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Oracle on VMware vSphere & vSAN – Asks the Oracles


In the last post, we endeavored to explain how to go about an Oracle Licensing Audit effectively by meticulously collecting all artifacts needed for the audit.

We recommend as artifacts, Proof of Compute Enclosure and Audit Trail entries as part of the lists of artifact to collect and store for at least 2-3 audit cycles.

We also concluded that Oracle Licensing Audit should not be taken lightly just as you would for any other software vendor but not special and one does not have to fear it.

This post endeavors to highlight the typical questions customers might have in their minds after reading articles on internet or talking to other colleagues or questions they might have encountered talking to licensing auditors.

Oracle Licensing Journey
During the course of my career as an Oracle DBA and Architect working on Oracle technologies, Oracle licensing was one of the facets of a DBA life I had to go through and really , nothing has changed much.

Working as the Oracle Technologies pre-sales Lead in VMware since 2012 and being the lead Oracle pre-sales field guy, talking to customers and clarifying their questions about Oracle licensing on VMware SDDC is one of my charters.

Let’s start with the most frequently heard questions from customers and we will work our way down.

1) We have been told we will have to license all ESXi servers in Cluster in local site because
a. Oracle counts VMware as a soft partition technology
b. VMware DRS might migrate Oracle VM/s to all nodes in the cluster

This question has been clarified in the first blog post

To summarize, two things to keep in mind about the “Oracle Partitioning Policy”

“Oracle Partitioning Policy” is NOT referenced in any way in the OLSA/OMA and hence is not an artifact in any Oracle Licensing discussion
Read the disclaimer in the document “This document is for educational purposes only and provides guidelines regarding Oracle’s policies in effect as of April 5, 2016. It may not be incorporated into any contract and does not constitute a contract or a commitment to any specific terms

2) Oracle licensing requires licensing every server in every Site connected to the Primary site where the Oracle workloads primarily resides, starting from vSphere 6.0 because of the cross vCenter vMotion capability.

This question has been clarified in the first blog post

As we already know, there are only 3 documents which are contractual and relevant for any Oracle licensing discussion and contractual:

– Technical Support Policy
– Processor Core Factor Table
– Oracle License and Service Agreement (OLSA)  / Oracle Master Agreement(OMA)
The OLSA/OMA defines Processor as “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.”

Notice the use of the word “are, running ”, they are all in the present tense and indicates current usage, not future usage or proposed usage. The above line does not contain words like ‘could, would, might, may’ or any future probable sense.

What this tell us is that we only need pay for current usage, not what can be used!! So just because we have a cross vCenter vMotion capability does not mean we will go ahead and start vMotioning the Oracle VM’s all days long between sites.

The 2nd series of this blog post talks about creating a “Compute Enclosure” i.e. dedicated vSphere Cluster for Oracle workloads which will prevent vMotion events outside the vSphere Cluster.

To summarize, if this were true in the wildest dreams, it would require us to license EVERY existing vSphere host in EVERY datacenter and cloud , be that yours or a company down the street as vCenter’ s and SSO domains are not an obstacle to vMotion. And by this faulty logic we would need to license every host in the galaxy, good luck with that!!