Oracle software, like most enterprise software, is expensive and requires expertise for proper management. Managing Oracle software from a licensing and compliance perspective is difficult and complicated – even for seasoned experts. More importantly, Oracle has no interest (or benefit!) in making it easier for its customers. You can install Oracle software without needing any keys or activation procedures. Sometimes premium features are installed by default. Other times, all it takes is casually agreeing to a dialogue box during installation, and that installs or triggers a new licensable feature. You may be exporting data and decided to compress it to make it faster and bingo…you just triggered another expensive licensable feature!
If not managed carefully, anyone in any department may deploy Oracle software without restriction and put your business at risk of being non-compliant to the tune of millions of dollars.
The moment a customer starts deploying Oracle software, they risk sliding down the slippery slope into non-compliance. From a software licensing perspective, that simply means that you are consuming more licenses than you own (are entitled to). Even if things seem simple, the risk of non-compliance with Oracle licensing is ever-present. Upgrade a machine, increase the socket count, virtualize, add a few clusters, change your DR scheme, or do any number of other changes to your Oracle environment, and you could be non-compliant by a whole lot. Should Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) send you a friendly audit letter, you will be in hot water. The scariest part, though, is that customers being audited by Oracle’s LMS team typically have absolutely no idea if they are non-compliant, or by how much.
Maintaining compliance with regards to your Oracle licensing is difficult, but certainly not impossible. Understanding your contract, maintaining a well thought out Software Asset Management (SAM) program around Oracle software, conducting routine self-assessments, and making sure your organization understands the fundamentals of Oracle licensing can go a long way in keeping you compliant and out of trouble.
Sometimes, the situation can be complicated and a business’s senior management may not be so sure of its compliance position – and therefore it’s legal and financial exposure. It’s best to have a reliable and dependable partner (like Redwood Compliance’s team of ex-Oracle LMS auditors) on your side to avoid surprises and be fully aware of the situation.