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

Oracle Support Contracts Now Auto-Renew

Oracle Support Contracts Now Auto-RenewOracle Support Auto Renewal

During the late summer and early fall of 2017, Oracle made a significant addition to the Oracle Support policies but was largely silent on this change. While there are references to Online Renewal within Oracle’s websites, the most impactful change concerned auto-renew.

Automatically renewing Oracle Support Contracts, designed to make it easier for Clients, has become the default method. Instead of receiving the Support Contract and thereby offering the customer the chance to review it, the customer simply receives an invoice that doesn’t clearly detail its costs.

There are several issues with this:

  • Based on policies within the customer’s organization around signing authority, some smaller Support Contract fees could be simply pushed through.
  • As some programs are de-supported, they will no longer appear on the Support Contract. This might serve as a trigger for some customers.
  • Some programs might be transitioned to the Oracle Cloud in which case the support fees would be set aside (“parked”) if the on-premise program is no longer being used.
  • Customers may have a charge-back system in place for which the cost detail of the Support Contract is essential.
  • License migrations might have occurred during the last support cycle which ought to be reflected in the latest Support Contract.

In all of these cases, the lack of Support Contract detail can become very detrimental to a customer. Miro advises that great care be taken before opting into auto-renewal.  Better yet, opt out, and reach out to Miro for more information.

Miro support renewal management provides a dedicated support renewal rep that can assure timely renewal, accurate support line items, and the lowest cost of renewal. Customers on average save up to 15% on Oracle Support contract renewals with Miro.

Modern Policies Supersede Legacy Software Contract Terms

Modern Policies Supersede Legacy Software Contract Terms

Server Metric
Modern-Policies-Supersede-Legacy-Contract-Terms-Oracle-IBM2Just because a legacy contract doesn’t include rules on virtualization or multi-core processors, it doesn’t mean the organization can simply ignore the vendor’s current policies on those subjects.  When virtualization technologies were developed, software vendors changed the way servers were licensed.  When a server had a single processor and core, the entire server was licensed as a Server metric.

With the introduction of hardware with multiple processors and then multi-core processors, both Oracle and IBM weighted their licensing based on the processing power of the multiple cores and different processor manufacturers, and issued tables to calculate licensing.  Very few customers still have Server metric licenses, so they need to accept and apply these Core Factor or PVU tables to determine licensing requirements.  To refuse the new rules would likely mean your organization could no longer use server-based software from either Oracle or IBM.

Most software of this type is now licensed based on the computing power of the hardware it’s installed on.  Oracle has both Processor and Named User Plus licenses currently, and IBM has Processor Value Units (PVU) and Resource Value Units (RVUs) where the licensed Resource may be defined as managed cores or another hardware-based quantity.

Different methods have been introduced to allow multiple physical servers to be grouped together as nodes, clusters, and larger entities like vCenters.  With the ability to carve up the processing power available to applications, organizations demanded a fairer method to license their software deployments because most of the time, they were no longer allocating the entire processing power of the entire physical server(s) for their applications. Oracle and IBM selected slightly different methods on determining licensing in virtualized environments.

Oracle Virtualization
Oracle defined possible virtualization methods into two types: hardware-based and software-based.  If a client uses a hardware-based method which they call Hard Partitioning, they can license software for the processing power allocated to the application.

If it is software-based, a customer does not receive the licensing concession.  Oracle has made an exemption for their own Oracle Virtual Machine (OVM) if certain criteria is met, including pinning the virtual machine to specific processor cores or threads.  If you cluster an OVM (or LPAR) server to another server, the exemption does not apply. If a customer rejects the vendor’s requirements to limit the full processing power of the physical hardware, then the vendor will automatically conclude that the customer must license the full extent of processing power.

IBM Virtualization
IBM introduced their IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT).  ILMT receives information from the server agents every 30 minutes, and compiles a report of IBM software with a hardware-based metric with the associated calculations, so the deployments are converted to the number of PVUs or RVUs.  If an IBM software customer installs ILMT and meets the terms in the IBM Passport Advantage Agreement (IPAA), they are eligible for sub-capacity licensing. Again, If a customer rejects the vendor’s requirements to limit the full processing power of the physical hardware, then the vendor will automatically conclude that the customer must license the full extent of processing power.

