When buying licenses for Oracle, the first year support is mostly part of the deal. After that, a Customer may decide to stop paying for the yearly technical support of the Oracle licenses. The consequences of that decision is not always clear to customers. Most OLSA’s will contain the sentence “If you decide not to purchase technical support, you may not update any unsupported program licenses with new versions of the program.”
This is correct, but there is more to think of. This post will cover the elements that should be considered when deciding on stopping the support.
The Technical Support Policy of Oracle clarifies a bit more of what actions a customer is not entitled to do when stopping the support:
Customers with unsupported programs are not entitled to download, receive, or apply updates, maintenance releases, patches, telephone assistance, or any other technical support services for unsupported programs.
This means the software instantly become legacy, AND a substantial risk. The Oracle software will not be upgraded or patched, the environment (O.S., client software, middleware, other connected software) does. With the possible effect the application might not work in the future.
However Oracle claims that the departments Support, Accountmanagement and LMS acts more or less seperated and will not share this kind of information, it is naive to assume that the decision of stopping support of (part of) the Oracle licenses has no consequences regarding the rank of the customer on LMS’s list for submitting an audit.
Matching Service Levels
The support of the license to be stopped could be part of a socalled ‘subset’. Then the following rule applies according to the Support Policy:
You may desupport a subset of licenses in a license set only if you agree to terminate that subset of licenses.
The definition of a license subset is quite a definition, but here are two examples:
Oracle Database Enterprise Edition with RAC, Diagnostic and Tuning Pack.
Weblogic Suite with SOA Suite
So stopping support of the options is a ‘Matching Service Level’ – thing, what LMS will translate as incompliancy, and the chance that My Oracle Support is not willing to help when submitting a Service Request.
Support of Oracle software is related to CSI-numbers, and there may be several CSI-numbers in one contract. And a customer may have more contracts, all with ther own negotiated discounts. The following line in the Support Policy is important when stopping support of a line-item :
Pricing for support is based upon the level of support and the volume of licenses for which support is ordered. In the event that a subset of licenses on a single order is terminated or if the level of support is reduced, support for the remaining licenses on that license order will be priced at Oracle’s list price for support in effect at the time of termination or reduction minus the applicable standard discount.
This is ‘Repricing’, also called ‘Pricing following Reduction ‘. So, the updated support renewal, then, would be recalculated at a less optimal discount. Ending up being no savings – just less product on support for the same costs. This is mostly the case of terminating a license and not for terminating support (however this is a ‘reduced level of support’), but it’s important to know.
Terminating a license within a CSI-number – in stead of stopping support – is in some cases by the way not a reason for repricing. E.g. when there has been a reorganisation of contracts in the past.
When a customer decides – for what reason – to reinstate the support, there will be a reinstatement-fee.
The reinstatement fee is computed as follows:
a) if technical support lapsed, then the reinstatement fee is 150% of the last annual technical support fee you paid for the relevant program;
b) if you never acquired technical support for the relevant programs, then the reinstatement fee is 150% of the net technical support fee that would have been charged
Stopping support of a productline also has a peculiar effect on products, running on engineered systems.
The lifecycle managment of engineered systems are maintained by so-called ‘bundle-patches’. These bundle-patches contains patches of storage-firmware, bios-updates, o.s-updates, and .. Oracle software patches.
So, when stopping Oracle support you still receive the database and middleware-patches through the bundle-patches, which is not allowed. And however it could be possible to not use these patches, it will break the life cycle managment of the engineered system. I don’t think this is advisable.
The prerequisites of making a decision like this:
- An overview of all the Oracle contracts at your firm, what seems pretty obvious, but takes quite an effort sometimes.
- An overview of what licences you are actually using, compared to what you are entitled to.
The OPEX (Operational of Operating Expenditures) can be decreased, in some cases substantially, but before jumping into action and conclusions, contact someone who understands the risks, and is able to look further ahead in the future, together with you.
Oracle Software Technical Support Policies : http://www.oracle.com/us/support/library/057419.pdf