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Miro Consulting specializes in software license audit defense, license management, subscription management, and cloud services, for Oracle, Microsoft & IBM.

7 Signs of an IBM Audit

Do you recognize the signs of an IBM audit? These 7 Signs of an IBM audit are red flags that you should recognize.

  1. You Get a Letter Introducing KPMG or Deloitte

    These are two of the “Big 4” accounting firms that manage the actual software license audit process on behalf of IBM.  IBM refers to them as, “third party independent auditors”.  Keep in mind that when it comes to their “independence,” these firms are paid by IBM for their services.

  2. IBM Software Review

    In this case, “review” is what IBM calls an audit.  Like Microsoft and other software vendors, IBM has begun referring to their software audits as “reviews.”  This nomenclature change is meant to lull clients into a false sense of security.

  3. You Spoke To a Reseller

    Like a good software asset manager, you did your research and spoke to a reseller about making a purchase to stay in compliance.  Ultimately, you decided that you were in compliance and did not buy any additional licenses or products.  Unfortunately, IBM resellers have a “snitch clause” in their contracts which require them to report any possible out-of-compliance situations they uncover directly to IBM.  So, if IBM thinks you may be out of compliance based on that conversation, you have a significant chance of triggering an audit.

  4. IBM wants to “educate” you

    One way IBM tries to initiate a discussion around what software you’re using, and what you may not be fully licensed to use, is by disguising that discussion as an “education” experience.  IBM will want to increase your “awareness” of their compliance policies. It’s a great way for IBM to ask you questions about your environment, but make it look like it’s about educating, not evaluating your compliance.

  5. Not Running ILMT

    Some organizations reach out to IBM because they’re having trouble installing or running ILMT or BigFix.  If you’re not running one or the other, IBM will assume that you don’t have a complete picture of your environment, and are likely out of compliance.

  6. IBM Wants to “Help” You

    Your IBM rep has taken a newfound interest in your organization’s challenges and opportunities with software.  Make no mistake—they’re not looking to help you be more successful.  IBM wants to know if you are having trouble managing your software assets, making you an ideal audit candidate.  They also want to know what new software you might be able to use to solve your issues.  It’s a double opportunity to extract more revenue from you.

  7. Virtualization Questions Start Coming

    Many IBM customers save significantly on their budgets by running IBM software in a sub-capacity model, but virtualization can make staying in compliance more difficult.  If they find out you’re not running ILMT, you are practically guaranteed to be out of compliance.  Either way, virtualization questions are a sure sign that IBM has targeted you. Take caution.

Learn more by downloading our IBM Audit Defense Guide. Miro is the leading IBM audit defense specialist and original software audit defense company. We’re 100% independent from IBM and can confidentially advise you and your organization regarding IBM software licenses, software audits, and compliance. Contact us today.

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5 Things Oracle No Longer Offers in 2017

5 Things Oracle No Longer Offers in 2017If your renewal is coming up soon and you were planning on using one of these, you may need to change your plans.  Here are 5 things that Oracle no longer offers in 2017:

1. Priceholds:

Priceholds used to be the “bread and butter” of Oracle offerings, but are now quite uncommon. Besides being rare, their benefits are constricted, having a limited scope (in terms of applicable products) and limited discounts on subsequent procurements.

2. Limited Use:

Many Oracle products have the potential to be limited to selective areas, such as Development or Testing, or with license packs having split usage. Now, it is far less common for Oracle to grant these permissions, due to increasing complexity with licensing rules and utilization methods.

3. Primary Usage:

Practically a fossil in the digital age, Primary Usage has not been offered for more than a decade, despite still being in use in some environments. Primary usage allows for individuals who utilize a single application for the majority of their work, to also utilize other applications defined within a Primary Usage set, while not having to be licensed independently.

4. VMware Licensing by Cluster:

Prior to VMware’s vSphere 5.x, Oracle would accept an ESX cluster as the smallest licensing boundary by default for a cluster of servers running Oracle products. However, with the later versions of vSphere Oracle has increased such default licensing boundaries to the vCenter or greater.

