The Hard and the Soft of Oracle Licensing

by bluemedora_editor on June 11, 2013

Let’s talk about some issues involved in the partitioning of your servers. Current Oracle policy recognises three types of partition: (1) a hard partition; (2) a software partition; and (3) an Oracle Trusted Partition.

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.”

Hard partitions were likely in existence when your servers were initially installed, which leaves the virtual partitions you create regularly for your VMs. These virtual partitions cause the headaches involved in Oracle virtual licensing.

Oracle states:

The operating system limits the number of CPUs where an [Oracle software] is running by creating areas where CPU resources are allocated to applications within the same operating system. The administrator can set the number of CPUs to the number of licensed CPUs. This is a flexible way of managing data processing resources since the CPU capacity can be changed fairly easily, as additional resource is needed. Examples of such partitioning type include: Solaris 9 Resource Containers, AIX Workload Manager, HP Process Resource Manager, Affinity Management, Oracle VM, VMware, etc.

Oracle also points out, however, that “soft partitioning is not permitted as a means to determine or limit the number of software licenses required for any given server.” 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.

An accurate view is crucial when a VMware deployment uses virtual partitioning, to make sure that all relevant processors are accompanied by a valid license. Ask yourself whether your VM monitoring application gives you that insight.

The Blue Medora Oracle Enterprise Manager Plugin for Oracle on VMware Licenses provides fully integrated, continuous monitoring of virtualized Oracle workloads on  VMware-based virtualization environments.

To learn more, visit the plugin product page or signup for the beta today.

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