Research with Campaign for Clear Licensing members earlier in the year suggested that chargeable features such as options and packs being switched on during upgrades was a real issue.
It appears that upgrading Oracle database 12c includes this auto-enrollment risk:
As Mark Flynn, CEO of the Campaign for Clear Licensing suggests in his recent blog post on Computer Weekly:
“Many Oracle customers will be looking forward to this in-memory feature that greatly increase database query time but it may expose many companies to unnecessary risk and unplanned costs. An Oracle DBA performing routine upgrade work may unwittingly expose their organization to $23,000 per processor licensing costs.”
This form of auto-enrolment to chargeable features is not exactly customer friendly. It’s rather like selling a chain saw without a safety guard. Yes, strictly speaking it is the responsibility of the chain saw operator for their safety – but the manufacturer can put steps in place to protect the customer from unnecessary risk.
“Oracle customers cannot cite blog posts when being audited. It appears that Oracle may be suggesting you only need to pay for it if you activate it – yet typical Oracle contracts state it will be based on installed and running.
I am also surprised they are trying to charge for an enhancement.
Even the above blog states “Oracle Database In-Memory is not a bolt on technology to the Oracle Database. It has been seamlessly integrated into the core of the database”.
Oracle is free to charge what it wants to new customers, but existing customers should not pay a 2nd time for this.”
“Reading through the documentation, it shows you how to actually make use of the feature. You need to set the INMEMORY_SIZE to something other than the default which is 0. The INMEMORY_QUERY parameter just says that you are allowed to query from the In –memory column store if objects have been included.
The blog post and documentation has initially appeased our Oracle DBA’s somewhat but I am still understanding how auditable the Oracle features are. If for instance the initial pass of our audits shows the feature is on will this mean we need to look at deeper settings to determine if the feature is actually in use? It looks that way for now. Also, the Oracle DBA’s will need to understand the cost implications of all features otherwise they may inadvertently place the company outside of compliance to the tune of a major budgeting surprise.
Oracle features have never been ideal from an auditing and compliance control perspective with the management packs also hitting our servers in a potentially non-compliant situation. This has definitely put us on alert while we bolster our auditing scripts and I am looking forward to learning more over the coming months as we try to lock it down.”
From a license compliance and risk perspective; Oracle is a loaded gun. Organizations should take steps to ensure they minimize their exposure to unplanned spend and audit penalties by taking a number of best practice steps:
Learn more and support the Campaign for Clear Licensing here: www.clearlicensing.org