5. Not Considering the Oracle Cloud:

If you’re an Oracle client, they’ve probably already contacted you about trying Oracle Cloud services.  What you might not know is that Oracle has recently made changes which make running Oracle on other companies clouds twice as expensive as running on Oracle’s Cloud.  Since cloud services are now a huge focus of Oracle’s sales efforts, you can be assured that their sales reps will want to discuss it with you.  If you are considering moving some applications to the cloud, Miro can help you understand your options to get the outcome that matches your needs.

Please contact us for more information.

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Top 5 Questions When Considering an Oracle ULA

Oracle-ULA1. How well do I understand my organization’s environment?

The first step in considering an Oracle ULA is knowing what is currently owned by your organization, as well as what may be changed in the next three to four years. This knowledge builds the foundation for considering an Oracle ULA, and alternative license engagements.

 

2. How well does my IT department communicate its uses and needs?

While a ULA may attempt to be an “all-you-can-eat” agreement, Oracle ULAs require a list of specific products that are expected to be deployed. The specific products being deployed will correlate with the cost of the agreement. Ensure the ULA is efficiently utilized by understanding what products need to be deployed vs. non-essentials , and avoid underuse.

 

3. How does the use of external Third-Party Cloud environments impact my ULA?

How do you plan on utilizing Cloud environments during and after a proposed ULA term. The standard ULA agreement language does not allow a client to allocate licenses against a Cloud environment at the time of certification, so plans post-ULA certification must be considered ahead of time for the best contract negotiation strategy

 

4. Is the cost justified by the utilization?

This may seem like a fairly straight forward question when looking at the isolated price of a point-in-time analysis. However, without taking into account a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s current license ownership, future IT roadmap, or landmark changes, a ULA could go from an ideal agreement to a costly over-spend.

 

5. Does my organization have mergers or acquisitions planned?

If you have a large merger or acquisition in progress, or the leadership plans on positioning the company for such, a ULA can go from a viable agreement to a costly renegotiation. Such changes can jeopardize the initial benefit of the ULA, or in some cases, present difficult roadblocks and risks during the merger and acquisition process. The mergers and acquisition portion of ULA contracts is the most customized section.

 

Oracle ULA Experts

It’s critically important for organizations to right-size their Oracle ULA.  Over-spending on products and licenses that aren’t actually required can significantly increase costs, while under-spending can lead to license shortfalls and large penalties during software audits.  To find out how to customize your Oracle ULA so that it’s perfect for your organization, contact us and Miro’s licensing experts can help you achieve an ideal outcome.

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Oracle License Grandfathering option for AWS & Azure

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Update – August 23, 2017:

Oracle LMS Rejects Grandfathering of Licenses

We expected caveats to any grandfathering rules, but not a complete turnaround. However, that is what has apparently occurred. We were researching with Oracle some very specific grandfathering questions for a client. After several months, yes months, Oracle License Management Services stated that there would be no grandfathering option when it came to pre-Jan 23, 2017 Oracle license purchases that had been allocated to AWS environments that were in place prior to Jan 23, 2017.

Oracle would indeed consider such a client out of compliance now, even though they were considered compliant prior to Jan 23, 2017. We have yet to see a client environment with the above mentioned conditions dealing with a recent Oracle Audit. However, since many people depend on our advice, we wanted to update everyone with the latest information on this topic. If you wish to understand your options more fully, then please contact Miro Consulting.”

Original Report:

Miro has important news for organizations looking to move their Oracle assets to a non-Oracle cloud like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft’s Azure. Oracle had recently announced in January that certain standard implementations of Oracle database products on other clouds would cost twice as much in licensing as running the same Oracle product on Oracle’s cloud.

Licensing experts at Miro have learned that the doubling of costs does not apply to all on premise licenses moved to the cloud. Moving on premise licenses to the cloud does not necessarily trigger the double cost.

