by Jeff Stonacek, Principal Architect
Oracle licensing is a very complex topic. To further complicate things, different metrics have been used to license core technology products (Database and Middleware) throughout the years. The most common metrics currently in use are Processor and Named User Plus (NUP) metrics. However, there are also deprecated metrics like Universal Power Units (UPU) and Concurrent Device (CD). Many customers we work with have older contracts for which they are still paying support. If this is the case, then the products with up-to-date support, even with older metrics, are valid for use.
Some deprecated metrics, like UPUs, create issues when clients attempt to apply them to current hardware. The UPU metric was used in the 1990s, and was based on the speed of the processor, so you can imagine how out of date these licenses are today. Read my blog, Oracle Universal Power Unit Licensing, for more information on UPUs.
Concurrent Device metrics are a different story, though. Concurrent Device licenses were sold throughout the 1990s, and were no longer offered for sale around 1999. These licenses were sold with no per-processor minimums, unlike the per-processor minimums assigned to current NUP licenses.
However, House of Brick has seen public facing documents that purport to assign per-processor minimums to Concurrent Device licenses. In a document titled, Oracle8i Database Server Pocket Sales Guide, produced by Oracle Corporation, the following guidance is provided:
“Oracle8i has a minimum license level of 5 concurrent devices per processor. It includes the interMedia Option, the Time Series Cartridge, the Java Option, and the Lightweight OEM Pack.
Oracle8i Enterprise Edition has a minimum license level of 8 concurrent devices per processor. It includes the Parallel Server and Partitioning Option; the interMedia, Java, and Security Options; the Java Compiler Option; the Diagnostic, Tuning, and Change Management Packs; and the Time Series, Spatial, and VIR Cartridges. All Options can be purchased and used with Enterprise Edition.”
There are other public facing documents that say, essentially, the same thing. House of Brick has witnessed Oracle License Management Services (LMS) and the Oracle sales team attempt to place these per-processor restrictions on clients with valid contracts that contain no per-processor minimums for Concurrent Device licenses. Therein lies the problem. Oracle is trying to impose this restriction on a non-contractual basis.
Concurrent Device licenses may be advantageous to your licensing landscape. They allow any number of users or devices to share a single license as long as only one person or device uses it at a time. So, licensees can run any number of databases and on any hardware as long as there are enough Concurrent Device licenses to cover users who are connecting.
The purpose of the article is to outline the misinformation floating around related to Concurrent Device Licenses. Organizations may run into Oracle resistance when attempting to incrementally license database features on legacy Concurrent Device entitlement. As always, the contract (and any external documents directly referenced by the contract) is the only governing aspect of your Oracle licenses. We encourage you to review your contracts with your legal team for final say on licensing matters.