How to save on licensing fees by re-platforming Oracle on Dell EMC

How To Save On Licensing Fees By Re-Platforming Oracle On Dell EMC

Bart Sjerps of Dell EMC and our own Keith Dobbs presented a webinar on reducing Oracle Licensing Costs via re-platforming on Dell and EMC. This was an extremely well attended webinar and really dived into a lot of misunderstanding and myths surrounding licensing on VMware. For those of you who missed the webinar or simply want to reference the very useful and clear best practice please follow the link to Bart’s blog below.

If we can save 10% on DB Licenses… We easily justified 50% more expensive infrastructure.”– Bart Sjerps

Read and download the full Presentation.

You can contact Bart directly if you have any queries on the topics he presented via Bart Sjerps,,  +31-6-27058830  or check out his site.

The Q&A following the webinar provided some really useful points. Some excerpts are below.

Q: For normal data guard should I have to pay for normal DB, EE or SE licenses or no need?

Data Guard is free but requires both primary and standby host to be fully licensed. It requires Enterprise Edition. If you use advanced features such as running read-only queries on the standby, then you need Active Data Guard licenses on both nodes. Note that there is no technical difference between “normal” and “active” data guard. You need to pay for the licence as soon as you use the Active Data Guard features.

Q: I’d like to know about replication Virtualized Oracle DB Server using VSphere , should I worry about consistency?

A: VMware (vSphere) does not buffer any IO and passes any writes directly to the underlying storage. Consistency is therefore not dependent on whether or not you are running virtualized or physical. If you use any kind of storage replication (such as Dell EMC Recoverpoint, SRDF, VPLEX etc) then you must make sure that all volumes for a database are replicated as one “consistency” group, such that after a failover you don’t get timing issues between the different database volumes. Again, this is the same whether you run virtual or physical.

Also, I highly recommend testing failover at least every 6 months or so, to make sure your D/R strategy is working in case you really need it. I have experience with customers who added local volumes but forgot to replicate those volumes which resulted in non-recoverable D/R systems. Using Dell EMC snapshot features of your storage array allows you to perform D/R testing during normal weekdays so your primary database and DR replication stay active even while you perform DR testing (which you cannot do with Data Guard).

Q: How to use VMware in a DR site and the production site has engineered system ? Without high cost

A: Interesting scenario. Assuming Engineered System is either Exadata (most likely) or Supercluster, the challenge here is that Oracle does not allow connectivity of non-Oracle storage, so we cannot use classic SAN replication here. We need to discuss in more detail but a few options you may consider:

Backup Exadata with EMC Data Domain, replicate to another Data Domain in the D/R site and use that to recover your database (you can use it to daily update your standby using replicated backup files). This would be a very cost efficient solution but the tradeoff is that it would take some time to recover after a failover (so the RTO – recovery time objective) would not be close to zero.

Use Data Guard (the free version) to replicate to a Dell EMC system. There are some disadvantages here and care must be taken that you don’t use Hybrid Columnar Compression – as this would have to be de-compressed in order to start the standby database.

Best solution: re-platform production from Engineered System to Dell EMC proven solution and then you can use any D/R method you like, as well as save on license cost as we have shown in the presentation

Q: How are Madora funded / paid for ? How does the local DELL EMC (Think DELL folks) BU generate revenue from a Madora engagement?

A: I’ve had this question before several times so it’s an important point and we should have that in a future version of the presentation. There is no formal partnership between Madora and Dell EMC, because Madora must be able to provide completely independent advice to customers and not be biased because being sub-contracted by Dell EMC. So for Dell EMC sales teams there is no direct revenue stream, however, the chance of winning infrastructure deals increases because a) customers can save money and spend it on the infrastructure that is needed to achieve those savings, and b) bringing in licence expertise can eliminate the objections raised by the customer on licensing, support, audits etc.

Q: How and why can a Customer move to STANDARD Edition ?   (Slide 12)

If you have a database on Enterprise Edition and want to move to Standard Edition (Standard Edition 2 – SE2 – in future deployments as of Oracle version 12) then you must consider if there are any Oracle features in use that are not available in SE. If that is not the case, you can install a server with SE and move the datafiles, then restart the database. Again, test the scenario before go live as the devil is often in the details. Also you need to make sure you have enough SE licenses because you are not allowed to run SE using enterprise edition licenses. Madora may be able to help converting or re-negotiating licenses. Oracle will probably push back because it’s a reduction in their revenue stream.

Q: Can you convert exadata quarter (rack) to ovm and reduce the licenses of DB and reuse them in DR site ? without buying new licenses .

A: As long as the total number of physical processors is licensed then that should be possible. Note that with OVM you have many of the same (perceived or real) license issues as with VMware (but Oracle doesn’t tell you that). Note that I would not recommend running OVM as it’s not best practice and does not offer the same level of performance management, 3rd party tooling integration and features as VMware, however, on Exadata it’s your only option next to running physical. I haven’t seen any customers yet who run OVM on Exadata for mission-critical workloads yet so make sure you know what you are doing before starting such a journey.