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Mars Inc. sue Oracle over audit tactics

A mars a day keeps Oracle away

A mars a day keeps Oracle away

The $33BN food giant Mars Inc. took Oracle to court in October.

There is a good coverage and analysis by Dave Welch of House of Brick here:

In short:

  • Oracle offered Mars a ‘Review’
  • Oracle threatened to withdrawal their support contract if Mars didn’t cooperate
  • Use of VMware, the definition of a user and audit tactics were called into question in their 2,000 database environment

In particular take a look at the document below. This is the declaration of Eloise Backer, Commercial Manager at Mars and includes the audit letters, rebuttals and storyboard. It is a case study in Oracle Audit Defence.

The case didn’t get to court. So it appears Oracle on VMware is still untested. Why would they want to unsettle the cash cow?

“I’m sorry that it appears Oracle opted not to appear in court. I’m also not the least bit surprised. In my opinion, Oracle appears interested in trying to see if it can get any more money out of any of its Oracle on VMware customers. It also appears to want to do that without a court’s evaluation.” ~ Dave Welch, House of Brick

What a grim way of treating customers. Time to vote with your feet! VMware are you listening? Time to show a definitive stance and protect your customers.

Dave Welch mentions our ITAM Review discussion thread on how to defend against Oracle on VMware in his analysis. LinkedIn changed their policies last year so our discussions are not public (Yet another reason for starting our new forum).

For those not able to read the LinkedIn thread – it simply says:

How to defend against Oracle on VMware:

I’ve heard of a couple of approaches to this in the last few months:

Ballsy Approach: “Oracle have never taken anyone to court over it, it’s a ridiculous stance and you should tell them to stick it (or words to that effect)”

Defensive Approach: “Isolate Oracle to specific clusters to limit exposure” as per this joke: New versions of Vsphere blow holes a bit in this approach.

Sensible approach: “Get your requirements and usage of VMware defined in the Oracle contract. Don’t sign it and give them business unless it suits your requirements”.

I’ve opened up a new forum thread here (Anonymous if you want it to be). What could Mars have done to avoid this? What can other organizations do to prevent this dispute? Please add your comments or experiences for the benefit of others. Thanks! ~ Martin

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. Michael says:

    What Oracle DB alternatives are there coming up like Tibero? There are some compatible alternatives that are license compatible with VMWare. Is it worthwhile publishing these to start putting Oracle under pressure?

    Is there an Apache project to come up with various compatible alternatives?

  2. […] some of the most notorious audit cases make newspaper headlines. The same goes […]

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