Oracle OpenWorld 2019 is less than a week away and this event promises to give us a look at what to expect from the company for the year. Based on my role at Snow leading our Oracle product line, which helps customers get visibility and insights into their Oracle investment, I am particularly interested in speaking to customers but also learning changes to Oracle’s audit policies and their plans for the cloud.
Recent Changes to Oracle Audit Practices and Policies
Oracle has restructured slightly over the last few years, bringing its License Management Service (LMS) under a new Global License Advisory Service (GLAS) and adding a Software Investment Advisory (SIA) department to run alongside it. This appears to be step towards creating a more consultative relationship with its customers. For example, customers may now deliver data to Oracle on a regular, recurring basis using agreed processes. This may be one of the reasons why Oracle has re-opened the 3rd Party Verified Tool Vendor Program (3PTV) as most customers prefer not to run scripts in their estate but do have software asset management tooling. If more of these tools are verified by Oracle, then this would make it easier for them to engage with these customers.
Oracle has also changed how audits are resolved. Most contracts state that if a license review results in a finding of non-compliancy, then customers need to pay within thirty days. However, there are often ways to reduce the amount paid. The last two to three years it has been all about cloud, again something that could be used as a discount vehicle, like the technique that Microsoft is taking around Azure. Recently though, this seems less of an option, so it will be very interesting to see how Oracle’s audit practices will change in the coming years.
Oracle’s Cloud Strategy Including Bring Your Own License (BYOL)
Over the last couple of years, Oracle has been “all in” on cloud. It will be interesting to see whether Oracle continues to develop its own cloud, or if the company decides to partner and expand interconnectivity to other cloud platforms as they have done with Microsoft. Given the breadth of Oracle’s technology, it could be a good business opportunity to allow customers to run Oracle outside of the three approved platforms (Azure, AWS and Oracle Cloud).
Currently, Oracle allows customers to use their perpetual licenses for deployments in Azure, AWS and Oracle Cloud. However, customers are still supposed to keep track of their compliance position in those environments. This poses a challenge for customers – especially in hybrid environments – as they need to monitor the products that are deployed from those platforms, but also the ones that they deploy themselves. Will Oracle change anything to make managing BYOL any easier for customers? Or will this challenge remain for the foreseeable future despite more customers migrating to the cloud? Of note to all readers, with BYOL in the cloud, audits are still very much a risk.
Other Areas of Interest
- Oracle’s Hardware Strategy: Oracle also seems to have shifted focus on the Solaris operating system, so look for updates on Oracle’s strategy on hardware.
- Virtualization (soft/hard partitioning): Recently there seems to be an increasing number of customers that have exceptions in their contracts to standard virtualization policies. These exceptions allow them to run Oracle on VMware without requiring them to license their entire infrastructure. This could foreshadow a change in Oracle’s policy on virtualization which might be supported by announcements next week.
If you are at Oracle OpenWorld, please look for the Snow team at Kiosk CIS-P1 to discuss your thoughts on this post further or request a meeting with us 1:1 to understand if Snow can help you reduce the complexity of managing Oracle licensing.