There’s no reason to license the entire physical server when the application only receives the benefit of a fraction of its processing power.  Most organizations would be wise to take advantage of virtualization technologies as a means of cost savings, wherever possible.  Those that do must acknowledge the rules and policies that govern the usage of virtualization and other modern developments like multi-core processors and servers.

If your strategy is to claim any of the modern rules and policies don’t apply to your legacy contract, you’re going to have a bad time.  It’s a red flag to the software vendor that your organization is out of compliance, and it will become a high priority target for an audit.

Miro can help your organization right-size it’s licensing portfolio for it’s needs. We strive to understand the vendor’s concerns, and determine methods that can be less onerous than a vendor’s initial position, but still address the concerns of the vendor. This enables our customers the ability to develop a position that meets their needs, but in a way vendors will accept.

Call or email us today to learn how we can save your organization time, money and resources, as well as help assure compliance with virtualization and other modern rules and policies.


Licensing Oracle’s Business Analytics Tools (BICS vs DVCS vs DVD)

Oracle BICS vs DVCS vs DVD

Both Business Intelligence Cloud Services (BICS) and Data Visualization Cloud Service are used for data visualization, and have similar capabilities. Deciding which is best for your organization can be challenging.  Here’s some tips on making the right decision.

Oracle’s business intelligence platform, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) is an on-premise tool able to create reports, dashboards and real time alerts for users.  In 2014, Oracle introduced BICS as the cloud based version of OBIEE, but it didn’t have the full functionality of its on-premise counterpart. While BICS is included in the Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC), DVCS is not. OAC includes Data Visualization Desktop (DVD), though the versions have lagged DVCS in the past. DVD is a stand-alone version of DVCS, and is free for either DVCS or BICS subscribers, and for those who’ve licensed Visual Analyzer in OBIEE.

As part of it’s cloud first strategy, Oracle upgraded BICS by adding “Visual Analyzer” in 2015.  With the addition, BICS could now load data from external sources and create data mashups.  Visual Analyzer simplified and extended the way users could build dashboards and other visualizations.  At this point, BICS had functionality that OBIEE couldn’t match.

Later that year, Oracle released a version of Visual Analyzer for OBIEE 12c, called the Data Visualization add-in, which is version DV V2.  The crucial difference between the two, is that Visual Analyzer for OBIEE requires an additional license, but BICS does not.

After announcing it’s new “Oracle Data Visualization” brand, Oracle announced a repricing of DVCS and BICS.  DVCS only offers limited data visualization, at $75 per month per named user, with a 5 user minimum.  BICS has a more robust set of visualization tools, and has a standard pricing of $150 per month per named user.


  • Data Visualization Desktop – Single User Perpetual
  • Data Visualization Cloud Service – $75 Monthly Subscription per User, 5 user Minimum
  • Business Intelligence Cloud Service – $150 Monthly Subscription per User, 10 user minimum
Cost Minimum Users Per Processor Notes
Data Visualization Desktop $1250 user (month?) 1 80 Free with DVCS or BICS
Data Visualization Cloud Service $75 user/month 5 n/a Free DVD…
Business Intelligence Cloud Service $150 user/month 10 n/a Free DVD…

Here are the details from the Oracle website: “DVD is packaged at no extra cost with DVCS and BICS, so customers who subscribe to those services receive a matching number of DVD licenses at no extra charge.  On premises, customers license Oracle Data Visualisation for $1250 per named user (minimum lowered to 1), and receive both DV for OBI12c and DVD; when OBI12c and DV are licensed by processor, customers get 80 licenses of DVD per processor, again at no extra charge.”


