Data is one of the most valuable assets of a company – but this does not mean that you have to pay more than necessary for software storing and managing your data.
If there is a software that can be found in any SME or larger company, it is Oracle’s database manager. It is no coincidence that in an increasingly data-driven economy, collecting and analyzing corporate data is the foundation of business success, and one of the tools for that is the database manager. Oracle licenses typically represent a significant part of enterprise software assets, emphasizes Balázs Repkényi, the Oracle expert at IPR-Insights.
However, this software asset carries special risks because it is a very complex task to manage licenses. In the case of Oracle database manager, not only the installed features determine the license requirement, but also the hardware environment and internal configuration settings. Unintended use of premium options can be a significant headache for users. What’s more, an investigation by La Fiscalía Nacional Económica (FNE), the National Economic Prosecutor of Chile a few years ago found that options were automatically installed in 64 percent of the cases examined, while users were unaware that they would have to pay an additional license fee, Balázs Repkényi recalls. Such unlicensed use can linger for a long time, which carries significant financial risk.
Compared to other vendors, it is an unpleasant fact that Oracle does not allow selective product support purchases: it enforces the all-or-nothing principle within a product family. This is, for example, a painful and unnecessary expense for systems maintained for compliance. Another common complaint is that in the case of expired or previously not purchased support, Oracle applies a 50 percent surcharge in addition to the outstanding fees to restore product support.
Because compliance is a particularly serious challenge for which a vendor tool is not available (not like in the case of IBM), and the degree of risk, as well as its value, can be significant, an independent tool that fully respects Oracle’s licensing rules can help to track current product usage and license requirements. IPR-Insights, therefore, developed ORCA for SAM-Insights (ORCA stands for Oracle Compliance Analyzer).
In the first step, the software collects data (reads the output data of the data collection scripts) and then analyzes the hardware and database data found in them. From these data, it calculates actual software usage and assists in detecting suspicious option usage. Then it identifies the necessary license requirement based on actual usage and hardware environment, according to the strictest interpretation of the rules. The license requirement calculated in this way is exactly what an Oracle audit would reveal based on the usage agreement, so the user can avoid unpleasant surprises. However, there is usually an optimization reserve in the environment that could reduce future licensing demands, adds the expert of IPR-Insights.
By using ORCA, the Oracle customer can always be aware of what should be licensed and what are the license and cost implications. Not only does it make the company’s software needs and software usage picture transparent from an audit point of view, but it also warns of risks by detecting possible changes. This way, it can provide support so that the company does not push itself into significant, unplanned costs, not even by accident. IPR-Insights already has plans to develop ORCA further. This includes fully automated data collection, support for optimization scenarios, and ultimately the extension of functionality to other Oracle products.