Podcast Episode 85: Where next for Oracle?

Date

In this podcast AJ Witt from the ITAM Review is joined by Michael Corey & Dean Bolton, co-founders of Oracle License Management specialists LicenseFortress. Topics discussed include;

  • Oracle’s 2020 year end results
  • The impact of COVID-19 on key Oracle customers
  • Trends in Oracle Cloud usage
  • What’s next for Oracle

And what all this means for ITAM Managers

This podcast accompanies a recent co-authored article – “Mastering ITAM in Complex Environments” where we discuss how not all ITAM challenges are the same, and that environments as complex as an Oracle estate require different skills, approaches and stakeholders to be successfully managed.

Announcer:
Welcome to the iTerm Review podcast, news, reviews and resources for iTerm, sound and software licensing professionals.
AJ Witt:
Hello everyone. Welcome to this podcast. We hope you are well, wherever you’re listening from. My name is AJ Witz from the iTerm Review, and I’m joined today by Mike Corey and Dean Bolton. They’re co-founders of LicensedFortress. LicensedFortress provide Oracle compliance management services and audit protection. So we’re going to take you through what’s current in Oracle licensing right now. How best to approach managing your Oracle estate, be that on premises in the cloud or whether it’s hybrid or whatever. So welcome Michael and Dean. Michael, if you’d like to introduce yourself.
Michael Corey:
Sure. So the quick thing on my background, I’m the original Oracle Press author. I’m a past President of the International Oracle Users Groups. I’m a past Microsoft, Most Valuable Professional. I’m a current Oracle ACE. I’m a current VMware V expert. And it’s a pleasure to be here today.
AJ Witt:
Thanks Mike. That’s a pretty impressive resume right there. So thank you for sharing your expertise today. And Dean?
Dean Bolton:
Hello everyone. My name is Dean Bolton. I’m the Chief Architect and co-founder at LicensedFortress. I’ve been working with Oracle for over 20 years now. Started as a DBA on AI, I’m currently an Oracle Certified Master, Oracle ACE Associate, and a VMware V expert as well.
AJ Witt:
Cool. So what I’m picking out of this is that you guys have done the job with Oracle as well as you’re not licensed management experts, you are hands on, deepen the weeds, techies. As well as doing this other stuff that you do.
Michael Corey:
It’s frightening to say, but I realize I’ve been working with Oracle over 33 years at this point.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. I spent over 20 years in the IBM world and I’ve been out of that for about four or five years now. And I think, “Wow, where did that part of my life go?” It’s strange with technology, isn’t it, because you just get on that schedule of new releases coming along and new versions of stuff. It’s like suddenly this big chunk of your working life has gone into one product or one technology. And I’m sure that’s the case across IT in a way.
Michael Corey:
You know what’s really interesting, if you think about it is most technologies have a life cycle and after about 20 years, they wan and go away. But databases are fundamental to managing information and unlike a traditional technology, databases, in the case of Oracle have stayed current at this point over 30 years and is going strong. We’re seeing more applications for database youth, not less.
AJ Witt:
That was the big thing with Oracle wasn’t it, suddenly… because I was looking at their historical share price and you look at the big uptick they took in the dawn of the internet age. Suddenly everyone needed a database and whilst they were not necessarily the fastest to move, they still had that, pre, this is going way back to the .com boom, it’s just vertical, isn’t it? And then that really helped them grow very rapidly from being a back end enterprise world to a whole new set of usage requirements, I suppose.
Michael Corey:
Well, if you really think about it in the early days, Oracle was not in many ways, the technology leader. Role level locking came from competitors, two phase commits came from competitors. But what Oracle realized early on was, “It’s not the database, it’s the implications.” Don’t get me wrong, I think they’ve got the finest relational database engine in the world. It’s phenomenal. It works. It performs. But when you marry that with the breadth of applications they have, that’s a pretty powerful message to the marketplace and it’s pretty hard to beat them.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. So it’s probably a good point to get into where they are currently. We’ve just seen their year end results. What’s your take on where they are right now?
Michael Corey:
So from my perspective, I’m not surprised to see that COVID has impacted Oracle like it’s impacted everyone else. And they’re seeing as their customers are struggling, as everybody’s struggling with dealing with the new way of the world, their revenue is off and that’s frankly not a surprise. What are you seeing, Dean?
