At Risk for an Oracle Audit? We Can Help

Review of “Licensing Oracle: Guide to Procurement & License Management of Oracle Software, Hardware, Cloud & Services” by Sheshagiri Anegondi, 2020.

by | Sep 24, 2021 | General, Licensing, Oracle, Oracle Licensing | 0 comments

As this blog post was in pre-publication review, the book’s 2020 Kindle version was removed from Amazon purchase availability and replaced with a July 9, 2021 paperback version. The defects and dangerous inaccurate claims that permeate the 2020 book predict that the 2021 version will be similarly DOA. Therefore, I’m afraid I have better things to do than to review the book again. This review and image are of the 2020 Kindle version.

, Review of “Licensing Oracle: Guide to Procurement & License Management of Oracle Software, Hardware, Cloud & Services” by Sheshagiri Anegondi, 2020.

Bottom line

Don’t buy this book. It’s dangerously and persistently inaccurate and woefully incomplete. Its $35 Kindle price tag would be questionable even if the book were usable.

Analysis

To begin with, many of the book’s licensing statements on key, fundamental concepts are inaccurate and dangerous. By that, I mean the book’s advice could end up costing you millions in alleged licensing obligations that have no merit in the governing agreement. I’ll leave my sample list of such inaccurate claims to the end of the review.

Bad advice: 18. Oracle Negotiations: Key Contract Terms: “Audit Clause: … Should be negotiated to ensure privacy, security, negotiation leeway, non-disruption of business operations & continuation of pre-paid services.” That’s absurd. Except for “negotiation leeway,” all of those are already in the governing agreement’s audit clause or the surrounding agreement.

The book is poorly written. Just two samples of countless occurrences of mangled text:

  • 34. BI & EPM: “hey have had very good products, some customers who have deployed very large analytical engines on top of the Oracle Database; but the Number One spot has always eluded them.”
  • 34.4.9: “Hyperion’s functionality was closed aligned to connecting to SAP systems.”

You’ll be glad to know that all drafting/editing of section “66 Resources & Appendix” is done because the table of contents says so:

, Review of “Licensing Oracle: Guide to Procurement & License Management of Oracle Software, Hardware, Cloud & Services” by Sheshagiri Anegondi, 2020.

Anegondi includes frequent requests to email him with information that he will then evaluate and if appropriate include in the next version of his book. This Kindle edition was $35. What’s the next version going to cost? And this one’s not worth the virtual paper it’s printed on.

The book is poorly formatted. For example, a page of columns of single word width.

There is massive, systemic distraction from the title ”Licensing Oracle,” immediately apparent with a skim of the expansive table of contents. This book is 600+ pages, with only a small fraction of them dealing with Oracle licensing. The author thought it would be interesting to tell everyone what he knows about Oracle’s history and Oracle product history. He blesses us with his opinion at 54.3 as to how well Oracle Cloud stacks up against its competitors AWS and Azure, and how little he thinks it would take for Oracle to overcome in the cloud market. All this is a distraction from what should be the book’s core message.

Anegondi is totally in the tank for Oracle. In 40.3, he admits that documents such as the Partitioning Policy document are not referenced in the contract, yet repeatedly and unapologetically states throughout the book such policies must be abided.

Want to know about lawsuits Oracle has filed? You’ll get a good, thorough overview. Want to know about lawsuits filed against Oracle? Nary the most high-level mention of any episode. But you do get this in 6.13:

None of the lawsuits faced by Oracle were lost. The cases in which Oracle has gone to court have either been decided in their favor of Oracle (sic) or are pending with favorable opinions being spelt out during the court hearings.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

While I will not comment on any of the lawsuits (there is a lot of public information available), the only point I would like to make is regarding discrimination: …

But Anegondi does comment on “any of the lawsuits”: those in which Oracle was a plaintiff. Yet there’s room for two pages of Anegondi’s observations on Ellison and sailing (10.7.3.2). Another page and a half on Ellison’s friendship with Steve Jobs, and a digression into Anegondi’s personal appreciation for Jobs while we’re at it. As soon as you think you’re done with Jobs, you’re not; Anegondi comes back to him. We get pages of memorable quotes from Larry. 75 more pages (count ‘em) on 50 key individual contributors to Oracle’s growth (11). That’s unfortunately characteristic of the book with respect to licensing; you’re basically going to get what Oracle would be happy for you to hear. 37.3: let’s quote Kevin Closson’s obligatory niceties on Exadata from his Oracle days, with nary a word of his postings since. Forget balance, let alone accuracy.

