In my original article on the FUD around Oracle Licensing and Support titled Fight the FUD – Oracle Licensing and Support on VMware vSphere I discussed the Oracle Partitioning Guide and it’s relevance to VMware environments. I provided a link directly to the document on the Oracle web site so that you could all read directly from the source. What I didn’t highlight in my article at the time was that Oracle constantly updates that document without notice and without changing file name or version numbers. My records indicate that it’s been changed three times in the past 3 years. Why is this important? Read on to find out.
FUD #6 – Oracle Partitioning Guide Now Covers VMware Clusters
The Partitioning Guide has been updated on the following dates as far as I’ve been tracking – January 2011, December 2011 and September 2012. Each time subtle changes have been made and unless you were paying attention they would be hard to catch. Is this a big deal? Well no it’s not, and I’ll explain why, but first a word on how Oracle Sales Reps are using this new revision.
Your Oracle Account Manager may try and use the latest version to try and convince you that you need to license an entire VMware cluster, even if you are not installing or running Oracle on all the hosts of said cluster . Why? Because the document now contains the word ‘cluster’. However the word ‘cluster’ is not defined. This document is still completely irrelevant. Why is it irrelevant? Because this document is for educational purposes only and does not appear in your OLSA, which is the legally binding contract that you’ve signed with Oracle. Only the documents referenced at The Oracle License and Service Agreement Page are included in your OLSA, the Partitioning Guide is not one of the documents listed or referenced. Provided you following the terms of your contract, which is also outlined in the Oracle Software Investment Guide (another educational only document), then you will be licensed for all hosts where Oracle is installed and/or running.That is all you are required to do.
The OLSA does not say you must license every host where Oracle might possibly at some point in the future be installed and/or run, else you would have to license every host in your datacenter. Do you need to license all hosts connected into every SAN where Oracle is installed and/or run? NO! You must license the hosts were Oracle IS installed and/or run. As soon as a VM comes onto an unlicensed host, or Oracle is installed and/or run on an unlicensed host, then you must license that host, end of story.
Remember that your OLSA contract, which is legally binding and is executed by you and Oracle, is the only document that matters. It replaces all prior agreements both verbal and written. It is the only authoritative source that you need to reference when architecting your environments. Provided you license complete hosts then you have nothing to fear (baring configuration errors) and can proceed with confidence. Once a complete host or hosts is/are licensed you can run an unlimited number of Oracle VM’s on them provided you have sufficient physical capacity.
The only scenario where you can have an unlicensed host in the cluster and make use of it for Oracle is where you are using a dedicated host for failure, and you only use this host for failure events, which will leverage the 10 day rule. If you want to use a dedicated host for failure you must select this in the VMware HA Admission Control settings specifically. This is instead of using a number of hosts for failure or a percentage for admission control. The tradeoff is that this dedicated failure host can’t be used to run VM’s during normal operations. This is a small tradeoff in some environments when you consider the cost of software licenses, but you should also consider how many databases you can run per server and the license efficiency gains of that alone when you are choosing your admission control and cluster designs. For example instead of having a dedicated failover host have one less host but use all resources all of the time and take a potential performance hit during maintenance and failure, while benefitting from using all the capacity during normal operations (most of the time). The right decision will depend on your environment.
Making License Compliance Easier and More Visible in VMware Environments
The same company I wrote about in my article DBA’s Don’t Lose Sight Of Your Databases When You Virtualize Oracle, i.e. Blue Medora is not just providing great insights into Virtual Infrastructure Performance in Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c but is now also looking to provide ongoing License Compliance in VMware vSphere environments when running virtualized Oracle databases by way of an Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Licensing Compliance Plug-in also. This aim of this plug-in is to greatly simplify running Oracle on VMware when it comes to license compliance and remaining compliant. It aims to provide both proactive and reactive mechanisms to prevent Oracle license compliance issues and will include support for sub-cluster configurations, as per FUD #1, #5 and #6 (above).
The main capabilities of the plug-in, which is in beta now, are as follows:
- Reduces the risk of overdeploying Oracle licenses within VMware Clusters via real-time metric, pro-active alerting, and a historical audit trail of Oracle workload placement within VMware
- Mapping of virtualized Oracle workloads to the physical VMware ESXi hosts that have been licensed for Oracle use
- Detection, alerting, and remediation recommendations for vMotion and DRS Host Affinity related configuration issues that could allow a Oracle workload to move to a non-Oracle licensed ESXi host
- Provide suggestions for improved license optimization of VMware virtualized Oracle workloads
If you are interested in getting onto the beta then you can sign up at the plugin page. If you want to compare this to other tools you can also check out iQuate IQSonar. iQuate doesn’t integrate with Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c like the Blue Medora plug-in does, but it is an Oracle LMS Validated Tool for license compliance. I’m sure that the Blue Medora tool will also go through Oracle LMS validation at the appropriate time and it would be worth while checking it out and providing feedback.
Oracle presents a constant stream FUD that is great inspiration for articles on the topic of licensing and support. A lot of the Oracle Account Managers believe what they’re telling you. Like in my previous article Fight the FUD: Virtualization of Oracle Evolves to Best Practice for Production Systems by David Floyer, where the Oracle Account Manger told me Oracle would enforce their policies at any cost even if they’re not in the contract. It is up to all of us to keep them honest and to fight the FUD. Keep up the good fight!
[Updated 16/07/2015] If you want to listen a highly authoritative webinar from leading industry authorities on this topic I would recommend you check out Straight Talk On Oracle On VMware Licensing.
This post first appeared on the Long White Virtual Clouds blog at longwhiteclouds.com, by Michael Webster +. Copyright © 2013 – IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.