Licenses purchased before Jan 23, 2017 do not necessarily double license requirement if deployed on a non-Oracle cloud. These licenses can be “grandfathered” into non-Oracle clouds, so organizations won’t have to pay the increased costs as they would on new Oracle licenses.  There can be caveats to managing such a “grandfathering”, so assumptions of license compliance should not be made.

Additionally, Miro has learned that Oracle will allow some support maintenance payments to be used for Oracle cloud purchase. Clients that have supported spare on-prem licenses can apply the cost of the unused support cost towards a new Cloud subscription. However, the full subscription cost must be at least 200% of the support cost that is being shelved.

Miro can assist you in understanding whether investing in a Cloud solution is strategic for your Oracle environment. Please contact us for more information.

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This Type of Hybrid Environment Just Got Dangerous

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UK judge rules in favor of SAP against Diageo’s PLC for using a standard cloud connection

Background
Diageo PLC is the world’s largest producer of alcoholic spirits, with brands like Smirnoff and Johnny Walker. They paid SAP about $70M for use of the mySAP Business Suite, which included licensing and maintenance fees. SAP had sued Diageo for violations of the contract, and a UK judge decided the case in SAP’s favor, awarding SAP an additional $67M, essentially doubling Diageo’s costs.

The Issue
Diageo used SAP’s native APIs to connect its systems to a Salesforce instance. Since Diageo was licensed to use the API, they assumed that such a configuration was authorized by the contract, but SAP disagreed. According to SAP, those Diageo Salesforce users should have been considered as “named users” because they had “indirect access” to data stored in SAP systems.

Lessons Learned

  1.  An API License may not cover users who connect through it. Organizations who use APIs to connect various business systems should do a thorough investigation of those APIs, and their licensing contracts, to determine if this interpretation of a “named user” and “indirect access” puts them out of compliance.
  2. Litigation may not be the best option. Involving legal teams and going to trial is a high risk / high cost decision. Negotiation can be a far better tactic, involving less risk and less cost. Technical consultants (like Miro), can often achieve settlements of pennies on the dollar, by working directly with the vendor to achieve an outcome acceptable to both parties.
  3.  Many Vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft and IBM also consider API connected users to be “named users” and may also consider similar situations to this as being out of compliance.

If you’re concerned about your state of compliance, want a review of your licenses or are being audited by a software or hardware vendor, Miro can help reduce or completely eliminate your out-of-compliance penalties, and negotiate terms and conditions that will keep you safe. Contact Miro today for a brief chat about your environment.

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The 7 Most Common Oracle Support Management Mistakes

Managing Oracle Support contracts is costing your organization time and resources that may be better spent elsewhere.

1. Overpayment of fees

It’s easy to accidentally over pay for support fees if each line item isn’t carefully reviewed. Errors can be made in the costs from year to year. To avoid overpaying, organizations must meticulously check every detail of the contract.

2. Submitting incorrect contracts

There is no verification when uploading POs. This can lead to accidentally renewing a contract which needs revision. Organizations should carefully review all POs and contracts before anything is renewed to assure they are properly submitted.

3. Contract termination due to missed support renewal dates

Missing a renewal date can cause major issues and come with significant costs for an organization. Oracle can terminate contracts if they are not renewed in time. There are costly penalties to clients in the form of reinstatement fees. It is vital for IT asset management teams to assure contracts are renewed in a timely manner, or contract outside experts to manage the process.

4. Missed opportunities for additional discounts, migration and upgrades

Clients often miss opportunities for upgrades, migrations, and/or bundling discounts. Experts like Miro can review and inform clients of options available prior to renewal.

5. Inefficient contract management

It is very difficult to manage 20-30 support contracts with sporadic due dates. Miro can customize the renewals and renewal invoices for our clients to align contracts to a singular, or multiple due dates to assure contracts are managed efficiently and easily. Miro can also assist with charge backs given our ability to bundle or un-bundle line items from renewals.