About Product BICS is the complete package of BI capabilities Oracle DVCS as a subset offering of Oracle BICS
Features Dashboard Yes No
Analyses Yes No
Catalog Yes Yes
Modeler Yes No
Snapshot Yes Yes
Safe Domians Yes Yes
Application Role Management Yes Yes
Issue SQL Yes Yes
Session & Query cache Yes Yes
Manage datasets Yes No
Manage Map Data Yes No
Default Data Source Oracle Cloud database Yes Yes From BICS and DVCS cloud
Oracle Applications Yes Yes
Scope Features Scope Full with all BI capabilities limited to data visualization only
Support Data syn (Sync third party databases)* Third party Databases Yes Yes
Sql Queries Yes Yes
Rest API Yes Yes
Free Tools** DVD Yes Yes
Visual Analyzer support Visual Analyzer Yes Yes
Product visualization Components Number of Components 26 26 From BICS and DVCS cloud
File Support CSV Yes Yes
Excel (XLSX) Yes Yes
Pricing Monthly Subscription Cost $150.00 / month / named user $75.00 / month / named user
10 user minimum 5 user minimum

Overpaying for Adobe Licenses & Subscriptions

Overpaying for Adobe Licenses & Subscriptions

by Phara McLachlan

Common statements:

  • “Adobe is no longer auditing”
  • “Adobe is auditing less”
  • “I don’t have to worry about compliance for Adobe products anymore”

Not quite true.

You still need to understand your license estate and the costs associated to it.

So many clients are overstating their requirements and needs, because they do not have a clear picture of what Adobe products are being used, what is truly needed, and/or if they are being truly used.

More than ever, you need to monitor new deployments of Adobe products in your environment. It is costly to make the assumption that you don’t have to worry about compliance or tracking your Adobe licenses and usage.

Can you answer if your expenditure on Adobe licensing has increased or decreased? When it’s time to renew, you should have those answers. You neither want to over or under purchase. Both scenarios will cost you money.

Now more than ever, you need to manage your Adobe subscription licensing.

Contact Miro
to find out how we can help you evaluate and plan your Adobe purchases to maximize savings and achieve the best terms and conditions possible.

Please call 732-738-8511 x1207 to find out more, or email us at sales [at]

10 Oracle Cloud Mistakes to Avoid

10 Oracle Cloud Mistakes to Avoid

Oracle’s new cloud first strategy has forced many of its clients to seriously evaluate moving some of their estate off-premise and onto the cloud. There can be very attractive advantages to using the Oracle Cloud, but it’s critically important to avoid these mistakes in your decision making process. Here’s what you should avoid.

1. Buying Oracle Cloud Solely to Avoid or Settle an On Premise Oracle Licensing Audit

Be wary of buying Cloud products for the sole purpose of avoiding the start, or in settlement of, an Oracle LMS Audit. Buying under duress rarely produces a favorable outcome and typically pricing, terms and conditions, on these types of Cloud procurements, are deemed to be some of the worst and not soon after, regretted.

2. No Renewal Pricing

While the initial pricing can be attractive, it’s critically important to know renewal pricing when you sign the contract. Don’t assume that pricing will rise at a modest level and that initial ‘teaser rate’, may literally be just that, a ‘teaser rate’.

3. No Stated Pricing for Additional Quantities

Don’t assume pricing will remain the same if you need to order additional quantities of licenses after you sign your initial contract.

4. Missing Policy Terms

Standard Oracle agreements often leave out policy terms but instead of actual policy terms being included in the agreement, policy is noted as a link via URL. Review all policies linked by URL and determine if you want those to be included in your agreement.

5. Inaccurate Quote

Ensure all negotiated pricing, terms, conditions, definitions and examples are included in your ordering document or quote. ‘One out of three’ reviewed order document is missing an important price, term, condition or definition.

6. Overlooking the Hosting & Delivery Policies

The ‘H&DP document’ is a master file that contains six different policy documents that cover security, uptime, support, suspension and termination policies. Your organization may need to attempt to adjust/negotiate certain parts of these policies based on your business requirements.

7. Over-Purchasing Cloud Access

Don’t assume all cloud vendors count the same. If you are moving from one cloud vendor to another, or from one type of on-premise to Cloud, you may need varying quantities due to the way Oracle counts cores on its own cloud vs other vendor’s clouds. If, as an example, you are deploying Oracle assets into an Oracle cloud, you may need significantly less licenses than if you deployed in a non-Oracle cloud.

8. No Terms for Mergers, Acquisitions & Divestitures

It’s vitally important to know how mergers, acquisitions and divestitures impact your license rights. These types of activities can cause an organization to lose rights to the licenses or subscriptions it’s purchased, or prevent it from transferring those licenses or subscriptions to new business entities.

