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INTERVIEW: Jeff Jones – Trustworthy Data for Oracle Audits

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Jeff Jones of Flexera Software is a licensing expert focused on enterprise license optimization and compliance.

Having spent 12+ years at Oracle, he is one of Flexera’s key product experts and advisors for Oracle. He also has in-depth knowledge of the Desktop, SAP, and Engineering license compliance arenas.

I recently corresponded with Jeff about Flexera’s recent Oracle verification.

Q. What is special about auditing and managing Oracle?

There are several issues that make auditing and managing Oracle unique.  The first is the obvious one:  Oracle does not require any license keys for the majority of their software.  Anyone can download and install full use versions of their database and other products with absolutely no limitations.  This is very different than most Desktop software, and even a lot of other server-based software.

Second, they measure compliance based on usage of the database software, not installation, so just knowing what is installed is not enough. Third, they currently have two different license models—processor-core based and named user plus (NUP), with a named user minimum per processor-core that leads to leads to even more complexity to the license management process.

If you then couple these with the fact that they have traditionally changed their license metrics every 2-4 years, and have unique definitions for things like “processor”, it can make understanding and counting the licensable metrics very difficult.

Q. What does Oracle verification entail?

Oracle verification entailed a multi-step process, working directly with Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) organization.  The end goal was to prove that our solution would yield the exact same results as Oracle’s own LMS team would, if they were running their usage analysis scripts locally themselves.

We first ensured that our solution would be able to find all Oracle database installations across the network, and then determine the actual usage of each database instance and associated options.

The final step of verification was to jointly run a test at a customer site, which we did at a major consumer packaged goods company.  Both Oracle LMS and Flexera Software ran their solutions separately and then compared results to ensure the results were the same.

Q. What does Oracle verification deliver – what can Flexera clients now experience as a result of the verification?

Oracle verification means that the Flexera Software solution will return accurate results when determining database instance and option usage.  Per Oracle’s Website, FlexNet Manager for Oracle will “provide the required data set to supplement the LMS review process. LMS will accept data from these tools as an alternative to installing LMS tools”.

Determining database instance and option usage is much more complex than just counting installations of this software, and now customers can make an independent assessment of their Oracle license position.

 

Q. Why not just use Oracle LMS scripts?

First, the LMS scripts do not include complete discovery of Oracle databases, so you would need to ensure you had a 100% accurate inventory before starting the Oracle usage analysis process with the Oracle LMS Scripts.

Second, the Oracle LMS scripts are very manual intensive, especially if you need to run them over a large number of Oracle DB instances.

Third, after running the LMS scripts, you would still need to manually reconcile these against your license entitlements.

 

Jeff Jones Flexera Software

Q. Can you provide an example of Oracle auditing and management in action?

We recently worked with a Fortune 50 company that has historically set the gold standard for maximizing discounts from software vendors. To continue to maximize their investment in strategic software purchases for both SAP and Oracle, this organization worked with us to understand the usage of these software assets to establish appropriate and well-structured enterprise agreements for each vendor.

This work ensured that they were purchasing only the software needed and maximizing the value of the software already purchased. The total effort saved over $30M USD between SAP and Oracle. The Oracle savings represented more than $7 million in the first year, and should continue to save them additional expense each year. We are involved in an ongoing effort to continually monitor their environment, as well as use them as a development partner to improve the solution moving forward.

Flexera Software will be hosting a webinar next week entitled “Best Practices for Oracle License Management”. Follow this link for further details.

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Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of the The ITAM Review and The ITSM Review. Martin is also founder and Chair, Campaign for Clear Licensing. A contributor to the British Computer Society (BCS) Configuration Management Group and contributor to the UK itSMF UK Service Transition SIG. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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