Dean Bolton:
Well, I think it’s the same trend that we’ve seen for a while. So their hardware numbers are down, that’s no surprise because of their desire to move away from that whole space. They’ve said Spark’s going to be decommissioned in two decades. And so I think that was a signal that they’re moving away from that. They’ve been trending towards cloud and subscription models for a while now. I think their growth is not exactly where they want it to be. They’d definitely like to be included with some of those other players on the cloud space, but I think they are gaining some traction there.
Dean Bolton:
From our perspective, our customers that are running on the cloud are having much better experience than what they did four or five years ago. It’s becoming a viable solution that we can recommend for a lot of customers in there. So I think they’re making progress on that front. It’s just probably not at the pace they would like or the street would like.
AJ Witt:
Yeah.
Michael Corey:
Well. Dean, you bring up a really excellent point, which is the cloud is a wonderful addition, as long as you have a plan. Too often we see people say, “I just want to go to the cloud,” because that’s what they’re hearing from Gartner. That’s what they’re hearing from Forester. And they really don’t think about how to game change their business to really leverage the cloud. It’s not about being in the cloud, it’s about leveraging the technology of the cloud so that it gives you a business differentiation.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. And I mean noticed that Larry Ellison, co-founder and still CTO, I think, of Oracle currently. He’s stepped back into the front line. I saw him saying on the earnings call, actually calling out just that, that a lot of their customers are just not ready to go to the cloud yet. And he was speaking about Oracle autonomous database becoming better on-prem being available as an on-prem solution for all these customers who just aren’t ready to go, or maybe can’t go for regulatory reasons or whatever. That’s a key part of their growth, isn’t it? That they’re still focused on the on-prem world.
Dean Bolton:
I think everybody’s really figuring out how to marry the cloud offering with on-prem. The public cloud came out first and it was great because it was, frankly, very easy. All you needed was a credit card or a corporate credit card and you could get this IT department, shadow IT up and running in a matter of minutes. And then as it grew, you’re starting to see the impacts of that. So people are finally wanting to use it, but now they’ve got to get it blessed by risk security and compliance side of things. And that’s where it’s becoming a little bit more of a problem.
Dean Bolton:
And you’re seeing everybody shift back to this, “Okay, you can still use our public cloud, but we’re going to deliver it in this on-prem manner.” Amazon had it with their, or has it, I should say, with their RDS at customer, basically. And Oracle with their everything at customer, whether it’s cloud or Exadata or whatever the case may be, are doing the same thing. And it’s actually been really interesting to see the adoption of that, the focus on that, and then the response from other vendors to that as well. We’re definitely seeing some of our partners take notice of these offerings and try to respond in a quick manner.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. I’m guessing that so many of Oracle’s massive accounts are going to be most of the Fortune 50 or so, aren’t they? So those massive organizations, they’ve got the on-premise, they’ve got the expertise in house to think, “Well, no, we’re going to run this on premise anyway, we don’t need to go to the cloud.” Cloud has always been driven from the bottom in terms of SMEs and so on, hasn’t it? It’s not a… Enterprise is always more wary, certainly the organization I used to work for were incredibly wary of going anywhere near cloud. They had an absolute policy saying, “No cloud for anything that was business critical.” And that was only two years ago.
Michael Corey:
Well, and then the other thing to bring up is, as Dean said, I call it the credit card IT, using Dean’s term. Is these organizations learn very quickly. Yes. They were able to sidestep their IT organizations to get out to the cloud, but they created huge security risks. And more importantly, it wasn’t cheaper, because frankly, instead of turning off these virtual machines or shutting down the cloud when they didn’t need it, people just left it out there. And one day they got this bill and said, “What the heck is going on here?”
Michael Corey:
So cloud is a wonderful addition to your infrastructure, but like anything it’s got to be managed or you’re going to get yourself into a lot of trouble. And so you are seeing this emerging role that I like to call a cloud IT keeper, who manages that relationship with the cloud so that it isn’t a surprise at the end of the month.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. It’s the same old problems in the sense that… I used to be an IT asset manager looking at our on-prem data center and we found 30, 35, 40% of VMs powered off, not being used, still sitting there consuming some disc space, maybe some allocations, but those weren’t really costing us anything. But if you have that same level of untidiness applied to the cloud, of course you are paying every second of every day for those VMs that are sat there, consuming space and so on.
