Many enterprise organisations rely on Oracle products to run their businesses.
With Oracle’s complex and constantly changing licence rules, as well as, the difficulty of discovering Oracle databases/middleware deployed on the network and Datacentres, it can be hard to have complete confidence in your compliance status. This is heightened if Oracle announces an audit.
LMS Review Lite Scripts are Oracle’s endorsed method of collecting data which they use for audit and contract renewals. These scripts are installed on each Oracle Database server and produce many separate files containing reference information on the database instances, their underlying virtual/physical CPU infrastructure and the database option packs deployed and used.
There are several substantial challenges in the use of these scripts though, quite aside from the change and security permissions necessary to get them deployed in the first place.
Collectively, the script outputs contain all the information needed to assess licensing demand for Oracle Database products.
However, the files are effectively not human readable without deep knowledge of Oracle licensing and the scripts themselves.
What are the challenges with the LMS Review Scripts?
- You don’t feel you want to send the files directly to Oracle, as this gives them complete control and interpretation of your demand position. Yet you must send them, as this is a requirement of the audit.
- Considerable licensing and technical experience is required to interpret the files manually.
- A large amount of analyst labour is required to interpret them, especially for larger estates.
- It takes longer to interpret them than Oracle gives you in an audit situation.
- You have no ability to optimise your position prior to submission.
Conclusion – GEAR 1 – Oracle Licensing Demand Assessment Service
ITAMS have developed our GEAR 1 service which utilises in-house technology to process any volume of LMS script outputs quickly and cost-effectively into a human-readable demand statement.
We maintain this technology to enable the interpretation of all versions of the Review Lite scripts. The solution is low cost, highly secure and completely confidential.
You can use this capability on a one-off basis as a service or extend the service to run regular reports from new datasets on an ongoing basis.
This means, that you will know in advance what information Oracle has to work with in preparing their audit position.
A common misconception by employees is that Opensource, Freeware and Trialware can be freely downloaded (where a user has admin rights) into the corporate environment as and when an employee sees fit, as it does not incur a cost to the company to do so.
So there’s no issue right?
Please note this is an update to our previous blog: Microsoft Teases Us with Windows Server 2016 Licensing Details
When Microsoft Windows Server 2016 was introduced the licence metric changed from processor to physical cores.
Find out some of the key ‘gotchas’ you need to be aware of.
If you need help with your Microsoft Windows licensing why not join us on our Microsoft Training courses:
ELP stands for Effective Licence Position and is related to a specific software vendor or product.
Being able to create an ELP is fundamental to keeping on top of your product compliance for audit defence and to support ongoing SAM activities such as optimisation and cost control.
Have you considered what the potential effects on your software licensing costs could be following the UK’s decision to leave the EU?
This blog looks at some of the key considerations you need to take into account following this historic decision.
Organisations moving towards a more virtualised environment have a number of decisions to make.
There are several ways to purchase Adobe products via a Volume type agreement and it is important to know your options and the key differences before a purchase is made.
Microsoft is turning Windows Server 2016 into a cloud optimised server and System Center 2016 into management of traditional datacenter management and cloud environments. As a result, significant licensing changes are expected.
SAM Market Trends – are you caught in the wave?
ITAMS’ specialist licensing consultants Monica & Adriana share some insight into how the Software Asset Management (SAM) market is changing, what this means to SAM providers and why end-users should not steer too far from the main principles of SAM.
“Having worked for several years in Oracle and now within ITAMS’ Oracle team, we are now in a great position to share a few thoughts with you, based on our experience working with both vendors and clients alike.
Without a doubt, the core strategy of a large software publisher is focused on revenue and not on achieving compliance for its end-users. In a large organisation, the need for a SAM process exists but the allocation of dedicated resources is not always covered. For this specific reason, SAM providers have emerged on the market and are here to help. However, things are not as simple as you might imagine.
Changes in the SAM industry have meant that organisations have started to spend a lot of money moving to new licensing models (that are vendor driven), and that are fast becoming “flavour of the month”. For example, let’s take the Cloud licensing model, which is suitable for a fully integrated service or when replacing an existing on premises software solution. The downside to moving to this type of licensing model is that if you‘re already tied into a licence term, you may need to re-invest in new licences.
Managing Software Assets has developed from a tactical fix into a strategic imperative. Even though IT budgets have remained flat, software spend continues to grow in terms of its percentage share of the overall IT budget.
SAM represents a business practice that involves managing and optimising the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilisation, and disposal of software assets within an organisation. Furthermore, it enables an organisation to better understand the hierarchical ranking of software products from a vendor management perspective, as well as help it to make targeted software investments to support its strategic objectives. This being said the goals of SAM are to optimise IT costs, limit operational, financial, and legal risk related to the ownership and use of software.
So what should you do?
Firstly, you need to understand your software estate. So, what software licenses do you have, are they being fully utilised and are there any licences that are not being used and is there any software that is required?
