February 7, 2011 Leave a comment
Having recently joined Rocela after a lucky 13 years in the Software Asset Management (SAM) business, Martin asked me to put a few thoughts on paper about what makes Oracle SAM different to the rest of the software industry.
With my experience handling everything from the Millennium Bug to the Cloud, I’ve seen my fair share of software assets managed but when it comes to Optimising Oracle, it really is in a league of its own.
Here are my top five reasons why:
1. The costs are enormous
When you’re looking at a flagship product with a unit cost of over £30,000 per processor, this immediately puts Oracle deployments into a different league of investment. The more efficient you can be, the more units you can cut down on and the greater the cost savingon the bottom line. Reduce how many copies of MS Office you need and you save thousands, optimise your Oracle deployment and you’re on a different scale.
2. Oracle Corporation – more than just a database company
When I first started, Oracle was just a very, very good database company. Thirteen years on, and over 60 acquisitions later, Oracle is in a very serious group of vendors offering solutions at every level of the technology stack. What’s more, every level has different licensing rules and metrics, meaning the SAM manager needs to keep an eye on announcements and acquisitions to gauge the impact on their compliance position.
3. Licensing doesn’t get any more complex
Oracle’s range of licensing metrics is legendary – there are now over 70 variations. But where it differs from other publishers is its ability to offer bespoke pricing based on business metrics.
The options for licensing the database technology by ‘processor’ or ‘named user’ are well known but move away from the database level and it’s easy to get confused. For instance,
‘named users’, ‘application users’ and ‘employees’ are all very similar-sounding metrics but with very different implications. Oracle will consider almost any metric (providing it can be tracked) – even on odd occasions the likes of number of airplanes or hotel beds.
And all this is before we even get started delving into the joy of ULAs!
4. You can’t beat a human touch (but automate what you can)
SAM practitioners spend an awful lot of time discovering and cataloguing data. I am a massive supporter of automated discovery as it offers consistent,swift, fresh data. However, there will always be the need for a ‘human touch’ to interpret the contract details and collect usage data which cannot be picked up by scanning servers. We look forward to the SAM tools community adding more functionality to reconcile licensing metrics for named users and business metrics – until then, it’s a DIY job.
5. There’s more to lose if you get it wrong