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Miro Consulting specializes in software license audit defense, license management, subscription management, and cloud services, for Oracle, Microsoft & IBM.

Microsoft Tenant-Level Services Licensing Guidance

Microsoft Tenant-Level Services Licensing GuidanceIn a document published on August 13, 2019, Microsoft offered some “guidance” regarding licensing concerns around tenant-level services. “Guidance” is in quotes because the document is very unclear.

Some background first: Microsoft defines “tenant-level services” as those online services that when licensed for any user in the tenant, it becomes available – activated, in Microsoft terms – becomes accessible for all users in that tenant.

The Microsoft document includes the disclaimer:

Some tenant services are not currently capable of limiting benefits to specific users. Efforts should be taken to limit the service benefits to licensed users. This will help avoid potential service disruption to your organization once targeting capabilities are available.

On two levels, this can be disconcerting news to organizations who make use of tenant-level services. We’ll look at the second one first: a potential service disruption. This is technical in nature but also holds some business ramifications. That is, when Microsoft does implement targeting capabilities – likely without any warning or pre-announcement or grace period – it could cause some failures within the company’s business operations.

The second issue addresses license compliance. More importantly, it addresses an organization’s lack of controls in the management of their software estate. Unless that organization has a sound software asset management (“SAM”) program and/or regular monitoring and/or a software compliance officer, it could easily fall prey to unanticipated expenditures in the form of software licensing and subscription services.

Tenant-level services can ease the management of users with differing capabilities. But since Microsoft is not aware of the extent to which these capabilities – such as information protection – would be used, they enable these capabilities for all users within the tenant. This is risky! And Microsoft acknowledges this, prompting the distribution of their guidance.

Proper management of this environment – and, in fact, the entire Microsoft estate – is essential. Miro can assist clients in helping them to understand the caveats associated with the tenant-level services they are considering for subscription. For more information on this or any Microsoft topic, please contact Miro Consulting.

[1] Be aware that Microsoft, like any vendor, can implement governance tactics to protect their own intellectual property. With this guidance having warned that “efforts should be taken to limit the service” the continued, unlicensed use of the capabilities can be considered both flagrant and non-compliant.


Exclusive: Oracle clarifies Java Licensing with WebLogic & Solaris

Miro Consulting has received confirmation from Oracle regarding the use of Java with Solaris & WebLogic.Java Licensing with WebLogic & Solaris

  • Using Java for commercial devices now requires a Java license from Oracle
  • WebLogic & Solaris ship with Java embedded as part of the software
  • Users do not need a Java license for the use of WebLogic and/or Solaris, it’s included as part of the WebLogic and/or Solaris license
  • The WebLogic and/or Solaris license does not cover the use of Java for any other purpose, but it does cover applications made using WebLogic
  • Any other uses of Java on the machine does require a separate Java license
  • Desktops, Servers, Laptops, Mobile devices and basically anything that connects to the internet uses Java
  • Java licenses cost $30 per year, per client device; $300 per year, per licensable core**

As of January 2019, all commercial usage of Java requires a Java license.  This includes all servers, desktops, laptops, and similar that use Java, and almost all of them do.

In earlier updates, Miro explained that Oracle now licenses Java SE 11 for commercial use. It’s important to note that commercial features – like the Advanced Management Console – always required licensing.

We also expanded on how Oracle defines Java users:

  • Personal Users currently* do not require licensing as they use Java and/or its components for their own use.
  • Commercial Users utilize one or more Java components for production or business purposes either internally-developed or acquired through a third-party. They either must be licensed themselves or via the third-party application.
  • For Oracle Customers, one or more of the following would be true: a) There is a current Java subscription; and/or b) A perpetual license of Java exists; and/or c) Java is licensed via another Oracle product.

The third part of the Oracle Customer definition comes with its own restrictions: That the instance of Java can typically only be used with and for the product in which it is included.

It is also the reason for this update. Solaris – an Oracle product – includes Java. But not like WebLogic. WebLogic is Oracle’s premier application server product. And WebLogic Enterprise Edition includes Java. To be specific, the inclusion states that “Java SE is included for client applications that access WebLogic Server.”

So, this means that an application can be written to use WebLogic and make use of the Java that is included in it. That is, a Java application. And this application does not require Oracle Database or e-Business Suite or any other Oracle product. It can be used to access virtually any data repository. As long as it is a WebLogic application (i.e., the application uses WebLogic as its middleware component), it can use Java.

However, Oracle confirmed for Miro that the Java that is included in Solaris “… only covers the commercial use of the Oracle Java it ships for Oracle Solaris components that use Oracle Java…” This might be alarming to customers if they have Java applications running on Solaris without licensing either through a Java SE subscription or via another product like WebLogic. This is even more alarming in that this change took effect right after January 2019. In other words, corresponding with the last public update of Java 8.

It’s worth pointing out that WebLogic includes Java SE Advanced, the perpetual license of Java. This particular component of WebLogic can only be used for WebLogic Server. Solaris works in the same way. Except that WebLogic also contains Java SE for client programs whereas Solaris does not.

