Microsoft Smells Oracle’s Blood in the Water

Microsoft Smells Oracle’s Blood in the Water

On March 3, I posted an article on what SAM managers need to know about Oracle licensing. In that article, I spoke about a licensing dispute between Oracle and candy manufacturer Mars from alleged nonpayment of licensing fees by Mars. Perhaps more interestingly, the lawsuit in part had to do with Oracle’s definition of hardware partitioning which only accepts a limited set of virtualization and partitioning technologies which many organizations have found to be confusing.
Before I go further, it does behoove me to say that I believe every publisher has the right to set its licensing terms and conditions. As every SAM manager knows, some of those terms and conditions are difficult to understand given their complexity, and others are clear and precise. The SAM manager needs to understand those terms and conditions and accept, alter or abandon the deal based on their needs and requirements.
Which brings me to my point. One week after posting my last article, one of my colleagues sent me an article with the following headline: “Microsoft waves the ‘free licenses’ flag to try to grab Oracle database users.” I read the article and had the following question: Oracle’s aggressiveness in the audit space is well known. Is Microsoft attempting to use this knowledge in a way to convert Oracle database users to SQL users? Is Microsoft smelling blood in the water as a result of Oracle’s well-publicized audit tactics?
The answer undoubtedly is yes. Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Corporate VP Takeshi Numoto says that roughly 8,000 companies have registered and that anecdotally, lots of Oracle customers are looking for a way out. Microsoft has prepared a datasheet detailing the migration offer and including how easy it is to migrate from Oracle to Microsoft with simplified migration tools, training, starter deployment services, and yes, free SQL Server licenses. The datasheet also, conveniently, shows the Gartner magic quadrant with Microsoft in the top position. Microsoft has made a solid business case and is hungry to secure frustrated Oracle customers.
SAM Managers are stretched at both ends. Here are three thoughts:

  1. SAM Managers must be involved in the entire software lifecycle, from acquisition (including cloud services) to retirement, and should be looking to automate the entire lifecycle process.
  2. Moves such as these should not be based on price alone. The move from Oracle databases to Microsoft SQL is not one that should be based on price alone. Remember the phrase, “If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.” While this offer for SQL licenses is tempting due to the free offer, the customer must sign up to having (and paying for) SA on all SQL boxes, not just the ones they add. They also have to pay for Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE). Run the numbers to see if this deal is right for you today, and over the life of the entitlement.
  3. Document, document, document! The SAM manager needs to remember to document this offer, its terms at the time of offer, and treat these licenses just like any other entitlement. The last thing the company, or SAM manager needs, is to forget this offer and have Microsoft (or any other vendor in the absence of this documentation) to say those installations are unauthorized which undoubtedly will cost more in the long run. The AppClarity Entitlement Library, aligned with the ISO 19770-3 standard, can manage and store entitlements, licenses, and maintenance for any software, any metric from any vendor (including complex server software, subscriptions, bundled usage rights, etc.).

Bottom line.
I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years and have never seen anything truly for free (albeit tchotchkes). Run the numbers – speak to your team – make an informed decision keeping in mind the longer term impacts of “free.”
On March 30, I will be hosting a webinar entitled, “Auditors at the door – Open up or run and hide.” In this webinar, I will be speaking to effective management of the audit, the importance of auditing the auditors’ findings and taking control of the process. To register for this event, please click here.


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