If you deploy Oracle Database products it is critical that you manage them efficiently. Oracle remain very active in initiating license compliance audits with their customers. And if you have a ULA with them you will need to do an inventory every three years. Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) will be delighted to assist you with this, typically because such an activity reveals a non-compliance which leads to more revenue or acts as a lever to push you towards Oracle Cloud.
Oracle LMS conduct estate evaluations (audits!) primarily using scripts of their own design. These scripts are designed to gather all the information required by Oracle to calculate your usage of their products. The challenge with the scripts is that they are proprietary to Oracle and as such you may not wish to run them in your environment. Increasingly, your IT Security team may prohibit the use of such scripts on privacy or security grounds.
The solution is to use tools and scripts from a trusted third party – for example a tool vendor with whom you already have a relationship. However, this third-party has to be trusted by you and Oracle LMS, and that is where Oracle’s Tool Verification programme comes in.
The following guide describes the market, lists a number of vendors, and provides recommendations for prospective buyers.
This guide is free-of-charge and vendors did not pay for a listing. The list is exhaustive, derived from the Oracle LMS list of verified tools.
Market Definition & Analysis
The Oracle-Verified License Management Tool market is small and stagnant. No new tools have been verified for a number of years. Repeated requests to Oracle LMS as to the status of this programme have not received a response. However, in conversation with tool vendors, it appears that there may be a pipeline of new tools awaiting verification by Oracle.
Oracle LMS state that they will accept data from a verified tool rather than demanding installation and execution of their own scripts. The tools are verified only for the management of Oracle Database Products and Options. Critically, running a third-party tool does not revoke Oracle’s right to audit, and still requires you to submit data to Oracle LMS for review.
Oracle LMS-verified tools are available from a variety of vendors at a variety of price points and target markets. Whilst usage of Oracle Database may be assumed to be limited to enterprise customers that is not necessarily the case. Some of the tools form part of wider solutions aimed solely at enterprise customers whereas others are focused specifically on managing Oracle database licenses.
Given that the list of verified tools is small it is clear that you should not base your SAM tool selection solely on whether it has been verified by Oracle LMS.
Many tools do have non-verified options and core capabilities for managing Oracle databases and whilst not acceptable to Oracle LMS they may be sufficient for your needs.
Furthermore, there is the option to consider engaging a third-party Oracle License Management specialist. These specialists will run scripts very similar to those provided by Oracle LMS, enabling you to get an acceptably-accurate picture of your Oracle deployments prior to an Oracle LMS engagement. Such advance notification enables you to mitigate license compliance risks without being in breach of Oracle License Agreement terms preventing changes from being made once an audit has been initiated.
Finally, the output from an Oracle-verified tool is merely raw data; further analysis will be required before an accurate Effective License Position (ELP) and risk assessment can be generated.
All currently-verified third-party Oracle License Management tools are included in this guide.
This section provides an overview of the company and their solution along with key differentiators of their product.
Aspera SmartCollect integrates with Aspera’s SmartTrack Platform for Software Asset Management. This is an enterprise-scale tool.
Key differentiator: Integration with full SAM toolset, availability of Managed Service with guaranteed compliance.
Flexera’s verified tool is part of their FlexNet Manager for Datacenters (FMD) product. The breadth of management options in this tool is suitable for large enterprise deployments of software from Tier 1 publishers such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and VMWare.
Key Differentiator: FMD is a full-spectrum SAM tool for datacenters and cloud deployments. In addition to the Oracle verification it is also an authorised replacement for IBM ILMT.
iQuate iQSonar was the first tool verified by Oracle LMS. It is an agentless discovery and inventory solution. Part of a suite, iQSonar is able to inventory a wide range of datacenter products.
Key Differentiator: SAM Tool-agnostic with connectors available for major SAM tools including Aspera, Snow, Flexera, and ServiceNow
Lime specialise in Oracle license management and managed services. In addition to the Oracle-verified inventory tool they also provide a Community Edition of their License Management tool.
Key Differentiator: Solely focused on Oracle licensing; extensive SAM Managed Services partner network.
Micro Focus (HPE)
Micro Focus provide Oracle-verified discovery via their Configuration Management System (CMS). This full-spectrum Service Management tool combines Asset Discovery with a CMDB solution.
Key Differentiator: This solution is designed for large enterprise customers. Oracle License Management option is only included in the Advanced Edition.
Nova Ratio products were acquired by Brainware in January 2017. Brainware were in turn acquired by Flexera in April 2018.
The market is small and stagnant but there is still some differentiation available. Given the size of the risk of non-compliance being discovered in an Oracle LMS engagement the business case for deploying such a tool should be clear. Similarly, so should be the case for engaging a Managed Service Provider specialising in Oracle license management. Many firms in this market employ ex-Oracle LMS employees and as such can make considerable experience available to you in an engagement.
Unless you perceive that your main license risks are around Oracle, we recommend that you don’t base your choice of SAM tool solely on its ability to manage Oracle licenses. Even the best tool on this list won’t obviate the need to ultimately send data to Oracle LMS. What they get you is the best-possible visibility of your Oracle estate in advance of that dreaded letter landing in your in-tray. However, having an Oracle-verified tool running can actually weaken your bargaining position during an audit. It becomes difficult to stall Oracle’s requests once they know you’re running a verified tool and it takes away the time you would gain using a “no external scripts” defence.