So this development is something of a new crisis. And there are several alternatives for organizations who find themselves in this position. Miro has the expertise and the resources necessary to help organizations navigate the often mysterious seas of Java licensing.  Contact Miro to find out more about Java licensing requirements and to save on Oracle licensing and support costs

*Per Oracle, personal use of Java is free through December 2020. Whether this is modified in any way remains to be seen.

**refers only to devices owned by commercial entities.  Personal devices used for commercial purposes may or may not require a commercial Java license


Microsoft Announces New Restrictions on Licensing in the Cloud

Microsoft Cloud Service Provider Policy Change

Microsoft has announced the availability of Dedicated Hosts. In conjunction with this announcement, Microsoft will implement new rules effective October 1, 2019 surrounding the use of traditional on-premise licenses with cloud-based dedicated hosts.

Aimed at services which provide for single-tenant hosts, the move by Microsoft follows Oracle’s treatment of deployments at service providers and might be viewed as a revenue generating tactic.

Policy Change Overview

  • New or upgraded licenses purchased after October 1, 2019 are subject to these new rules. Per the FAQ document published by Microsoft, “Any rights you have today still apply in the future to your use of existing versions under licenses purchased before the October 1, 2019 effective date.”
  • These new or upgraded licenses require Software Assurance – a surcharge of 25% of the prevailing server software license price – in order to be used at the Listed Providers, which currently includes Microsoft, AWS (including VMware Cloud on AWS), Google, and Alibaba.
  • The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit will include the use of Azure Dedicated Hosts which were announced on August 1, 2019. However, the use of Azure Dedicated Hosts precludes the dual deployment option (i.e., running workloads simultaneously in Azure and on-premises) for Windows Server Datacenter Edition. Note that the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit requires active Software Assurance.
  • The new policy allows for the provider’s use of a Service Provider License Agreement or “SPLA,” in which the license rights are included in the cost of cloud services. This is a potential option for subscribers.

Client Software Specifics

  • Windows (client) Enterprise will not be allowed for use on Listed Providers dedicated hosts except for Windows Virtual Desktop Access (“VDA”) Plan E3 or Plan E5 deployments after October 1, 2019. Existing deployments have until October 1, 2020 to relocate these deployments.
  • The use of Office Professional Plus licenses acquired on or after October 1, 2019 on Listed Providers’ dedicated hosted cloud services isn’t permitted with or without Software Assurance because the product is not included within License Mobility. Earlier purchases (i.e., prior to October 1, 2019), are still governed by the use rights in effect during the purchase or upgrade.

This new policy effectively changes the game for organizations that have taken advantage of dedicated host offerings (often from a security or performance perspective) from vendors other than Microsoft. To see how you are affected, please contact Miro.


Oracle Enterprise Metrics

For large companies that utilize Oracle products, one of the main goals often remains sustaining both manageability and cost.  In order to do so, Oracle provides a number of different ways in which to license their products.  A range of factors influences which particular licensing model makes the most sense for a given product.

What type of environment will this product be used in, such as production, pre-production, or development? Is the user base expanding, contracting or remaining the same? Is this product something expected to become integral to the company’s day to day business needs or is this simply a requirement for this moment, or this project, but the future use remains unclear?  All of these considerations can make deciding on the right type of license a struggle for even the most Oracle savvy team.

Enterprise Metrics, offered by Oracle, are measured differently from User based or Hardware based metrics.  They revolve around counts outside the actual number of people granted access to the application, or the underlying hardware upon which an application is run.  These counts can be in measurements based on Revenue, Employee Count, or Cost of Goods Sold.  These types of licenses are meant to simplify the managerial aspects of monitoring access to a particular application, however they do have their own set of pros and cons that should be taken into consideration before a purchase decision is made.

Oracle Enterprise Metric Advantages:

  • Non-User Based Measurement
    Enterprise Metrics do not focus on the actual number of users, but on figures related to the overall company structure and performance. These include number of Employees, amount of Revenue in Millions of Dollars, or amount of Cost of Goods Sold in Millions of Dollars, as well as others.  Because the measurement of these metrics is not based on users, the user pool can be as large or as small as a company requires and there is no need to actively monitor and control access rights.
  • Lower Initial Cost
    For clients with a very large user base, Enterprise Metrics typically provide a lower initial cost for obtaining licenses, due to the lower overall cost of an individual license, as well as an aggressive discount schedule.
  • Predictable Future Costs
    When a company purchases an Enterprise Metric based application, Oracle typically establishes an Expansion Exhibit, which lays out the cost and quantity for future purchases. These terms are negotiable and may involve specific triggers in terms of overages, at which point a company would need to make a purchase.  These exhibits also establish a set price, locking in discounts and giving a company a clear understanding of future costs, while avoiding the need to renegotiate for every future purchase.