AJ Witt:
So yes, you need to have that governance around it. And if you get your cloud house in order, then you probably end up getting your in-house in order too, I would think. Just going back to Oracle’s results and performance. It seems the key thing I took out of it was they’ve been particularly heavily hit because some of their key customers are transportation, hospitality, and so on, retail as well. Those three sectors obviously have been massively hit by the pandemic.
Michael Corey:
I think that’s a very valid point, which is right. And as those customers are tightening their belts, Oracle is going to be a natural byproduct. They’re going to really reconsider their purchase with Oracle or any other vendors, not a reflection of Oracle. It’s just a reflection of the COVID 19 world.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. I recall we used MICROS, which is a recent Oracle acquisition probably two or three years ago now. MICROS was used for all the tills or the point of sale and so on. And we were paying a decent amount of money every six months to Oracle for support for those things. And we were never calling upon them, never using that support, but we needed to have it there because it was so critical to our business. It was our shop front effectively in the physical world.
AJ Witt:
I’m sure in the case of the industry I came from, the cruise line industry. They’re still not sailing. They’re still going to be out for six months. I would imagine that they’re going to spend some time thinking, looking at everything they’re doing and thinking, ‘Well, is there a better way of doing that front end for us other than Oracle?” So an interesting problem for them, I think the outcome is that their revenue’s going to be down for the rest of the year. It’s going to impact their growth and so on. And what does that mean for Oracle customers?
Dean Bolton:
Well, I think COVID 19 just accelerated this. I think Oracle has known for a while that this licensing and support model that has sustained them for 40 years might not be the way going forward. And they’ve been trying to move to this subscription just for the reason you talked about their AJ. That people are looking at it, they have to pay for the licensing up front and then what’s the value of the support. And with third party support offerings out there, customers are looking at that and taking alternative routes or dropping support entirely.
Dean Bolton:
That’s something we bring up to our customers to have them take a look at it because if you’re paying 22% plus adjustments each year, every four years, you’re buying the licenses again, so that can be a pretty significant cost factor that you have to take a look at. What Oracle, I think, is trying to do is move to, “If you stop paying us, you stop getting the right to use the license with this subscription model.” They’re doing it with their database. It’s obviously embedded into how the cloud works, but then they’re also moving for their ERP cloud, their middleware cloud, their NetSuite offerings, trying to move everything to this subscription model where it takes away the flexibility that you might have as a customer to drop support or go to a third party support provider.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. Yes. That makes sense. So one other thing that came up fairly… well, probably towards the end of last year as well, is this partnership with VMware. And once again, I was researching for this podcast and they’re making a big deal out of this ability for people, or organizations I should say, to shift their on-premise VMware estate direct into the Oracle cloud. So this is Oracle cloud, not so much as Oracle database cloud. This is Oracle as a cloud provider as the same as AWS or Azure. I find it interesting given the longstanding difficulties between VMware and Oracle, that this thing’s on offer. I Wonder if you have any thoughts on that?
Dean Bolton:
I think it’s a very interesting partnership. We’re partners with VMware for product purposes in there. So we’ve seen a lot of these hybrid offerings come out with the Amazon, Amazon Cloud, sorry, VMware Cloud on Amazon, Azure VMware Solution, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. Very interesting offerings for customers to allow them to make use of these cloud offerings in an efficient and effective way. Oracle’s one, I think can make a lot of sense too, if you’re running a VMware shop that has a lot of Oracle in there, stretching that into the Oracle cloud with this Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, can have a lot of advantages for you.
Dean Bolton:
There is a lot of cost savings that can happen if you do that hybrid cloud and the Oracle cloud offering properly. It’s not publicly available yet, so we’re waiting to see what the end result is, what the actual bits for some licensing questions that we have. But the other thing that I think is really interesting around there is what actually came out with that announcement at Open World last year. Where they explicitly stated that now VMware is supported, they took away that uncertainty that had been out there, even though we didn’t think it was very much of an uncertainty around Oracle being able to request customers, recreating issues on physical, if they had an issue on VMware, so that’s gone, which is fantastic.
