LicenseFortress Helps Power Company Switch from Oracle Exadata to Dell VxRail

A power company faced Oracle compliance issues and decided to move onto Oracle Exadata to avoid back-license fees.

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A previous compliance issue forced the company to move to Oracle Exadata to settle back licensing fees

A large EMEA power company leading climate-friendly energy operates over 25 hydropower plants and supports a quarter of a million customers. About a decade ago, the power company faced an Oracle compliance issue. They decided to move its Oracle workloads onto Oracle Exadata to avoid paying for back-license fees.

The Oracle Exadata Database Machine is a computing platform optimized for running Oracle Database. It is a combined hardware and software platform. This includes scale-out Intel x86-64compute and storage servers, RoCE or InfiniBand networking, persistent memory, NVMe flash, and specialized software. In retrospect, the company bought more power than what they needed as all their databases were Oracle Database Standard Edition before they moved to Exadata.

Once fully implemented, the company’s infrastructure included approximately 70 databases on two Oracle Exadata Quarter Racks, running in both its production and Disaster Recovery (DR) data centers. The company used Oracle Data Guard to support DR in its production environment. The rest of their environment was virtualized.

When the company was reaching end of life on its Oracle Exadata X3-2 hardware and was deciding whether to migrate over to a different platform or refresh its Oracle Exadata systems, as a public entity, it requires the power company to put significant purchases out on an RFP. Hence, it issued one for new hardware, and vendors, including Oracle and Dell Technologies, responded.


Oracle sales team leveraged public data to bully the customer into choosing their proposal

The customer preferred the Dell Technologies’ proposal and chose the proposed VxRail Hyperconverged Infrastructure over the Oracle Exadata solution. The organization planned to virtualize the databases on VxRail – an approach aligned with how the organization managed the rest of its non-Oracle databases. Once they decided to go with Dell, Oracle contacted the power company telling them that it would need twice as many Oracle licenses to cover the Dell Technologies’ proposed environment. The cost for these licenses was $2.4 million

Given this information, the power company could not afford to make the Dell Technologies decision and informed them that due to the high Oracle license cost, it would award the deal to Oracle. The Dell Technologies team knew that the customer did not need the $2.4 million in Oracle licenses but needed a way to convince them. Fortunately, an Oracle IT specialist who worked at Dell Technologies remembered LicenseFortress and made the introduction.


LicenseFortress delivers VMware solution to restrict workflow on Dell hardware

Collaborating with Dell, the LicenseFortress team reviewed the power company’s Oracle License and Services Agreement (OLSA) as well as all their purchases from Oracle. This gave the LicenseFortress team the license entitlement (e.g., the number of Oracle licenses that an organization can use). The LicenseFortress team then reviewed the Dell hardware proposal. It included eight servers, but the customer only had licensing to cover three. LicenseFortress recommended that they use VMware® technology to restrict the workflow to three of the eight servers. This meant that customers could buy from Dell without needing even one more Oracle license.

Based on this information, the power company chose Dell Technologies and purchased the VxRail hardware. In less than six months, all of the customer’s environments were successfully running on VxRail hardware. 

Read more about the Dell and LicenseFortress partnership →

The Customer Today

More savings after moving off Oracle Exadata with the ArxPlatform

After LicenseFortress aided on the RFP selection, the power company became an ArxPlatform member. When one of the power company’s business units was working with a third party on software development, and the third party inadvertently turned on Oracle Partitioning. The power company was not licensed to use this feature. Because they were an ArxProtect customer, the LicenseFortress Discovery software caught it and alerted the LicenseFortress and the power company teams. The situation was remedied in less than a day. If this had been picked up in an Oracle audit, it would have cost the customer almost $1.4 million.

In another instance, the customer accidentally turned on Oracle’s Active Data Guard on a standby server. This feature was not licensed on this server. Again, LicenseFortress Discovery immediately caught this and remedied the situation in less than a day. This saved the ArxProtect customer another $1.4 million.

Additionally, the power company bought 32 perpetual licenses for Oracle Spatial and Graph. This feature provides geospatial location functionality within an Oracle database to make it easy to produce maps and logistics. In December 2019, Oracle announced that Oracle Spatial and Graph functionalities would be included in all Oracle Database Editions at no extra cost going forward. The LicenseFortress team alerted the customer to this change in pricing, recommending it ask Oracle to reimburse them for the $567k in license and support fees it previously purchased for functionality that is now free.

Customer Savings

Over $5 million and counting in savings

With assistance from LicenseFortress, Dell Technologies saved the million-dollar deal and earned points with the power company for credibility and customer service. With LicenseFortress, the customer saved $2.4 million upfront in additional Oracle licenses and another $2.8 million in potential back-license fees for Oracle Partitioning and Active Data Guard and the reimbursement for Oracle Spatial and Graph functionalities.

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