How Exposed are Your Oracle VMware Clusters to Licensing Fines?

by bluemedora_editor on June 4, 2013

The move to multi-core processors has exposed many businesses to Oracle VMware licensing risks. VMware states:

This policy updates the definition of a “Processor” in the VMWARE MASTER END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT to mean a single, physical chip that houses no more than the number of processor cores as defined by the description of the Software licensed, and set forth in the license portal or applicable documentation for the Software. Your use of the Software is limited to Processor with up to six (6) cores, except for the following Software editions in which your use of the Software is limited to Processor with up to twelve (12) cores: VMware vSphere Advanced and VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus.

From a licensing perspective, it is vital that your business fully understands how its VMware servers are structured, in order to ensure that an accurate count is taken of the multi-core processors in use. Failure to obtain this knowledge could mean that Oracle virtual licensing, when applied to your existing server deployments, is not valid and could result in a fine.

Oracle audits look closely at the underlying server platforms on which VMware machines are running. An Oracle VMware license is closely tied not only to the processors in use, but also to any additional processors that may come into use if a VM is moved. Does your business have an exhaustive map of its servers and processors? This is a requirement of valid Oracle VMware licensing.

According to the Oracle Software Investment Guide:

The number of required licenses shall be determined by multiplying the total number of cores of the processor by a core processor licensing factor specified on the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table which can be accessed at….

All cores on all multi-core chips for each licensed program are to be aggregated before multiplying by the appropriate core processor licensing factor and all fractions of a number are to be rounded up to the next whole number. When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to an occupied socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket.

Every business is responsible for producing a comprehensive overview of its current server deployments, and how these platforms are being utilized with VMware. Tracking of existing deployments of Oracle workloads is vital, but so is understanding how workloads grow and move across your server landscape. This insight is critical for avoiding costly Oracle VMware licensing issues, now and in the future.


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