I have written about the Oracle FUD when it comes to virtualized environments quite a bit before. Now it appears there is some new FUD circulating that might catch out unsuspecting customers. There is a new Phantom Menace from Oracle. This time it is to do with their interpretation of some new capabilities in VMware vSphere 5.1 and above. As with all the previous FUD it is very easy to combat. You simply and calmly ask your Oracle representative to show you the page in your contact, which is the legally binding and enforceable document that replaces all prior verbal and written agreement, where this new policy exists. It simply does not exist (unless you’ve been suckered into accepting some non-standard wording to your disadvantage). So what is this new FUD? Let’s take a look.
This only applies to per processor based licensing, if you are not using per processor based licensing this isn’t relevant for you, although named user plus in some contracts has a minimum number of users that must be licensed per processor. It is best to check the actual wording of your contact as it may differ from others including the publicly available Oracle contact here. Tobias reported the FUD in my articles titled Fight the FUD – Oracle Licensing and Support on VMware vSphere and Return of the FUD – Oracle Licensing on VMware vSphere. It refers to an post on the VMware Communities site here. But let me summarise this for you.
Oracle is trying to suggest that because in vSphere 5.1 and above you can migrate VM’s across hosts without a requirement for shared storage that you must license all hosts visible to a vCenter, where any host(s) are running Oracle software. So they’re trying to say you have to license hosts in the same vCenter, even if they don’t have Oracle software running on them, and regardless if they share storage or not. This is just as ridiculous as Oracle trying to say that you have to license every host that is connected to the same shared storage platform if one of the hosts connected to said platform has Oracle running on it (this has been tried before). Both are a pure fiction and do not appear as a requirement of a customer contract, unless there is some custom wording in the contract that has managed to get past the legal and procurement department of a customers organisation without them noticing.
Standard Oracle contracts require that customers license all processors where Oracle is installed and/or running. Not where it might at some time in the future be installed and/or running. This is also spelled out in the Oracle Software Investment Guide. You must license every host that runs Oracle software, it’s that simple. If you migrate Oracle software to a new host, you must have a license for that host. But if Oracle software will never run on a particular host, you do not have to license it. The actual wording from the contract linked above says the following: “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.” You do not have to license any processors or hosts where Oracle software is not running. It’s that simple. End of story.
The SIG also includes wording that may be similar to the following: This document is for educational purposes only and provides guidelines regarding policies in effect as of <some date>. 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. Therefore it is not part of your contract. The only documents that form part of your contract are those documents included in and referred to as part of your contract. Such as those referred to from the various links on the Oracle Contracts Page.
The wording in a customers contract also includes a statement to the effect that the contract, once duly signed by both parties, replaces all prior agreements both verbal and written. Therefore it is the sole source of truth as to what a customer is required to do, and is legally binding and enforceable. So if an Oracle Rep says something such as you must license every host in your environment or that is connected to the same storage, even if Oracle software isn’t running and will never run on said host, then simply calmly ask them where it says that in your contract. Ask them to point out the page and paragraph where it says that. If there is no such page or paragraph in your contract then you have you answer. The requirement does not exist. The actual wording in the contract from section L is as follows:
“L. Entire Agreement
IRE_OLSA_V120103_Def_V122304 Page 3 of 11
You agree that this agreement and the information which is incorporated into this agreement by written reference (including reference to information contained in a URL or referenced policy), together with the applicable order, are the complete agreement for the programs and/or services ordered by you, and that this agreement supersedes all prior or contemporaneous agreements or representations, written or oral, regarding such programs and/or services. If any term of this agreement is found to be invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions will remain effective. It is expressly agreed that the terms of this agreement and any Oracle ordering document shall supersede the terms in any purchase order or other non-Oracle ordering document and no terms included in any such purchase order or other non-Oracle ordering document shall apply to the programs and/or services ordered. This agreement and ordering documents may not be modified and the rights and restrictions may not be altered or waived except in a writing signed or accepted online through the Oracle Store by authorized representatives of you and of Oracle. Any notice required under this agreement shall be provided to the other party in writing.”
If you don’t have ready access to an Oracle OLSA agreement here are two publicly available versions you can refer to and become familiar with, note your individual contract wording may differ. November 2011 – City of Oceanside, December 2012 and this standard version from the Oracle web site (also linked to above).
It is up to you to understand the contracts and legal obligations that you have. You should check all license agreements with your legal teams. You should not accept at face value any arbitrary statement from an Oracle Rep unless it is backed up by your signed contract. You should ask Oracle where in your contract you have agreed and are bound by what they are saying. It is the only document that matters, it is the source of truth, it replaces all prior agreements both verbal and written, and is legally binding and enforceable (once signed by both parties). Fight the FUD!
This post first appeared on the Long White Virtual Clouds blog at longwhiteclouds.com. By Michael Webster +. Copyright © 2012 – 2014 – IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.