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oracle liscensing basics

Posted on 2014-01-27
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How does oracle liscensing work, for say oracle RDBMS.

Is it the same as Microsoft server line of products, whereby you need a liscence for the actual oracle RDBMS software, and then CAL's (client access liscences) based on how many users are accessing the database at once?

And when you purchase the liscence, what exactly do oracle give you in terms of a receipt? Will it be obvious what the liscence agreement entails?
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Question by:pma111
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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 250 total points
ID: 39812173
Oracle offers two types of licenses (last time I actually checked):  Named User and CPU.

CPU is also by core but not a 1-1.  Google around there is a lot of, confusing, information out there on what a "named user" is and now Oracle licenses CPU/Cores.

They change these from time to time and they are always just as confusing.

>>what exactly do oracle give you in terms of a receipt?

I've never received anything that resembles a license.  Doesn't mean they don't offer them.

You will get a CSI (Customer Support Identifier) and from that you can get a report that shows you what you are licensed for.  Last time I got one it was called a CSI Detail Report.
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by:pma111
ID: 39812182
could in theory you just download oracle and install it? Or is there some form of activation once you download oracle , i.e. liscence key before the software is fully functional? I dont get what they do to discourage liscence problems unless there is some way of activating the software..
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812196
It's not just theory:  Oracle is fully functional from the download.  They have a very generous education and development license that allows you to learn and test-drive any of their products.

There are no keys or limitations or eval versions.

The discouragement comes from a potential lawsuit if they catch you running illegal software.

Before you ask:  I don't think their software 'phones home'  to self report unless you tell it that it can for 'support' reasons.

It also internally logs option usage for many of the optional add-ons that require extra licensing so they can tell if an option has been used in a particular database.
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by:pma111
ID: 39812206
I will check some links out shortly, but I assume "named user" is similar to a Microsoft CAL, i.e.  30 concurrent connections to the DB at any time, means you need 30 named users? And I assume within Oracle there are queries you can run to see how many current connecitons are accessing the DB at any one time?
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812209
I suppose I should add that a potential discouragement is that you need a CSI and paid up support contract for Patches and the ability to get support from Oracle.

Patches are the bigger deal.
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812215
>>"named user" is similar to a Microsoft CAL, i.e.  30 concurrent connections to the DB at any time, means you need 30 named users?

Not concurrent, named.  You will need to check but the last time I did MANY MANY years ago, no.

It was per user by specific name:  For example:  Bob is licensed.  If Bob wasn't there, that doesn't mean Fred can use it.

This may have changed over the years.
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by:pma111
ID: 39812216
so no liscence = no ability to download the latest security patches
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812222
>>so no liscence = no ability to download the latest security patches

Correct.
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by:pma111
ID: 39812226
However in a big infrastructure, if say you have 50 servers with oracle installed, if you pay for/liscence oracle installed on 5 of those, could you in theory download the patches via your support agreements for those 5 and install them against the 45 you havent liscenced? Or is it not that simple?
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by:pma111
ID: 39812237
That seems a bizarre liscensing model. As if say a senior DBA or data analyst moved on, they would typically be replaced, and thus "one out one in" you'd think they'd let you recycle the liscences on a more "concurrent" type arrangement. Thanks for the advice though.
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812257
>>However in a big infrastructure
I sort of hate to answer that and violate the TOU of this site...

I suppose if you really want to violate the law, I cannot think of anything that would keep you from doing that.

Think of it like using 'hacked' Windows licenses or any other illegal software.

>>you'd think they'd let you recycle the liscences on a more "concurrent" type arrangement.

I believe you can transfer them under the old model.  Again, they may have changed the way the named user license works.

Now that I've typed that, I'm thinking it might have relaxed to mean a specific physical machine (keyboard).

I'm pretty sure you still cannot run an Internet website with named user licenses where only the licensed number of users can connect at one time since you cannot 'name' the machine using the license.

Confused yet?  Told you, Oracle licensing changes all the time and every time, is still confusing.

