Drilling Down on Database Licensing Best Practices and Pitfalls at Data Summit Connect Fall 2020

As software infrastructure is stretched between on-premise deployments, public clouds, and hybrid clouds, keeping software usage in compliance can be a significant challenge.

Mike CoreyAt Data Summit Connect Fall 2020, Michael Corey, co-founder of LicenseFortress, and Don Sullivan, product line manager for business critical applications at VMWare, delivered a presentation titled, "Straight Talk on Oracle Licensing and Licensing Trends," to shed light on the proper way to license software in a complicated world.

Don SullivanVideos of presentations from Data Summit Connect Fall 2020, a free series of data management and analytics webinars presented by DBTA and Big Data Quarterly, are available for viewing on the DBTA YouTube channel.

According to Corey and Sullivan, some vendors have turned to software license audits as an easy way to generate additional revenues. In this presentation, they shared current software license trends, discussed the difference between policy and contractual obligations, and best practices for licensing software in a virtualized environment.

Corey and Sullivan stressed a number of key principles relating to software audits:

  • Increasing complexity around cloud offerings and determining exactly what is required versus premium features means overcharging is rampant.
  • Software license audits are about revenue not compliance.
  • Software license audits will increase with the COVID-19 pandemic. Audits are on the rise and they are getting more expensive.
  • If there is an audit, the burden of proof is on the customer.
  • Software licensing problems can be caused accidentally, e.g., software security patches may turn on features you did not license.
  • Training on software compliance issues needs to be ongoing; training is not a one-time event.

If a vendor software audit with Oracle or any other company happens, Corey and Sullivan advise that customers follow these guidelines:

  • Halt any intended or in-process purchases (unless it impacts the business)
  • Review your vendor audit and compliance provisions
  • Don't let vendor circumvent the 45-day advance notice requirement
  • Negotiate the audit scope and approach
    • Limit scope to vendor software
    • Make sure you are comfortable with the audit pace
  • Use of Oracle Audit Script is not contractual
    • Make sure you keep the right not to run the script in the future
  • Limit where vendor gets their information from
  • Seek professional help

A replay of this 1-hour webinar will be made available in the next several days, and many Data Summit presenters are making their slide decks available.