During VMworld 2012 the discussion about how to license Oracle on vSphere flared up again. I’ve written about this subject a couple times (make sure to read this and this article if you are new to Oracle licensing on vSphere). Fortunately I was able to attend session APP-BCA1751 “Virtualizing Oracle to Save on Licensing Costs” at VMworld 2012, which gave some additional information on the subject.
Daniël Hesselink of License Consulting, an Oracle license expert, presented some interesting insights on licensing Oracle on vSphere. The information in this article is from VMworld 2012 session APP-BCA1751.
As you might know Oracle is offering various documents (e.g. the Software Investments Guide or SIG) which describe how to deal with Oracle licensing. The funny thing is: these documents don’t have any legal value, because of Oracle’s own disclaimer in the document (this one is taken from the SIG):
“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 Oracle Corporation. All Rights Reserved.”
So the question is; which document contains information about how to license Oracle. The one and only document is your OSLA (Oracle License and Service Agreement). This document tells you that you [only] have to license all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running on. It’s that simple. Note: don’t forget the core factor :).
Oracle can and will carry out an audit at the customer site to see if you have correctly licensed your Oracle solution. That’s okay of course, you’re using their products so you have to pay for it. Oracle can test your solutions and they can see on which (physical) processor your application has run (they use a so called foot print). So: As long that you can proof, e.g. by means of an audit trail/log files, that a VM running an Oracle application is limited on which servers it can run, you’re okay. It doesn’t matter which technology (separate Oracle cluster, DRS groups) you implement to limit which ESXi servers are used.
Note: Oracle doesn’t officially support DRS groups, they are just not interested in which technology you use. Do you understand the nuance?
So, when this is the case and licensing is that simple; why is there no unambiguous document available. Good question; I don’t have the answer. Nevertheless, I hope this information will help you in determining the best option for your environment. Maybe you should contact Daniël if you have additional questions.
Note: Always check with your Oracle vendor if you’ve got things correctly licensed, the purpose of this article is just to inform you about the subject and of course I take no liability.