If you are leveraging your Oracle deployments across VMware machines, you need to pay close attention to the partitioning of servers. Failure to do so could mean a hefty fine at the next Oracle audit.
Current Oracle partitioning policy recognises three types of partition: (1) a hard partition; (2) a software partition; and (3) an Oracle Trusted Partition. Most servers have a number of hard partitions to enable administrators to more easily manage larger data centers.
Oracle Trusted Partitions permit the use of Oracle VM Server (OVM) as a means to limit the number of Oracle processor licenses; that is, to license a sub-capacity of total physical cores. In addition, Oracle’s Trusted Partitions policy requires the use of Oracle Enterprise Manager. If both of these conditions are met, the partition is deemed a “Trusted Partition.”
For administrators, it is vital that the definition of an Oracle Trusted Partition is clearly understood. Oracle states:
For the purposes of licensing Oracle programs in a Trusted Partition, each virtual CPU (vCPU) is counted as equivalent to a physical core. Licenses must be procured in full socket equivalents, in other words, increments equal to the number of cores in a single socket of that machine, e.g., if there are six cores per socket, the customer must add licenses in increments of six cores. The customer is required to license the highest number of vCPUs running at any given time (highwater mark), however they are not required to license more than the total number of physical cores in the machine.
When it comes to Oracle on VMware licensing, soft partitions cause the most problems. Oracle has declared that “soft partitioning is not permitted as a means to determine or limit the number of software licenses required for any given server.”
It is vital that a complete overview of the hard and soft partition mix is produced in order to ensure that the correct number of Oracle on VMware licenses is in place. Essentially, all the CPUs in an Oracle VMware server must be licensed when soft partitioning is in use. Soft partitioning is popular because, as with Live Migration, it can improve the overall performance of any given virtual machine deployment, especially when multiple VMs are consolidated.
To ensure airtight Oracle VMware licensing, you must have a full and accurate view of the hard and soft partitioning mix that is running on any given data center. More importantly, it must be monitored as load balancing changes the configuration. This could have a huge impact on Oracle on VMware licensing for your business.