This is starting to verge on the ridiculous, and I’m not just going to take it anymore.
Look, here is the reality (at least as I see it):
- Anyone in their right mind is building new applications in new ways (using Cloud Native principles) – and the data layer in those new ways is rarely a tightly coupled, classic ACID RDBMS.
- But, there is a reality that almost all those new apps also still interact with apps that are systems of record, and those often have an RDBMS at the bottom.
- That for those cases anyone who needs an RDBMS that wants to save a truckload of dough and is sick and tired of being a hostage is really looking at Postgres, MySQL, and other choices (including a newly ascendant Microsoft SQL Server).
- And in spite of 1,2,3 – there is a stark reality – Oracle still is the dominant data layer and RDBMS in the world, and seemingly has the majority of the enterprise market in a strange Stockholm Syndrome situation that people seem unwilling, or incapable of getting themselves out of.
That, or I’m totally wrong :-) I’ve been wrong for several years in a row (here) so I’m starting to doubt myself :-) That said – I’m sticking to my guns – I have never talked to a customer who has said “we love Oracle”, but I talk to many who say “I really resent Oracle”.
A big part of that is licensing policy and details.
Let their be no doubt, Oracle’s RDBMS remains a technological powerhouse, and is a company, a technology stack, a competitor, and yes, perhaps most importantly a partner to be respected. We have 70,000+ joint customers – and the engineering and customer services teams partner closely day in and day out. That’s great and a huge thank you to all the people focused on our customers.
BUT - the way Oracle treats their customers when it comes to Oracle Database licensing and virtualization, shared storage, CI/HCI – that’s another thing entirely, and something I DO NOT respect.
Look – software licensing is tricky. Customers want software to be free. There is no “physical cost of goods”… but there is real IP, real value there – and again, if we’re honest with each other – all software vendors (all – including the open source ecosystem, including all of us!) will charge as much as we can for the IP we produce – because only when the customer says “Uncle!” have you validated the value of your software.
I’m not debating the pricing model, or the price per socket of Oracle. They build a premium product, and a great product. The dollar value of their database, and the tightly coupled application ecosystem they create - that’s for customers to evaluate and choose.
What I AM debating is their absolutely ridiculous , and transparently self-serving and non-competitive position on virtualization.
I’ll paraphrase the 2011 version of myself:
“If I told you that I could do something to make your most mission critical app: perform better; cost less; have higher overall availability…you would either: A) assume I’m a vendor trying to sell you something and write it off as such; b) assume I’ve made an error – and ignore my advice; c) investigate, and if you agree, you would consider that deployment model for the app. Or, you’d be a person who likes “just keep it the way it is” SO much that you are willing to pay more, for less performance, and suffer more downtime. Ergo, there’s something wrong with you.”
CUSTOMERS – ARE YOU SICK AND TIRED OF BEING HELD HOSTAGE? STOP. FIGHT BACK . WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU.
But ultimately we can only help people who want to be helped – are you willing to fight?
For years, we’ve seen Oracle make claims in the field (not backed up by their documentation) that “every socket in server in a VMware cluster needs to be licensed”. This has escalated into “every host in a VxBlock/VxRack/VxRail” needs to be licensed. We’ve even seen “every host attached to a SAN needs to be licensed” and (and this is the sheer insanity of it all), even “any host you MIGHT use in a DR situation needs to be licensed”.
This is nuts.
The sessions we’ve done with VMware at VMworld for years on this topic have been packed for years, and we’re doing it this year again with a session entitled “Oracle Database Licensing on Hyper-Converged Platform”. In the session we will review Oracle licensing guidelines using EMC CI and HCI platforms. Last year at VMworld Oracle Licensing sessions were standing room only and we hope the same is true with this year’s session. We will also be delivering the same session at VMworld Barcelona too!
But – this only works if YOU as the customer fight back as opposed to just take it lying down. That said, we want to help you.
Together with VMware, we partnered (and being transparent – we partially supported the effort financially) a work effort by House of Brick – a partner who is a leading expert in database licensing (and is co-presenting with us at VMworld), to outline the specific rights and language for customers when it comes to database licensing and VMware.
The paper reviews the legally binding license rules and then outlines how those rules truly apply on EMC converged or hyper-converged infrastructure – but BTW – would be applicable to non-VMware and EMC solutions. The paper places emphasis on Oracle but talks to other databases as well (SQL Server, NoSQL).
In general, I’m not a fan of whitepapers you need to register to download, but if you use Oracle, this one is worth it’s weight in gold (literally many times over).
It openly, directly disassembles the common assertions that are made to customers by people, and what is true – for VMware, for CI/HCI and for shared storage. It evaluates their choices and options. I cannot recommend it highly enough.