Hidden Costs and Limitations of Commercial Software Solutions
Rather than building your own in-house applications, commercial off-the-shelf software such as On-Premise Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), or a cloud-based solution may sound like interesting options, but what is best for your situation, and what are the licensing options and limitations?
When considering candidates, considerations should include:
Oracle Cloud Options:
On Premise is where the customer owns and manages the infrastructure, including hardware, operating systems and databases; and install a packaged system in their data center. Oracle’s E-Business Suite (EBS) is the traditional on-premise solution. EBS consists of a collection of modules integrated into one suite.
According to Oracle, modifications exceeding the restrictions of the embedded licensing will result in additional licensing requirements. Depending on the customizations, Oracle may require separate licensing of embedded products. If you customize Oracle E-Business Suite applications, you can no longer use the included restricted use middleware or database. Link
Whether or not a solution should be run from an on-premise environment, hybrid solution, or fully from the Cloud involves specific business and functionality requirements of the solution. Overall, there are plenty of reasons to leverage a Cloud solution, but it is important to evaluate all of your options as well as all of the potential costs and limitations of each.
Making even one small customization can put you out of compliance when using Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS)
Oracle E-Business Suite comes with “a restricted-use license for the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, Oracle Internet Application Server Enterprise Edition, which includes WebLogic Server Basic, and a limited set of other products.”
According to Oracle, Organizations using an Oracle EBS Application must use them in their “vanilla”, or “out-of-the-box” state, and modifications exceeding the restrictions of the embedded licensing will result in additional licensing requirements.
Oracle distinguishes between three levels of modifications to its Oracle E-Business Suite Applications, which have increasing licensing requirements for the underlying database and other technologies.
Potential additional license requirements:
Other possible issues to consider before customizing:
Commercial off-the-shelf software such as Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) applications is a logical choice for an organization’s operational needs, but care should be taken before choosing the best application.
When considering application candidates, considerations should be:
The idea of remote workers is not a new concept but some organizations still require most of their employees to work in corporate locations, and their licenses were purchased with that in mind.
Most organizations license their Microsoft server products with per user Client Access Licenses. The per user option will allow users to access from corporate locations as well as remote access without the need for additional licensing. The licensing requirements are based on the actual user and not the device or location used by the end user.
Using a VPN
Microsoft desktop applications can possibly cause some compliance issues when accessed by non-corporate owned devices via a VPN or similar. For example, if you are using a personal computer at home to log into your work computer at the office and access your Microsoft applications, you are potentially out of compliance with Microsoft’s licensing policies because your personal computer may not be licensed to access those applications.
Remote Desktop Gateway
Another option for Microsoft users is their Remote Desktop Gateway product (RD Gateway) which allows a user to connect via SSL without the need for a VPN. The user could then use a Remote Desktop Client to access their office computer or a Windows Server. This requires additional licensing to use, as per Microsoft:
“An RDS CAL is required to use any functionality included in the Remote Desktop Services role in Windows Server. For example, if you are using RDS Gateway and/or Remote Desktop Web Access to provide access to a Windows client operating system on an individual PC, both an RDS CAL and Windows Server CAL are required.”
Windows Virtual Desktop
If you have a Microsoft 365 license you can run Windows 10 on a Windows Virtual Desktop without the need for an additional license or RDS Cal. To access a Windows Server’s desktop and apps, you would need an RDS Cal license.
Per Device Licensing
Understanding the rules for Microsoft application products can help prevent surprise budget issues that some customers experience when moving to a remote workforce. The basic licensing terms for Microsoft applications is usually licensed per device accessing the application.
Office 365 Discounts
Microsoft applications offer some options for customers that wish to offer users the ability to access the application from any device without the need for additional licensing. The on-prem application licensing has a discounted Office 365 subscription offer for organizations that purchased Software Assurance for the Office licenses. This subscription discount allows end users to buy the Office 365 subscription at a 30% discount off the normal retail price.
Up to 5 Devices
Organizations that purchase most types of Office 365 subscriptions for their users have rights for the end user to access licensed applications with up to 5 different devices. This option would allow the end user to install a copy of a licensed Office app with no extra costs to the end user. There are lower level tier Office 365 subscriptions that do NOT include the option to install a local copy, so check your licensing rules carefully.
Windows Desktop OS
Microsoft also has an option for organizations to purchase Windows Desktop OS as a user licensed option. This option can provide the end user the most current version of Windows Desktop OS. By providing the desktop OS to end users, organizations can ensure the end users are using the most current Microsoft OS and help ensure all security updates are installed and protecting the organization from security threats.