Dean Bolton:
But at the same time, they explicitly stated that this partnership has no impact on licensing. And so that part of it still leaves a huge gap and a huge amount of confusion out there for customers. And we think that that’s a little bit unfortunate. It would’ve been nice if they had addressed that, but that part of it is unchanged whether you’re in this VMware solution, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution on-prem or in the cloud. So there’s still that same issue around there around Oracle licensing is specifically Oracle licensing on VMware.
AJ Witt:
All right.
Michael Corey:
Other thing that’s worth mentioning here is hybrid cloud up until this point has been, “Oh, I run AWS hybrid cloud so I can run AWS in the North, AWS in the East, AWS in the West. I can go to the IBM hybrid cloud. I can run IBM in the North, the East, and the West.” But a true hybrid cloud done properly should be the ability to say, “Look, I’m getting a better price out of Azure, let me spin up over Azure. Oh, they just raised their price. Let me go spin these things up over on the Oracle cloud.”
Michael Corey:
Well, with a VMware infrastructure behind the scenes, you now have the ability to shop multiple public clouds in the future. And that’s a huge game changer and a good litmus test to this was Apple. Apple was spending a billion dollars estimated a year, if I remember right, on being on the AWS cloud and then had some huge outages that put them out of business. At one point a day, one point they had five, six hours. And then they struck a deal with another public cloud provider just to get some level of redundancy. But with VMware behind the scenes for the plumbing of these public clouds, you now would have that capability to have a true hybrid cloud leveraging the public clouds against each other.
AJ Witt:
Right. Great. Yeah. Which is what you want as a customer. You’ve got to have that resilience. So that’s the whole point of going to the cloud, you would think is, “Well, we don’t need to worry about that physical box in our data center over in Boston falling over because it’s in someone else’s data center.” Well, of course there are still those issues aren’t there and they pop up from time to time. I know Microsoft, back in March, had quite a major outage for example, with Azure. And we’ve seen actually throughout this pandemic that a lot of cloud providers have been struggling for capacity. Features have been switched off and things have been slowed down. And indeed, I saw recently zoom have contracted with Oracle for cloud capacity, haven’t they? I don’t know whether you saw that one.
Michael Corey:
I thought it was really funny because then very shortly another thing came out from AWS saying, “Well, no, zoom really runs on us.” But I thought it was very smart of Oracle take full advantage of that as a marketing opportunity. And by the way, if you’re zoom, you should be on more than one public cloud.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. Especially now, they’re pretty much the fabric of society right now. So it’s important that they’re working and it’s keeping the industry going. So yeah. Going back to Dean’s point around, yes, Oracle now being supported on VMware. That’s a big tick in the box for a lot of organizations that need to be able to prove that they’re running is supported software, but equally they still haven’t cleared up the age old VMware, Oracle virtualization capacity licensing conundrum. Which, I guess, is at least one part of what you do for your customers with LicenseFortress. Should we go in and talk around that subject for a while?
Michael Corey:
You won’t hear any complaints from us.
AJ Witt:
Good.
Michael Corey:
So the obvious question they ask is, “What’s going to happen with COVID 19 and do we have any litmus test or any indication of what’s going to happen?” And frankly, we do, because we know what happened the last time there was a major recession. Companies like Oracle got hit with revenue and were looking for ways to generate revenue. And we know that the pace of Oracle audits increased. And so our expectation out of this is that the pace of Oracle audits will increase. And it’s no surprise because Gartner documented a while back that vendor imposed and revenue motivated audits are increasing for organizations of all sizes and industries. And so frankly, we think COVID 19 is going to accelerate Oracle audits in the marketplace.
AJ Witt:
Yeah, we certainly saw, I think it was from Forrester as well, just a couple of weeks back, said much the same thing. And this was looking at the software market constricting by 6, 7% this year and ways that organizations could address that. And top of the list was license compliance. And another case in point we saw at the start of this year, Autodesk who are busy trying to move to a subscription model. Calling out the level of income they were getting from their compliance activities. And it was pretty big, I forget the exact figure. It was in something like 40% or something. It was a big chunk of revenue that they were driving straight from license compliance audits.
AJ Witt:
And so I guess that’s still very much the case with Oracle and we should expect to see that coming down the line. So what should we be doing around this? Are there any particular impacts, I wonder around the fact that we’ve gone through remote working? Are there things that would potentially be a compliance concern around those things, around remote?
