September 2, 2011 Leave a comment
(By Tam Kyle, The third part of our close look at Oracle On Demand and how to make it work for your business)
So far, we have discussed how On Demand is provided, how the services are supported and how it’s licensed. We considered the impacts of additional resources and modifications on your license entitlement and in the process, uncovered some potential ‘gotcha’s’!
When you purchased your licenses – and here I mean the Oracle E-Business Licenses (this isn’t specific to On Demand incidentally – it’s relevant to most Oracle E-Business Suite purchases), you will have done so under an overarching Oracle License and Services Agreement – the so called OLSA.
In this document (or sometimes attached separately) there will be a set of license terms and definitions. Buried somewhere deep in these, will be a statement noting that you are responsible for ensuring that a set of restrictions are not violated.
What is the OLSA?
One of these innocuous looking clauses states that you promise to abide by the Application Licensing prerequisites as specified in the Applications Licensing Table. So what? Well, the application Licensing table is a separate document (unfortunately usually provided via hyperlink!) intrinsically connected to your contract.
Importantly, it states your liability in the event of alteration to the middleware or technology components of the Oracle E-Business modules. If, for instance you have added tables to your instance then you’ll probably need to license the database AND the middleware application server.
Now, don’t think because you’re running your service at On Demand that this protects you from this liability – ‘Oracle made the changes’, you shout. Yes, maybe so, but they made them on your behalf. Someone at your company wanted them to be made, and somebody somewhere signed a contract that said you’d be happy to bear the consequences of such an action.
And here’s the rub – if you’re using On Demand at Oracle’s data centres, then they know exactly what’s been altered and how much it’s going to cost you. After all, they provide the infrastructure!
You get what you pay for?
So, you’ve paid for the Oracle E-Business Suite licenses, you’ve paid for the Oracle On Demand Licenses, you’ve paid for the Oracle On Demand resources (storage, environments, VPNs and so on), and you might now be paying for Oracle database and Oracle middleware licenses, based on a technology footprint that’s owned by Oracle!
Furthermore, are you (or the DBAs at OOD) utilising Enterprise management packs to monitor the instances? Do you know if your contract allows these to be used without additional cost considerations?
Don’t get me wrong, even though that sounds like a hefty payment to one vendor, it may well be attractive compared to in-house provision, particularly in the case of an SME who just doesn’t have the resources available to provide high end Financial or HCM functionality on their own. Just be aware of what you’re potentially getting into. Oracle holds practically all the cards here. You can’t hide the Oracle infrastructure footprint (and you shouldn’t) – because it isn’t yours.
What to do
So what do you do about it? Sometimes, in a situation when a business case is being written, the implications of a future modification might not be obvious, especially when those implications might be buried deep in contractual documentation hidden in a filing cabinet in a procurement department somewhere.
And don’t blame the Oracle guys providing your day to day operational support – they’ll probably be DBAs, server and storage technicians just trying to do their job and the likelihood is that they’ll be several layers removed from the costing implications of OOD.
No, what you need is to be armed up front – be aware of the FULL cost implications of making a decision to go On Demand. Speak to your potential On Demand Service Manager, and your Oracle Account Manager, and make sure that they know that you want to be fully briefed on any and all cost impacts – in advance of them happening.
At the moment, many clients are going through migrations to Oracle E-Business Suite R12 – this seems to have triggered a hive of license impact activity.
So, be aware – have the conversations, make sure you’re well prepared. Alternatively, speak to us. We’ll help you navigate the license minefield, or at least understand the impact.
Next time, we’ll delve a bit deeper into the implications of those Oracle E-Business modifications – whether you’re hosted at OOD or not.