In other words you need to be pretty sure about your organisation’s licensing position and especially with those vendors that consume the majority of your software licensing budget. There’s always going to be inconsistencies unless you keep an eagle eye on your estate. Once thing’s for sure though, with compliance comes responsibility. This being said, assess your current and future needs and act accordingly.
In a world in which SaaS (Software as a Service) and Cloud based software/licensing models are growing, one may be tempted to think that it could be the end of SAM as we know it. However, in our opinion, it’s the contrary. SAM will continue to prove its value as there are multiple reasons for investing in SAM services, in particular the necessity to manage user accounts, data and subscriptions.
Despite the fact that for many organisations the concept of “software asset management” (SAM) has largely been driven by the pressures of software license compliance, it is now widely agreed that SAM has become a vital business practice. Tracking software using excel spreadsheets is no longer the norm, with a significant number of growing companies now using key technologies to help them not only discover IT and software assets but also to track and manage assets over their lifetime.
Coming back to SaaS and Cloud licensing models, organisations must be aware of potential non-compliance situations arising from for example, accessing software from territories that are not included in the license rights, sharing user accounts or providing access to third parties and contractors to whom such access is prohibited.
To conclude, the best option for organisations at the moment is to explore what SAM services are out there. Initiate contact with a SAM provider, set a realistic yet effective and achievable framework of activity, taking into consideration the unique constraints of your organisation, existing tools and capabilities. Ensure you select an impartial partner, most probably one that does not resell software nor where interests blend. But, before you engage with a SAM partner, stop and ask yourself what does prevail, your requirements or those of your potential partner?”
For more information please contact ITAMS.
ITAMS’ Oracle licensing team provide an overview on Pool of Funds agreements.
For several years, Oracle has had an active policy to increase the number of Unlimited Licence Agreements (ULAs) signed with customers globally. This type of agreement is not something new, as some of the companies Oracle acquired previously have also used it.
For example, BEA Systems, (before its acquisition), used to offer their customers the possibility to buy licences using AYCE (All You Can Eat) agreements, these were replaced by Oracle ULAs, and PPBD (Prepaid Burn Down) agreements which are now, more or less, Oracle Pool of Funds (PoF).
Oracle decided to diminish the risk of letting customers choose the licences they wanted to use from the software listed in their ULA agreements, re-introducing the so called PoF agreements.
During the past year, the number of PoFs have increased and now, more and more ULA agreements take the shape of a PoF agreement.
So what exactly are Pool of Funds?
The Oracle PoF is a special type of licence agreement. In return for paying an upfront licence fee, end users get the right to deploy a mix of a pre-defined software against a fixed price, for a limited amount of time, until they reach the invested amount. If we refer to the initial agreements (ULAs) from which PoFs are derived, the conclusion is that Oracle dropped the option to select unlimited quantities (which is applicable only for ULAs) for the PoF agreements. This means that they can now, better handle any customers that are using large amounts of software, eliminating the risk of them using more software than what was initially paid for.
Customers must be re-assured that almost all the terms of a PoF deal are negotiable. The larger the company, the higher the discounts they will receive. Nothing is fixed, so more products can be included in the deal and the usage area can be expanded from a certain country to worldwide coverage. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration for this type of deal and they depend on the specific needs of the end-users.
Besides the licence fee, a customer must also pay for annual technical support based on the full PoF credit during each year of the PoF period and beyond. In addition, the PoF ordering document will specify a “Total Support Stream,” which the customer must maintain throughout the PoF period in order to keep the right to burn down the PoF credit until it is exhausted or the PoF period expires. Any failure to maintain the Total Support Stream will result in an early termination of the PoF period, and the customer must immediately declare licences in accordance with the contract conditions.
The Total Support Stream will include:
- Existing licences for the software programs that are included in the PoF agreement.
- All support for new licences included in the PoF agreement.
- Licences for the software programs that are included in the PoF owned by companies that are acquired by the end-user during the PoF agreement period.
- New licences for the software programs as included in the agreement, and as acquired against a price hold, after the signature date of the PoF agreement.
Usually, customers that have an active Pool of Funds agreement are contractually requested to provide periodical usage reports which are called “Licence Declaration Reports” (the standard term is every 6 months but this may vary from customer to customer). In this way Oracle is using the information from the report and updating their repository with the quantities provided.
An important fact is that, at the end of the contractual period, any unused licence credit will NOT be reimbursed; however, if at any time throughout the contractual period a client’s deployment worth exceeds the initial net credit, a new payment is due.
Furthermore, having a Pool of Funds deal doesn’t mean that Oracle will not conduct an audit during the term of the agreement in order to validate that the declared software listed in the Licence Declaration Report is complete and accurate. That is why our recommendation to customers that own PoF agreements is, to keep track of all licence records internally and if possible, use relevant SAM tools and support services that will ease their efforts.