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Why Oracle License Management requires a different approach

Avoid unnecessary costs

Avoid unnecessary costs

Oracle is a key software publisher in the datacentre and for many organizations represents a large proportion of their software spend and an essential part of their IT infrastructure.

Taking the right approach to Oracle licensing is vital; a poorly managed estate can expose a company to significant risk of audit and financial exposure. An audit from Oracle or any other software publisher is time consuming, distracts IT staff from the delivery of services and key projects and worst of all can results in unbudgeted costs.

The usual reconciliation of installs versus purchase history does not apply with Oracle licensing – a different approach is required.

Although Oracle is an acquisitive company and owns a vast array of different software products in its portfolio such as PeopleSoft, Siebel and Sun; Oracle database licensing still remains the most difficult to manage and carries the most risk of audit and exposure.

Understanding the differences

There are three significant differences between managing Oracle database licensing and other traditional software license programs:

1)   Oracle is usually difficult to find in large company networks compared to traditional executable files types used to identify other software titles. Special scripts or tools are required to discover instances of Oracle databases.

2)   The hardware specification and power of the hardware of the machine being used to run the Oracle database is an important factor in how licensing is calculated.

3)   How the Oracle database is configured is also important. In particular what options and packs have been switched on to enhance the Oracle database.

Missing these configurations can have an immediate impact on costs. The same database could have vastly different license costs depending on the hardware being used to host it or the options and packs utilized.

Organizations should also be careful when managing Oracle databases in virtual environments. For example Oracle do not recognize soft partitions in VMware environments. Oracle databases are licensed based on what hardware they ‘might’ have access to, rather than any soft partition. More details on Oracle Database licensing and partitioning can be found on the Oracle License Management Services (LMS) website.

Starting with Oracle License Management

When first starting to explore Oracle License Management it is useful to begin with the Oracle Server Worksheet. The data required to populate this sheet, used by Oracle to accept deployment declarations from clients, will demonstrate the key data fields required to manage Oracle. Key fields include:

  • Database details: Server name, Instance name, Edition installed, version, options used
  • Application details: Application name, Environment type, Architecture, users
  • Server details: Make and model, Number of processors, chip speed, virtual environment and so on.

As well as the technical configuration details it is also useful to keep a record of who owns the database within the business and what purpose it serves, this can speed up the reconciliation process in the future and help you better understand the use of Oracle within the IT infrastructure and changes likely in the future.

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About Peter Bjorkman

Peter is a software and Web entrepreneur with 20 years in the business and more than 15 years of experience in designing and developing software products. As the CTO at Snow Software, he is responsible for the overall roadmap, architecture and design of the Snow Software product line.


  1. Petr Silhan says:

    I do agree with the article, but I am not sure about possible automation at the moment. Let’s thing about Windows Servers virtualized using VMWare and Hyper-V. High availability clusters with different physical hardware and SQL Server (with its passive instance) accessed by multiple users with User/Device CAL’s and even multiplexing. Quite challenging for automation?
    Now you can add Oracle database run on Unix and SAP to your environment…

    My conclusion would be SAM Managers may automate as much tasks as possible, but still have a lot of day-to-day routine tasks…

  2. Matt Fisher says:

    Petr, I think in general we would agree that automation can only go so far. But we’d also stress just how much of an improvement is currently on offer that many organizations are not taking advantage of. Many (if not most) organizations are largely blind to their actual (as opposed to presumed) Oracle usage. That leaves them open to all sorts of unnecessary risks. By making it easier to collect and collate the right data, organizations can realize significant savings, albeit with some legwork still to be done.

  3. Andre says:


    Awesome article. A complete whole new perspective for a challenge that surround us everyday.

    Congrats for your sharp minded vision and way to express your thoughts in a so clearly way.



  4. joette narcisse says:

    Thought-provoking comments . I loved the points . Does anyone know where my business might get access to a template CUT0068-4S copy to complete ?

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