Virtualization and Oracle Licensing: The Impact on Compliance

May 12, 2014

Life is never simple. With the current trend towards reducing the number of physical servers through Virtualization, cost-benefit analysis exercises generally focus on CPU/Memory/Disk utilization improvements, ower savings, server room footprint reduction, and increased management efficiencies. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to examine the impact on their software licenses.

The Virtualization Licensing Trap

A very common scenario is one where the Oracle Infrastructure is moved from a single 4 socket server into a Virtual Machine configured with similar memory and CPU resources that mimic the original server. This is where it becomes dangerous.

If this Virtual Machine is running on a clustered blade server with 16 CPU’s, you are legally obligated to meet the minimum licensing requirement for all CPU’s in the cluster – regardless of how the Oracle VM is configured. This may not seem fair but the fact that all CPU’s are theoretically available to the Oracle environment mandates that all CPU’s be licensed.

What can make this situation worse is if your original Oracle Server was licensed for Standard Edition (SE). The fact that you’ve moved to a hardware infrastructure that exceeds the 4 physical socket maximum for SE means that you must now purchase Enterprise Edition licenses. The additional licensing costs can be staggering.

There Are Solutions

Needless to say, there are solutions available. If you have not yet purchased your virtualization platform, talk to us first about the savings that can be achieved through the use of Oracle servers or engineered systems. Also consider the use of Oracle VM as opposed to VMware. Oracle VM is an enterprise class virtualization solution that offers the following advantages over VMware:

  • Lower Cost:
    • Oracle VM is free to use, download, and distribute
    • Low yearly support fees
    • Support is included with Oracle’s Sun x86 systems support
  • Integrated Management:
    • Single tool to manage the hypervisor, operating system, and database
    • Single source for support of your entire Oracle software stack
  • Scalable:
    • Support for 128 vCPUs in each virtual machine
    • Fully scalable with your Oracle software
    • Supports both x86 and SPARC platforms

At the very least, let us help ensure that your Oracle licensing position remains compliant when any new architecture is deployed. Contact DesTech before making any purchases. We can provide you with the various options available to ensure you achieve your organization’s virtualization goals while maximizing your savings in both upfront and ongoing costs.

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