9. Not Considering Oracle’s Cloud at All

Oracle’s cloud has features and pricing that can be ideal for many business applications. It’s definitely worth evaluating what Oracle Cloud services can benefit your organization, especially if you already own Oracle’s on-premise licenses given the lower cost for deploying those assets into the Oracle cloud.

10. Going it alone

The best way to evaluate an Oracle Cloud purchase is to work with experience licensing analysts like Miro, who can help you evaluate what products are cloud friendly and what may be better left on-premise. Also, like every other potential technology investment, the ‘devil is in the details’ and knowing your options can make all of the difference in making an education decision to move forward.

Contact Miro to find out how we can help you evaluate and plan your cloud purchases to maximize savings and achieve the best terms and conditions possible.

Please call 732-738-8511 x1207 to find out more, or email us at sales [at]


I missed IBM’s ILMT train. Now what?

IBM has offered the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) for years. With ILMT installed, clients can license their server-based software with the PVU metric by the sub-capacity method (only license the virtual cores allocated).

Occasionally, someone claims they can’t install ILMT because they missed the initial 90-day window IBM grants in the IBM Passport Advantage Agreement (IPAA).

Although that is in the IPAA, why can’t you install ILMT now?

If you install ILMT by the end of 2017, by 2019 you’ll have two years of quarterly reports and comply with IBM’s sub-capacity licensing terms.

If you don’t install ILMT, your licensing is calculated using the Full Capacity methodology by default. Full Capacity is the entire processing power of the physical host server. With environments becoming increasingly virtualized, besides the use of cloud, it’s in your best interests to license by Sub Capacity by meeting IBM’s requirement for quarterly ILMT reports.

How big a deal is the difference between Sub and Full Capacity?

If I had a large p795 with 256 cores, it could be huge. Here is an example using WebSphere Application Server (WAS) and MQ running on the same frame:

  • Full Capacity: If MQ and WAS were both installed on this frame, they’d both need 30,720 PVUs of licenses each
  • Sub Capacity: If only one 2-core LPAR had MQ, Sub Capacity would be 240 PVUs. The two LPARs of WAS total 3 vCPUs or 360 PVUs of licensing.

20171214 - IBM - ILMT

Outside of IBM hardware, the licensing difference between Full and Sub-Capacity can also be a large quantity.

If I had some 2-socket blade servers in a cluster the impact may not seem as bad, but due to the possibility that every virtual server could be on a separate physical host, the Full Capacity calculation may be larger than expected.

Here is an example of the physical hosts in the cluster, along with the PVU calculations for each:

20171214 - IBM - ILMT-2

If I had five virtualized servers within that cluster, all with small allocated vCPUs, one might assume that only 490 PVUs were required. However at Full Capacity, the licenses required would be 4,480 PVUs.

20171214 - IBM - ILMT-3

If ILMT is not installed now, when will it be installed? If you never install ILMT, your environment will remain at Full Capacity under IBM’s current IPAA rules.

IBM Passport Advantage Agreement Update

IBM Passport Advantage Agreement Update

IBM has revised their Passport Advantage Agreement, starting with new IBM software customer in November 2017 and with existing customers on 1 February 2018.

The Passport Advantage Agreement has not been updated since August 2014, but there are new changes:

It seems longer due to additional country terms, and a change of font size, but in essence it’s the same length.   Here are the details:

  • 1.9 Eligible Products:
    There are more details regarding eligible products, but the essence is the same. It relates to a situation where IBM discontinues support of a software product, that does not allow you to deploy and use a quantity in excess of what you own.  I’ve rarely had this come up in an audit situation, since most organizations understand they shouldn’t deploy more than they own.  However, let’s assume an organization loves Lotus 1-2-3, and deploys it enterprise-wide.  If it does not own licenses, it’s a theft of IBM’s Intellectual Property, even if the organization has sunset support on the product.

  • 1.10 Renewal:
    A paragraph was added about prorating for Fixed Term, Token, or regular Software Subscription and Support. Although not contained in the IPAA before, IBM was able to prorate charges previously.

  • 1.12 Compliance Verification
    This is important with regards to audits. The 2014 IPAA only had one paragraph in this section.  The 2017 revision has some additional information, but the idea is still the same.

