Effective Oracle Deployment – Understand Where to Invest Your Money

June 1, 2016


Brian Lowinger

SAM Oracle Compliance Consultant at SoftwareONE SoftwareONE The University of Montana Linkedin

While much can be debated about Oracle, most customers agree that they develop great software. And what is beyond debate is that Oracle software is expensive! A perusal of Oracle’s global technology price list is enough to make the deepest-pocketed procurement executive weak in the knees.

Deploying Oracle programs represents a serious investment for most companies, and incremental purchases mean not only expensive licenses but also additional support costs in perpetuity. Because Oracle licenses are so expensive, customers running Oracle should seek to get the most mileage from the licenses they own before spending more with Oracle. In this post, we provide some guidance on how to deploy Oracle efficiently.

A basic principle of smart Oracle deployment is that customers should seek to deploy programs on as few licensable cores as possible. Because most Oracle tech programs are licensed by the number of cores where the program is installed or running, fewer cores means fewer licenses you need to use or buy. And that can mean a lot less money spent on Oracle.

Luckily for customers, Oracle has certified some technologies as valid ways to segment a physical server so that Oracle programs can be limited to a subset of the server’s cores. Oracle refers to the practice of using these technologies as ‘hard partitioning.’ When a server is hard partitioned in a way that is accepted by Oracle, only the cores where Oracle is installed/running require licenses.

Oracle’s partitioning policy document outlines the valid hard partitioning technologies. You can be assured that anything not expressly identified as hard partitioning in this document will not be recognized as such by Oracle. Segmenting servers using hard partitioning technologies is a great way to reduce the number of costly Oracle licenses needed.

Don’t deploy Oracle in a VMware environment

While a valid hard partitioning strategy can limit the number of licenses required, virtualization technologies that are not recognized by Oracle as hard partitioning can have the opposite effect.  Running Oracle within a VMware environment is the most infamous example of this.

Because a VMware virtual machine running Oracle may be migrated between physical hosts, Oracle considers all hosts where the VM could potentially run to be licensable, regardless of where Oracle runs at any point in time and regardless of what VMware features may be used to restrict migration. This dynamic often means that dozens or even hundreds of servers become licensable in Oracle’s view.  Generally speaking, customers interested in limiting or reducing the number of Oracle licenses should avoid deploying Oracle in VMware.

Choose the right hardware to maximize your Oracle core efficiency

Again, for most Oracle technology programs, licensing requirements are determined by the number of processor cores. For this reason, it may make sense for customers to seek hardware with fewer, high-throughput cores, rather than machines with a high number of cores. In fact, some hardware vendors offer low core count servers for this very type of license efficiency. Selecting servers with a low number of highly productive cores is a great way to limit Oracle licensing costs.

Additionally, customers may opt to run Oracle programs on processors for which Oracle has assigned a lower core factor. The core factor is a multiple that Oracle uses to determine the number of licenses required for a given make and model of multi-core processor. The higher the core factor, the more cores that require licenses. A lower core factor, conversely, means fewer licenses required. Oracle’s core factor table provides more detail around this concept.

Deploy Oracle software wisely to save exponentially

As each additional Oracle license will carry a hefty price tag, it makes good sense to scrutinize whether or not your Oracle environment is optimally deployed.  Following good deployment practices can save organizations huge amounts of money on Oracle, and can protect against the prospect of failing an audit. To learn more about Oracle best practices, click on the banner below to contact a SoftwareONE Oracle specialist.

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