But want to know what’s going on with Siebel licensing? We don’t have time or room for that. Here’s everything Anegondi wrote on the topic:

Siebel products are complex and hence are prone to license compliance issues. I am providing below a very generic view of these issues. Those readers who might be interested in specific challenges are welcome to connect with me & I shall be happy to provide them high level advise (without charging my consulting fees).

Want to know whether you should renew your Oracle Unlimited License Amendment? In 45.12, Anegondi simplifies what I had deluded myself and our clients into believing was complex: “The decision to renew or exit should sold be solely driven by the following principle: Is there a further need for deploying a large number of licenses in the next 6-9 months after the end of the ULA term?”

You’ll be relieved to know that once you sign that Oracle deal, “…customers get what they sign up for,” and “Once signed, contractual terms will be adhered to fully.” That’s the close to 11.50.3’s heading “Safra’s Values & Its Consequences for Customers.”

And speaking of Ms. Catz, not a word about the three class action lawsuits that have been winding their way through the courts for years in which she is a defendant. Mention of these lawsuits would have been required in such a book as they have everything to do with Oracle licensing. Anegondi’s 39.1 praise for the Oracle HCM product would be an appropriate place to summarize the confidential employees’ allegations in the Amended Securities Class Action Complaint, minimally as to how awful the HCM UI was and Oracle-internal correspondence from the executive team as to how that was cratering demos and had to get fixed.

50.5: Anegondi sets me straight by letting me know that the practice of trumping up license demand through so-called “soft audits” is the doing of “some partners” whose “practice borders on the non-ethical, but it is not illegal.” Oracle Sales, my most sincere apologies.

14.4 Does Oracle value Customer Satisfaction? Don’t miss this:

“While the examples of bad salesmanship abound, it is also true that Oracle values customer satisfaction. Both from its products and employee behavior. Let me tell you a story.”

I couldn’t bring myself to read it.

50.12: Want to know how Anegondi reduced an Oracle-alleged multi-hundred-million-dollar compliance gap down to zero? You’ll have to contact him, and he’ll set up a meeting to give you the high level on it and waive his consulting fee.

There are occasional morsels of good ideas in the book, such as are littered around in 16. Oracle Negotiations: Preparation.

I’ll wrap with the promised sampling of inaccurate licensing statements:

  • 23.5. Environments to be licensed: “As discussed earlier, all systems where Oracle technology products are installed need to be licensed.” Then Anegondi follows with numerous re-statements and examples of the Oracle non-contractual claim that VMware environments need to be licensed based on a capability to live migrate there. Let alone that clients may never migrate Oracle program virtual machines to such servers.
  • 23.6.1.1. Soft and Hard Server Partitions: “Soft Partition: This is the situation where virtual machines are created in a manner by which the data processing resources can be changed fairly easily (emphasis in the original).” So, the text asserts soft partitioning is not allowed. And “It should not be possible to dynamically shift resources from one segmented machine to another.” That’s all fiction. Oracle publishes enough fiction on its own, yet Anegondi has felt and managed to fill the need to improve on Oracle’s effort to make stuff up—not an easy thing to do. The world has moved and is moving to the Software-Defined Data Center. As my colleague David Woodard has been heard to say, “Someone please show us the ease of re-configuration clause in the governing agreement.”
  • 26.2.24: “Database licensed under the Processor metric is allowed to be used by third-party users whereas this is not mentioned in the definition of the Named User Plus metric.” Nor is there any mention in the Named User Plus definition of “internal users, agents or contractors.” Taking this to the extreme, Anegondi would be saying Named User Plus is a license metric you purchase but with which you can do nothing.
  • 26.3: Database Lifecycle Management Pack and Cloud Management Pack: both read, “Needs Diagnostics Pack and Tuning Pack.” No, they don’t.
  • 23.9. Test Environments: “For testing of physical copies of backups, the customer is allowed to use a test server for a period not exceeding 3 days in a calendar year.” Rather, that’s four test episodes per year, not to exceed two days per test.
  • 24.3: “You cannot deploy some products with Processor Metrics and some with NUP on the same server.” Oh, yes, you can. For example, the governing agreement does not preclude licensing Database in the Named User Plus metric and WebLogic in the Processor metric on the same server.
  • 46.21 on reducing support expenditure is fundamentally inaccurate and dangerous.
  • 17.5.3 Cancel & Replace: “Customers wish to terminate all the licenses they own and purchase fresh licenses at lower prices … Oracle needs to approve such a transaction.” Rather, nothing in the governing agreement prohibits a customer from unilaterally terminating and replacing.

I trust that sampling is sufficient to persuade innocent parties to not buy this book. I’d go on but I’m not here to provide Mr. Anegondi the errata for the next version of his book.

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