    • Client will purchase adequate software licenses before deploying IBM software.
    • Client is responsible for knowing where they deploy IBM software and maintaining accurate records.
    • Client will provide this information to IBM, or their auditor, upon request.
    • If Client has excessive usage of IBM software, they will be responsible for buying adequate licenses.
    • If Client has inadequate records of software usage, two years of software support may also be charged.

What has been added to the IPAA?

1. Further clarification regarding IBM’s possible use of an independent auditor

2. Compliance Verification is applicable to all sites and environments

These two items are not new with regards to IBM Software License Reviews.  IBM generally uses an independent auditor for data collection and assessment, and the IPAA terms apply to all sites and environments where the client is using IBM software.

  • 1.13 Programs in a Virtualization Environment (Sub-Capacity Licensing Terms)
    IBM added a paragraph to be more specific regarding non-compliance with Sub-Capacity licensing.  This further explanation does not change the terms though.  All IBM software customers are Full Capacity by default.  If a customer adheres to the Sub-Capacity licensing terms, they can license only the actual or virtual processor cores allocated to the software program, aka Sub-Capacity.

  • 1.14 Client’s Reporting Responsibilities
    There was a slight change in this section.  Prior to this version, customers could subscribe to notifications.  The IPAA has been updated to ‘Client will subscribe’. There is also an addition of ‘Client will not alter, modify, omit, delete, or misrepresent by any means, directly or indirectly’ any audit reports (part of 1.12 Compliance Verification).

    In general, the overall agreement hasn’t changed.  The addition or changes to language to the three sections that regard compliance, 1.12, 1.13, and 1.14, just have some clarification, rather than any ‘rule changes’ with regard to licensing and IBM Software Audits.

6 Microsoft Audit Triggers

Did you know your Microsoft Reseller can tell Microsoft to audit you?

For the last several years, Microsoft and other software vendors have been pressuring their customers with audits. The reasons were many and include stagnant revenue, recovery from the economic turmoil of the preceding decade, changes in corporate direction, and more.

Microsoft turned to software audits to compel organizations to transition to products and services that fit their “Mobile First, Cloud First” strategy.  So what triggers these audits? What puts an organization “on the list?”

  1. Your Reseller Told Microsoft to Audit You

    Many Microsoft Resellers now have SAM Divisions, meaning Software Asset Management. While they may be distinct legal entities from your Reseller, they operate as a single company. These new SAM divisions can refer you to Microsoft as a potential audit target, based on the information they gathered while acting as your reseller. Microsoft uses these recommendations to prioritize audit targets based on how serious the potential violation is.

  2. Purchasing History

    Did you fail to renew your Enterprise Agreement during the economic downturn, as a cost reduction measure? Have few Microsoft purchases have been made since? If this occurred, with annual true-ups no longer necessary, Microsoft will wonder how business is still being supported with hardware and software that is very old.

  3. Technology & Licensing Changes

    BYOD, desktop virtualization, hosted services, license mobility, cloud environments, transitional licensing, bridge licenses, metric changes and evolving Software Assurance benefits all make adherence to licensing rules challenging, at best. Microsoft knows this and will use it to position your environment as non-compliant.

  4. Mergers & Acquisitions

    The Microsoft Account team will view any M&A activity as a potential opportunity. For example, when an organization with an active Enterprise Agreement acquires another company, Microsoft will assume an increase in the number of qualified devices or users. Beyond any contractual obligations that may exist, the Microsoft Account team will see a revenue windfall.

  5. Transition to the Cloud

    Cloud subscriptions are presented as the easiest path to achieving and maintaining license compliance. Office 365 has reached critical mass in the commercial space, which reflects Microsoft’s success in engineering the transition. And it will continue with this process and even repeat it as it tries to upsell existing subscribers.

  6. Disgruntled Employees or Former Employees

    Organizations such as the Business Software Alliance, of which Microsoft is a member, actively ask individuals to come forward to report non-compliance issues. This isn’t unusual as employees – former or existing – may want to create difficulties and instigate an audit.

The best advice for an organizations is to complete its own, proactive License Position Assessment as soon as possible via an independent expert. This assessment will provide the snapshot needed to determine any exposure and allow the organization to prepare and protect their budget from unexpected costs from Microsoft.