Dean Bolton:
For the core technology products that Oracle has tended to audit so far, I don’t think as much, those are really business critical applications. They haven’t been at headquarters in a number of years. In most cases you’re running that stuff in a data center or in the cloud, in a colo, something to that effect. So I doubt that’s changed. However, we are seeing… there’s been noise for a couple years around Java audits. We’ve heard that Oracle has started to start with those audits. A couple audits that we’ve heard of have actually started in there. And that’s one where remote working could be impacted in there.
Dean Bolton:
If you don’t have a company laptop, you have a personal one or you bring your own device, something like that. That’s one where that remote work could make a difference in there and have an impact on compliance and licensing costs for a company.
AJ Witt:
Yeah.
Michael Corey:
But the other thing that I’d like to add to that, when you’re looking to figure out the proper way to license, it’s counterintuitive, but it actually makes sense. You really shouldn’t go to Oracle or to someone who makes their income reselling licenses, because they’re not necessarily… their interests are not aligned with yours. Or the way I like to say it is, “Look, the customer goal of driving down costs is in direct conflict with the software vendor, protecting their revenue stream.”
Michael Corey:
And so we see people get themselves into a lot of trouble going to the vendor to say, “Hey, am I licensed properly?” Or going to the people they bought the licenses from, because many times what we see is they’re getting overcharged. They’re too rich in licenses that, frankly, they don’t need.
AJ Witt:
Yup. Yeah. Having done that job and I was always pretty wary of going through a reseller and they’ll say things like, “Oh yes, our license advisory team is separate to our sales team.” But you are still ultimately all reporting into the same balance sheet aren’t you? So you have to be careful around who you’re taking your advice from, I guess.
Michael Corey:
And frankly, that’s how LicenseFortress came around. One of the things we did is our customers kept coming to us, asking us for help. And when we went out and we looked at the marketplace, we saw that there were two ways to solve this problem. You got a software asset management tool. We saw a lot of them were old technology, very few of them did real time license compliance monitoring, and learning. But ultimately they didn’t really advise you on how to use the license or what’s the proper way to license. And then we saw the license consultants, many of them charging by the hour, many of them giving bad advice, because they were really making money off their licenses. And ultimately there was no guarantee.
Michael Corey:
They gave you bad advice, you bought way too many licenses, or frankly, you followed the advice, but there was no financial guarantee or nothing behind it. So frankly, Dean, you should comment because it was your idea to put the two pieces together.
Dean Bolton:
We just really, as Mike said, saw a hole in how people are addressing it. And we’ve been helping customers with audits on Oracle for a decade now. And we really just saw that what they weren’t asking for was help around an audit. It happens, but if you’re prepared, it can be relatively painless. What they’re really asking for was, “How do I buy this product and use it in the most effective way? How do I put in as many controls as possible to avoid compliance issues?” And then, “How to avoid any of these unknown liabilities that can be, obviously significant. A lot of times more than the cost of the initial purchase and sometimes more than the entire IT budget for the year?”
Dean Bolton:
And that’s really what caused us to develop LicenseFortress and bring it to the market. And in just a short time, we’ve seen a good deal of success in that and uptake. So I think we were right in terms of the opportunity and what customers were looking for.
AJ Witt:
I think it’s a very good point that you make because I would sit there and make my best guess around a licensing position. And these are big contracts. Out IT budget was seven figures, probably at least seven figures, and they were relying on me to make the right decision. Which does lead to quite a few sleepless nights when you are a software asset manager or an IT asset manager. And I’m sure much of our audience will agree, it’s a high risk job that you’re doing. And I would quite often say, “Look, this is my opinion. This is what you’re paying me to say.” As in terms of that’s my job. “But you should really go off and check that. Verify that that’s correct because these are big table stakes we’re dealing with here.”
AJ Witt:
And I guess, that’s where, yes, very much that that offering from you guys comes in, the fact that you are standing behind it with cold, hard dollars.
Michael Corey:
In fact, you just said it best. And that’s what people love because one of the biggest things in the marketplace that happens in Oracle, is Oracle enforces policy like it’s a contractual obligation. And so if you had a three node Oracle system and Oracle ran a node A and never ran a node B or C, and you were running VMware, Oracle would come along and say, “You forgot, or you did not license node B or C. And in fact you owe us 20 million dollars, plus back support.” But nothing in the contract actually says that.