6. Missing cost allocation

It can be difficult to allocate costs to specific departments, especially if the multiple departments have pulled funds and purchased licenses at a single point in time. Miro can identify and customize renewals so clients can easily allocate renewal costs to the proper departments.

7. Not evaluating 3rd party support options or possible cloud options

Many clients are unaware there are companies offering third party support. These companies usually offer support at a much lower cost than Oracle and generally offer a higher level of customer service. The drawback is you lose the rights to bug fixes, upgrades, etc. There are also opportunities to upgrade to cloud offerings that can capitalize on your on-premise investment.

Miro can prevent these common mistakes.

Leveraging 17 years of experience solving Oracle Support issues, we may turn your Oracle Support renewals from an expensive hassle to an easy turn-key operation. We handle everything including contract preparation, negotiation and cost allocation.

Contact Miro to schedule a brief 15 minute phone call to learn how your organization can save significant time, money and effort by letting Miro manage the process for you.

Please call us at 732.738.8511 x1208 to quickly determine your support savings potential.

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AWS Cloud Crash Shows Why Some IT Assets Should Stay On-Premise

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud located in the company’s Virginia data center crashed on February 28, 2017, causing many of the largest sites and apps on the internet to slow or stop working entirely.  Amazon referred to the incident as an “increased error rate” at the time and has now traced the issue to a mistyped command by an Amazon employee.

The outage highlights what many cloud vendors don’t want their clients to know, that some assets are actually better kept on-premise.  While the cloud may be extremely beneficial to certain applications and technologies, others are ill suited or currently impossible to move to a cloud environment.

Without careful planning of cloud migrations, organizations can lose substantial value in their previous investments in hardware and application licenses & subscriptions as they develop their future strategies.  Opportunities for substantial savings can be easily missed when transition teams are unaware of unpublicized special deals that many vendors are willing to accept.

Eliot Colon, Senior VP at Miro said “Companies are increasingly coming to Miro to ask about the ‘pros and cons’, as well as potential ‘gotcha’s’ of moving from on-premise to cloud deployments.   They are mostly concerned about ROI, cost and contractual jargon.  Unexpected outages and security issues are real and occur even in the largest and most secure cloud deployments.”

Migrating assets from on-premise solutions to the cloud can cause problems as well as solve them.  Cloud architecture can lower costs through increased efficiencies, but it also can spread risks in terms of security and downtime.  Where on-premise assets are small, isolated targets, the new cloud platforms are high profile opportunities for hackers.  Even if it’s not your IT assets being targeted, they can suffer collateral damage when sharing space with affected systems.

The cost advantage of using cloud solutions has also decreased over time.  As cloud vendors have seen their licensing profits decrease, they are increasing their cloud costs to make up for the lost revenue.

Customization is also an increasingly difficult issue for organizations looking to migrate to the cloud.   Where the one-size-fits-most model of cloud services works well for many organizational needs, it does not meet them all.  Cloud products often don’t provide the detailed performance information in many cases needed to maximize efficiencies and understand exactly how the systems are running.

If you’re considering a cloud transition or moving to a hybrid environment, contact Miro consulting to learn which assets work best in the cloud, which assets should stay on premise, and how to get the best possible price and terms.

About Miro:

Miro consulting specializes in software audit defense, license management, subscription management and cloud services for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and Adobe.  Contact Miro by emailing ContactUs@miroconsulting.com, or by phone at 732-738-8511 x1208 or online at MiroConsulting.com.

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Compliance Risk – Oracle alters license allocation rules for Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services Environments

Oracle has introduced new rules on how to apply on premise licensing for use in Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services environments. The changes result in an effective doubling of requirements for most Azure and AWS environments, while keeping Oracle Cloud requirements the same.

Compliance risk to current clients who use Oracle within AWS and Azure environments still remains unknown at the time of this writing, but expect this to definitely impact any future deployments of Oracle on Azure or AWS platforms.

To find out how these changes affect your environment, contact Miro Consulting at <a href=”mailto:sales@archive.miroconsulting.com”>sales@archive.miroconsulting.com</a>.

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