Best to contact Oracle directly for things like this.  They are the ones that know what it is 'today'.
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by:pma111
ID: 39812275
I wasnt after tips for violations just trying to establish if it was actually do-able as a cost cutting excercise! Thanks for the advice though I'll get reading...
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812293
>>I wasnt after tips for violations just trying to establish

I realize that.  However, pointing out ways to circumvent software licensing can be seen as sort of 'hacking' and against the site rules.

It's a gray line that I think we have walked right up to...

>>if it was actually do-able as a cost cutting excercise!

If you wish to cut costs by knowingly breaking the law, I'm sure there are many other ways!!!
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by:pma111
ID: 39812325
Just one more though, if named user is based on actual employees. Can you determine easily enough which users are connected an oracle DB at any given time, usernames and total count? or if its just a total head count, there must be someway of determining how  many concurrent connections exist in your database at a given time?
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812347
You can get 'connections' through several views.  Mainly v$session (also tracks the database's connections themselves.  Known as server processes).

Going from memory (and it is very old and rusted when it comes to licensing).

The issue here is it is "named user" not "number of connections".  One "user" can open as many connections as they want.

I'm just sketchy on the current definition of "user".  I'm confident that it isn't just any old machine on the planet (the website example above).  Just not sure how granular it currently is.
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by:Geert Gruwez
Geert Gruwez earned 250 total points
ID: 39812358
they actually have any model for contracting that will fit your needs
be it by cpu, by user, by freight container or whatever

the best thing for you is to check with oracle and ask for a sales rep

he'll actually find you the solution that's best for your money
a reduction cost also depends on how "big" your order is/will be

licensing is for a company, not for the number of company dba's on the payroll
if the only dba leaves the house with all the access codes to oracle support,
you can call them and they will reset all the accounts for that oracle license
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by:pma111
ID: 39812364
I think that ties in with microsofts liscensing model, i.e. on exchange server, if a user has 1 or 10 mailboxes, as they are one user it essentially means 1 liscence required. as opposed a mailbox liscence count.
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812368
Looks like they now call it "Named User Plus".

The current definition is here:
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/olsadef-ire-v122304-070549.pdf
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812375
>>they actually have any model for contracting that will fit your needs

Actually a great point and I should have mentioned it earlier.

If you contact Oracle and they say 'they cannot do that', just mention "SQL Server is cheaper if I were to do ..." and Oracle will likely invent a new license just for you.
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by:Geert Gruwez
ID: 39812378
"30 named user" is 30 different people connecting to the db

if you have 100 external people but only 10 ever work on your systems maximum then theoretically you'd need 30 + 10.

again, your sales rep is best advisor

look at it from their point of few
> a lawsuite can take years before they see money
or
> if they can convince you to pay the least amount of what you think is good, you'll both be happy.  they get money, and you don't spend as much as you thought

small print evaluation version
> it's only for 30 days for 1 person
after that it's like SAP: Start And Pay
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by:pma111
ID: 39812387
Is the defintion of a user though, someone with an entry/username in dba_users, regardless of whether one person has, 1, 2 or 20 accounts in dba_users, is that what oracle considers a user object? I'm struggling to determine what kind of "access" to the database requires a liscence?
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812391
>>"30 named user" is 30 different people connecting to the db

Granted, it will take a lawyer to decipher license docs.

The way I read it:  But not "ANY 30 different people"
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812398
>>Is the defintion of a user though, someone with an entry/username in dba_users

Yes and no.

See the link I provided on the definition of a "named user plus" and see how you decipher it.

See 'devices'?  10 people access an intranet site from their desktop('device') and the intranet site connects to the database with a 'common' database account.

One entry for the app in dba_users but 10 people "using" Oracle.

>>I'm struggling to determine what kind of "access" to the database requires a liscence?

You and just about everyone that has ever dealt with Oracle licensing!!!
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by:Geert Gruwez
ID: 39812426
>> You and just about everyone that has ever dealt with Oracle licensing!!!

add the oracle sales rep too ... :)
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39812523
>>add the oracle sales rep too ... :)

lol... AGREED!
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