Michael Corey:
And so we would come back and say, “Look, you only ran Oracle and node A. According to your contract, you only need to pay for node A and in fact, you do not have to pay this big LMS bill or Oracle license management services bill, because that’s not in your contract.”
AJ Witt:
Yeah. And it’s much easier, I think, for you guys to say that, in house, IT asset manager, because you are making a pretty big bet because you are the one that’s going to go into bat against Oracles LMS team or whatever they call it. I know they’ve been renamed, they no longer LMS. But you are the ones going up there to negotiate that deal and play hardball. And it’s easier in a way to do that with a consultancy, with a third party, someone with a backing behind them.
Michael Corey:
But if they came to us before the audit happened and bought our service, we would actually pay for the lawyers to defend them. And if it went to a court of law and the judgment came against us, we would pay for the judgment, so that’s how we’re really different than everyone else. Through a combination of our software, we feel so comfortable with our determination that we actually back it with a full guarantee, if you get to us before you being audited.
AJ Witt:
Yup. I think one of the- Sorry, go on.
Dean Bolton:
The point there AJ, that you really picked up on is that because we do this all the time, we’re doing this multiple times per month or a year, we have audits always ongoing that we’re helping our customers with and defending them against. As Mike mentioned, we partnered with law firms that specialize in this. Where they are focused on just these IP cases and audit defense cases, whether it’s in the US, the UK, the EU, wherever the case may be. We’ve found firms that specialize this and worked with them on these cases all the time.
Dean Bolton:
So we’re pretty well versed and pretty fluent in that. And I’m not sure it’s entirely fair for employees of a company, whether they’re in the IT asset management side or the legal counsel side, unless you’re at some of the largest companies out there, to be as focused on this and have the reps that you would need to be able to feel comfortable in making some of these assessments and being able to stand behind it in there.
Michael Corey:
But it’s always changing Dean, that’s the problem, in their defense, it’s constantly changing. How do they possibly do their day job and then keep up with all the changes?
Dean Bolton:
Unless you’re a hundred percent focused on this, like we are, it becomes very difficult to keep up with it because Oracle will drop changes just out of the blue.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. I certainly saw that in my time. I remember when they changed the pricing for Azure and AWS. That came in pretty much straight off the bat, very quickly, very little notice. And we have so much to do as IT asset managers that quite often you take out your ULA perhaps and you think, “Oh great. I don’t need to look at Oracle for another 18 months, two years, maybe two and a half years because I’ve done the renewal. We can just let it manage itself now.”
AJ Witt:
And of course that isn’t the case because, as we know, you need to be managing this stuff day-to-day and it’s finding the time to do that. And also having keeping up the expertise level. We have a whole bunch of stuff on the ITAM review around Oracle licensing. We continue to add to that library. It is pretty much our most popular topic alongside Microsoft. And I think partly that says more about Oracle being harder to manage than Microsoft. Obviously Microsoft gets used by pretty much every company in the world. So that’s why they’re popular. But Oracle is next up on our list and it’s down to this complexity and ever changing landscape.
Michael Corey:
But the nice thing is that once you get the Oracle’s under management and you take the fear of an audit away, people become very happy Oracle customers because the technology is rock solid. It works, it performs, it scales.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. My previous employer went through an unpleasant experience with Oracle back at the start of the 2010s, I think it was, so ancient history these days. But the outcome of that was, “Get off Oracle. We’ve been caught, we’ve given them some money, it was unpleasant. Now we’re going to rip it out of our infrastructure.” And I spent maybe two or three years doing that. Not an easy thing to suddenly swap from one database provider to another. And that was all so very unnecessary. If they’d be managing up front, they were happy with Oracle as a platform. It was the contractual customer service vendor management bit that they weren’t happy with.
Dean Bolton:
We are not a representative sample at all. We hear that all the time though. It is you go through a bad experience and you want to just rip it out. But as you said, that’s not easy. If you’re just running the database for testing and everything, we estimate and these numbers might be low, but we estimate three to six months per environment and about 5 million dollars. If you’re running an application, you’re looking at 12 to 18 months and closer to 20 million dollars to get rid of that in a controlled manner. So you’re right. It is very sticky, it is not easy to get off of. But Mike’s been working on Oracle for over 30 years, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. The product is rock solid and we still think it’s one of the best options out there.