In summary, organizations may need to review their licensing to address changes in how end users are accessing the organization’s network. Besides budgeting concerns for non-compliance, organizations can also experience security threats from an end user’s device that may not have the proper software security updates to ensure the protection of the organization’s environment.
If you’re unsure about what your Microsoft licensing allows, but don’t want to alert Microsoft that you may be out of compliance, Miro can help. Miro can engage in a comprehensive review of the client’s assets, entitlements, contracts and purchasing documents to help the client remain in compliance with Microsoft licensing policies. Don’t contact your Microsoft reseller for help with licensing, as they’re contractually obligated to report you to Microsoft if they find anything wrong.
Oracle announced a High Availability option for use with Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (SE2) beginning with version 19c. So far, as of Release Update 19.7, Oracle has included these operating systems: Linux, Solaris, and Microsoft Windows. More are planned in the future.
Oracle customers can still use the maximum supported 16 CPU threads per instance during normal operations as well as Failover.
Rather than using RAC as before, RACless version 19 SE2 customers can use free of charge storage management and high availability capabilities included with Oracle Grid Infrastructure. Oracle claims this is one of the fastest failover solutions available*
Oracle does intend that this configuration could be true failover, without additional licensing, if it adheres to Oracle’s definition of Failover. As a reminder, Oracle currently defines Failover as:
“the right to run the licensed program(s) [here the Standard Edition High Availability database] on an unlicensed spare computer in a failover environment for up to a total of ten separate days in any given calendar year. This right only applies when a number of machines are arranged in a cluster and share one disk array, which is the case for Standard Edition High Availability databases by default.
In addition, SEHA databases are subject to all licensing regulations that generally apply to a Standard Edition 2 (SE2) single-instance Oracle Database. Note that SEHA databases are not subject to a per-cluster socket limitation, but need to adhere to the per-server socket limitation that applies to any Standard Edition 2 Oracle Database.”
(Michalewicz, 2020, https://blogs.oracle.com/maa/standard-edition-high-availability-officially-released)
As Oracle posted on their blog, the licensing benefit of this failover configuration for Standard Edition 2 is the second server’s database instance(s) will not require additional licensing. That would be an improvement over SE or SE2 with RAC included because with that configuration, you licensed the second database.
What about the cost of Oracle Clusterware? Oracle provides this information in their Oracle Database: Database Licensing Information User Manual:
Oracle Clusterware may be used to protect any application (restarting or failing over the application in the event of a failure) on any server, free of charge. Oracle will provide support for Clusterware only is the server is running an Oracle product, which may include Oracle Linux or Oracle Solaris, that is also under Oracle support.
Oracle has already issued the suggested architecture, including sample diagrams. Oracle’s additional information on this configuration:
Oracle Clusterware requires a virtual IP address for each node in the cluster. With Oracle Clusterware you also define an application virtual IP address so users can access the application independently of the node in the cluster where the application is running. You can define multiple application VIPs, with generally one application VIP defined for each application running. The application VIP is tied to the application by making it dependent on the application resource defined by Cluster Ready Services (CRS)
Figure 1. Oracle Database with Oracle Clusterware after Cold Failover
Figure Source: [Oracle] Database High Availability Overview, High Availability Architectures and Solutions. Copyright Oracle, 2020. Located at https://docs.oracle.com/cd/B28359_01/server.111/b28281/architectures.htm#g1012375
Please note, this configuration may not provide the level of redundancy you desire for a robust Disaster Recovery solution, since the failover server and database instance occupy a node in the same cluster as the primary.
If you’d like more information on Oracle Clusterware for Oracle Database 19c, Oracle’s white paper is located at
* Fast failover time referenced by Markus Michalewicz on Oracle’s blog post “Standard Edition 2 – We Heard You! Announcing: Standard Edition High Availability”, March 2, 2020 at https://blogs.oracle.com/maa/standard-edition-2-announcing-standard-edition-high-availability
Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management and subscription management services for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, and Salesforce. We specialize in license management, audit advisory, negotiation tactics, support management, and cloud services. Contact us for more information.
The primary driver for licensing DR for IBM is the software title and version.
There may be specific licensing rules for the software product, and those will override the general DR licensing rules.
Before giving an example of specific software title examples, here are the standby states as IBM defines them:
If there is no title-specific DR-specific licensing listed, then IBM’s general policy is
What about DR Testing?
