooked) of virtualisation is the ability to copy virtual machines easily, which means a new server can be provisioned within a very short time. This copied server would have a copy of all the original server software and this of course could have an impact on Oracle licensing.

Before virtualisation, physical hardware provisioning followed by installation of Oracle software, taking a number of days or weeks, would typically have triggered software procurement or licensing processors. With a simple copy of a server, this convoluted process disappears and takes minutes.

Never before has it been so easy to have a ‘standard image’ of an Oracle server deployed rapidly. Therefore, you have to be confident you are tracking deployment of Oracle software accurately and that your administrators fully appreciate the consequences of such a simple action.

The virtual silver lining

Oracle still has a long way to go to being considered virtualisation-friendly, but there are intelligent ways of implementing its technology solutions that will help to ensure the best balance between the virtualisation benefits and the cost of licensing.

The best way to adopt virtualisation for Oracle is to have an understanding of which technologies are recognised by Oracle. In addition, you should also familiarise yourself with the optimal way to deploy Oracle on virtualised servers in order to leverage benefits against the cost of Oracle licensing.

Understanding all the complexities of Oracle licensing in a non-virtualised environment is hard enough for most IT departments. Adding virtualisation to your Oracle estate has huge service and utilisation benefits but only serves to complicate licensing further. However, help is at hand. Rocela’s expert consultants have a deep knowledge of Oracle licensing on all vendor’s virtualisation as well as an excellent understanding of the technologies and how they work. It’s for this reason that our services are able to offer in-depth advice about licensing whilst understanding your end goals—reducing costs, improving utilisation and optimising your license estate.


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