Dean Bolton:
Mike has a little bit of a toe on the Microsoft side of things. So we go back and forth about which RD BMS is better on different issues. But those two are really far and away above for any true RD BMS. And Microsoft and Oracle have spent millions of person hours and billions of dollars developing that. You can say you want to go to an open source option or a no sequel option. That sounds good, when you get into the details, that might be a little bit different.
Dean Bolton:
And so the products themselves really do what they’re supposed to do. They’re fantastic. You just need to have a handle on it so it doesn’t get out of control and cause these unknown liabilities for companies that can cause the issues on the customer side and the pricing side of things.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. Great. Just to wrap up today. I’m wondering, do you think Oracle will ever change this quite adversarial approach? I’m thinking that if you think about IBM. Now, IBM, particularly in the US, you can expect to be audited every three years, if you’re a large IBM customer. But IBM has now got this new IASP program, which gives you this licensing managed service through a partner. Do you think Oracle are going to carry on with this adversarial approach? They seem to be a bit of an outlier now, really?
Dean Bolton:
Yeah. I think what you’ll see is the dollars are going to drive that. If they’re still able to drive the revenue that they need out of this approach, then I think they’ll do it. Now, by no means am I saying Oracles shouldn’t be auditing anyone. They’ve spent a lot of money developing these. They should get paid in whatever they choose to charge it. That’s their prerogative. Customers should definitely pay. Customers should be able to understand what the cost will be and then make a decision on whether they want to use it or not.
Dean Bolton:
But will Oracle make a change like Microsoft did and come out with Microsoft’s version with this software assurance that approached virtualization and tried to monetize it. Oracle could do it. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Everybody talks about how it might happen and they haven’t yet. So I think Mike and I have built a business around it not happening anytime soon, but it definitely could.
AJ Witt:
Great. Yup. Thank you. I think, as you say, it will be interested to see how it goes over the next 18 months, two years with their revenue. I remember looking back at what it was like 2009, 2010. That really kick started in many ways the compliance focus of IT asset management as an industry, because everybody went through bad experiences back then with their software vendors. So it’d be interesting to see what happens coming out of this shock to the system.
Michael Corey:
You just got me thinking one thing and I’ll just end on this. One of the things that you have to be careful of is you have to pay attention to the changes. So for example, Oracles now trying to put through a new set of Oracle terms and conditions that requires you to run the Oracle Audit Script. The problem with the Oracle Audit Script is it looks at information that it doesn’t need for the audit. It learns way too much about your environment, that’s really, frankly, none of their business and one could argue was a security risk.
Michael Corey:
And then that script is sent outside the country to be analyzed, so in my understanding is it goes to Romania. Not knocking Romania, but I would not be comfortable with my company’s corporate infrastructure data being sent to any outside country to be analyzed. And so you really have to pay attention to the changes because over time, a lot of these changes aren’t in the customer’s best interests. And it’s just unfair to expect an internal IT staff to keep up with all this.
AJ Witt:
Yeah. That’s always been the problem because typically Oracle may go to their contact in the business, which will be a DBA, quite frankly. And in those cases, a DBA isn’t thinking about licensing. A DBA is thinking about keeping their environment running. That’s their whole reason for being. So it’s quite easy for those things to happen inadvertently and end up causing a big compliance headache and also yes, a very much a security headache. I think the fact that data’s heading out of the country, in your case, heading out to Romania is a big deal.
AJ Witt:
It’s even a big deal here in the EU, Romania is part of the EU. But I’m not sure many organizations necessarily realize that’s what’s happening with their Oracle Scripts. Thank you both for that. Very interesting discussion around the future for Oracle. Will they end up becoming cuddly and friendly some of these other vendors or will they carry on being Oracle? We should wait and see. Thank you for your time, Dean. Thank you, Mike. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. And keep looking out for our Oracle content on the iTerm Review, we have a whole bunch of stuff coming along.
AJ Witt:
We did an article a couple months back now with LicensedFortress around managing complex environments. And the fact that an Oracle environment is by its very nature, incredibly complex, and what’s the best way of approaching that? So take a look at that article and hope you’re well, and we’ll speak to you soon.
 

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