Something about licensing. Boring for the most of us, but this may save you a lot of money…. The next is not completely new, but I never had it on writing, so found it worthfull to blog.  The following has by the way no legal status and I’m not held responsible for any claims Oracle might want to put on your company (that is, can’t afford a lawyer..)

Maybe you know the rule: When using Oracle Enterprise Edition database, and want to license by NUP’s – Named User Plus Licenses – you are bound to a minimum of 25 users per Oracle-defined processor. So using a server with one Intel-based quad-core processor (with a factor of 0,5), you have to pay for (4 * 0,5 =) 2 Oracle processors, which is equal to a minimum of 50 users.

This has  been defined in the Software Investment Guide (page 14):

Minimums for this metric may be discrete quantities, or they may be based on the number of processors in the machine on which the software will be installed and/or run. For example, the minimum for the Database Enterprise Edition, the iAS Standard Edition and the iAS Enterprise Edition is 25, 10 and 10 Named Users Plus per Processor, respectively

Let’s stick for a moment on the Enterprise Edition of the database, and the example above. When a second server (1 quad core) is added, also with an Enterprise Edition database on it you’ll have to pay for a total of 100 NUP’s.

But what if I only have got 60 users (non human operating device included) who are directly or indirectly authorized to use those two databases / nodes. Will I pay for 60 users or 100 ? To be sure I asked this question to my contact at LMS (License Management Service at Oracle).

The answer (translated):

100 NUP’s.  Like you do with a single node, you have to count the minimum number of NUP’s (in this case 100) or the number of authorized users, whichever is higher….

So far no good. It’s not saving you money.

But does the same rule applied to a Standard Edition of the database? The sentence, above mentioned, of the minimum of users you have to pay for, goes on for the Standard Edition:

Minimums for this metric may be discrete quantities, or they may be based on the number of processors in the machine on which the software will be installed and/or run. For example, the minimum for the Database Enterprise Edition, the iAS Standard Edition and the iAS Enterprise Edition is 25, 10 and 10 Named Users Plus per Processor, respectively, while the Database Standard Edition, and Standard Edition One minimums are 5 Named Users Plus.

‘While the Database Standard Editon…. are 5 Named Users Plus’.  Nothing is told if this is per Processor, node, number of users etc.

Another important part of the licensing is the following:

“Oracle Database Standard Edition can only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 4 sockets.  and :

 

Oracle Database Standard Edition, when used with Oracle Real Application Clusters, may only be licensed on a single cluster of servers supporting up to a total maximum capacity of 4 sockets.

2 questions asked to Oracle (not LMS unfortunately) to clarify all this:

1. Can Standard Edtion be used within a VMware-farm which in total consist of far more than 4 sockets?

2. The most impartant case: Suppose, I’ve got 10 servers with 2 sockets each. On every server is running a Standard Edition Database. But I’ve got only 5 users defined (NUP’s) who will be using these servers. Is it allowed for these users to use all of these servers?

The answers

1.  Yes, Oracle

Database Standard Edition is allowed to be used in a VMware-farm, as long as every fysical server in that cluster has no more than 4 sockets.

 

 

 

2. Yes, if those 10 servers for example are part of a VMware cluster, and every server has no more of 4 sockets, ánd the total number of persons and / or non-human operated devices, which are authorized to – at the multiplexing front end – (as in the NUP-definition) use the Oracle software, then this environment is allowed to be licensed by 5 NUP DB SE and are the users allowed (as the NUP definition says that a user has the right to use the software on 1 or more servers) to use the Oracle Standard Edition on the 10 servers which are part of the virtual cluster. 

The Oracle Database Standard Edition doesn’t know of a minimum Per Processor, the minimum is 5 NUP per customer / enduser.

The last sentence is the most important. When you are part of a large company, the only thing you can argue about with Oracle is the term ‘customer’. How big is the customer / department…

As said before, these are not legal statements. On the other hand, the Software Investment Guide itself has got a questionable legal status, according to the footnote:

This document is for educational purposes only and provides guidelines regarding Oracle’s policies in effect as of November 2, 2009.  It may not be incorporated into any contract and does not constitute a contract or a commitment to any specific terms. Policies and this document are subject to change without notice.  This document may not be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of Oracle Corporation. © 2002,2003 Oracle Corporation.  All Rights Reserved

With thanks to Olivier van der Post from  Amis, for asking questions to Oracle, I got an important part of this on paper from him, and Daniel Hesselink from  LicenseConsulting, who pointed me a while ago at the sentence of the Standard Edition and the footnote of the Software Investment Guide. The part of minimum 5 users per customer while using Standard Edition is also confirmed by Eric Husken of Avnet.