IBM understands the need for an organization to test recovery readiness. For testing purposes, only a point-in-time copy of the production data can be used as a test at a separate location, and it will be discarded after completing the test and/or used for off-line backup operations.
Testing is intended to be temporary, and IBM allows up to four tests a year lasting up to 72 hours each. These tests are not to include any productive work, program testing, maintenance, or development.
By definition, this is for testing only warm and cold solutions, since hot is always running and licensed.
What happens in a Disaster Event?
IBM defines this as an event where the entire data center is rendered inoperable due to an external force such as flooding, fire, or earthquake. A hardware outage or software failure is not considered a Disaster Event by IBM.
The Disaster Recovery site can run the production workload up to 70 days. If more than 70 days are required, the software entitlements must be permanently transferred to the DR location. Note: if eligible under the software terms and conditions. If not, you can no longer use the IBM software at the Disaster Recovery location.
Examples of Software Titles with different DR rules:
If the base install, which receives the alerts and monitoring data, has a Hot Standby with configurations including, but not limited to: High Availability, failover and failback connections to the ObjectServer database configured for Hot Standby, event store and forward, peer to peer heartbeating, and event resynchronization with restarting element management systems – you’d expect to license the second base install, based on IBM’s general licensing rules for a Hot Standby. BUT you’d also have to have a second license for each of the connections and devices. That could be a lot of second licenses.
Luckily, these connections and devices are licensed by the Resource Value Unit (RVU) metric. RVUs have a tiered conversion table so as you buy larger quantities, the conversion rate becomes more favorable. Please refer to Miro’s previous blog post on RVUs.
It’s easy to fall out of compliance with your IBM disaster recovery configuration. Contact Miro to learn more about how we can support your team in acheiving IBM compliance and getting the best possible price, terms, and conditions in your IBM contracts.
Pluggable databases were one of the new features of 12c. All Oracle databases before Oracle Database 12c were non-CDBs. Oracle has termed “multi-tenancy” to describe the process of creating a CDB that contains many “tenant” PDB’s. Starting at 12c, this was available as a paid Enterprise Option called Multitenant (NUP $350, Processor $17,500). The multitenant architecture enables an Oracle database to function as a multitenant container database (CDB). A CDB includes zero, one, or many customer-created pluggable databases (PDBs). Multitenant is Oracle’s Cloud Database Architecture.
Prior to 19c (or 18 XE), you were only allowed to have a single user-defined pluggable database (plus a root container and a proxy) without having to license the full multitenant option. Oracle has announced that, from 19c onward, you can have 3 user-defined PDBs, without having to license the multitenant option.
According to Oracle; “For all offerings, if you are not licensed for Oracle Multitenant, then you may have up to 3 user-created PDBs in a given container database at any time.” Link
There are a number of benefits to pluggable databases:
Pluggable Databases is the direction of Oracles’ future. Enterprise database consolidation can lead to greater scalability and improved resource utilization and response time, which could reduce server and storage hardware costs while increasing throughput. Multitenant architecture retains the separation of individual databases and should require no changes to applications, it should also simplify DBA tasks such as cloning, tuning, patching, and upgrading.
Companies should analyze their environment, and create a cost benefit analysis to determine any return on investment (ROI) of investing time, effort, and money in the Multitenant paid option, or upgrading to 19c sooner than planned.
Imagine being able to reduce your Oracle footprint. By consolidating Oracle Database servers, organizations could reduce their Oracle database, options and pack footprint by up to 300%. As a best/worst case scenario example, simply from a licensing perspective, in an extremely unconsolidated mixed vendor environment, the client could take advantage of the “3 user-created PDBs in a given container database” to reduce their potential server hardware needs from 3 database servers down to potentially 1 Oracle database server, this would cut their Oracle initial license exposure by up to 66%.
Cost wise, in this example, a common database server might require running Oracle Database, Diagnostics, and Tuning. Licensing for 3 servers (common server specs – Six-Core AMD Opteron Processors, 8 processors per server) might cost a client as much as $3.4 million in initial licenses and support costs (35% discount). Assuming the client could take advantage of pluggable databases, in an extreme worst case of un-consolidated server scenario, reducing the 3-database servers down to 1 consolidated Oracle database server, would help the client avoid over $2.2 million in initial Oracle licensing purchases. The ROI in this hypothetical and extreme case would be the $2.2 million, plus the annual Oracle support year after year which could be over $400k annually.
Who should consider Pluggable databases?
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