Oracle Enterprise Metric Disadvantages:

  • Ongoing True Up
    While the fact that the licenses are not tied to the actual user count is often a major benefit for many organizations, one must consider the potential downside.  In situations where the growth of an application stalls, or even decreases, but the overall figure under which the application is licensed continues to grow, say Millions of Dollars in Revenue, a client will be required to continue purchasing licenses, reducing the overall value seen from the application.
  • Reduced Contractual Flexibility
    As mentioned in the Advantages section, an Expansion Exhibit is established during the initial purchase of licenses.  While this helps to create predictability in terms of future costs, it also ties all future purchases of licenses together, effectively creating an ever growing single CSI under which all the licenses of a particular product are owned.  If the metric under which the product is owned suddenly decreases due to economic downturn, it is much more difficult to reduce the quantity of licenses for the product in question, due to Oracle’s repricing rules.
  • Limited Migration Paths:
    Many of Oracle’s license structures provide paths for converting licenses. The most common being from Named User Plus to Processor, or from Limited Use to Full Use.  Enterprise metrics on the other hand do not typically have straightforward migration paths should a client desire to move to a more traditional user based metric.  While it can be done, it generally involves a much more involved level of negotiation with Oracle.

Enterprise Metrics provide a great additional option for those licensing applications on premise, but what about in the Cloud?

Cloud Implications:

The Enterprise Metric applications discussed earlier can generally be utilized in the public cloud without concern for the underlying provider, or hardware on which the application is deployed.  The only exception would be if one’s contract with Oracle specifically forbids it, which can sometimes be the case in ULA and ELA situations.

Oracle also offers Enterprise Metrics in the Cloud.  Oracle’s Fusion Cloud Subscriptions include a number of products sold both under traditional Hosted User metrics and under Cloud Enterprise metrics such as Hosted Millions of Dollars in Revenue, Hosted Millions of Dollars in Freight under Management, and Hosted Employee.

Due to the fact that Cloud Services are subscription based, a customer may have more flexibility should it be deemed that the service is no longer needed, or the figure upon which the metric is based decreases.  A company can potentially have more opportunity to adjust during economic downturns than otherwise would exist with on premise solution.

However, it is important to note that any potential decrease in pricing would still need to be negotiated and even though there is a drop in the enterprise figure, new pricing for the reduced quantity may not lead to a linear change in price and could end up being the same.

One important consideration for any company is the fact that Fusion Cloud Services are not the same as the on premise applications that they aim to replace.  They have their own specific functionality, and often do not have the same level of customizability.  It is important to consider carefully the specific requirements for a given solution and whether the Cloud Service provides all the functionality needed for the on premise solution it will replace.

About Miro Consulting:
Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management and subscription services for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, and Salesforce.  We specialize in License & Portfolio Optimization Reviews, Audit Advisory Services, Contract Negotiation Advisory, and Entitlement Management Services.  Contact us for more information.


Microsoft Unified Support

At the start of its 2019 fiscal year, Microsoft launched Unified Support as a replacement for Premier Support. At the time, it was hailed as the most substantial change to Microsoft’s support programs in two decades, and that it offers customers a simpler, cohesive method of incorporating all of its Microsoft support needs.

Since that time, many Miro Clients have been approached by Microsoft – some would suggest badgered by them – to move from Premier Support to Unified Support.

And the response has been overwhelmingly negative for two reasons: the cost, and its relative value. We’ll examine these two factors momentarily, but it might be worth it to refresh our memories about how Unified Support is offered.

Background

Perhaps the best way to do that is via the following graphic that compares and contrasts the Premier Support agreement with the various levels of the Unified Support agreement.

Offering

PREMIER SUPPORT

MICROSOFT UNIFIED SUPPORT

Core

Advanced

Performance

Pricing

Pricing is based on forecasted consumption and on that number of hours per discipline

Pricing is based on annual costs:

Applications / System Pools: 6%
(including Office 365 subscriptions)

Server Pool: 8%
(including Client Access Licenses)

Pricing is based on annual costs:

Applications / System Pools: 8%
(including Office 365 subscriptions)

Server Pool: 10%
(including Client Access Licenses)

Pricing is based on annual costs:

Applications / System Pools: 10%
(including Office 365 subscriptions)

Server Pool: 12%
(including Client Access Licenses)

Account Management

Technical Account Manager ("TAM")

Team: shared or dedicated (a more costly option)

Service Delivery Team

Service Delivery Manager

Service Delivery Manager

Proactive Support

Must be included in forecast model

No limit

No limit

No limit

Proactive Support Risk assessments, planning, implementation, and other  engagements

Included in Support Assistance hours

Extra fees for this optional service

Must be scheduled 60 days in advance

Must be scheduled 60 days in advance

Problem Resolution Support ("PRS") – Reactive support

Must be included in forecast model

No limit

No limit

No limit

Problem Resolution Support ("PRS") – Online services

Included in Problem Resolution Support without consuming hours

Included in fees for Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics

Included in fees for Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics

Included in fees for Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics

Response Time

Catastrophic / critical: One (1) hour

Standard: Two (2) hours during business hours

Catastrophic / critical: One (1) hour

Standard: Eight (8) hours

Catastrophic / critical: One (1) hour

Standard: Four (4) hours

Catastrophic / critical: 30 minutes

Standard: Four (4) hours

High Level Technical Support

Extra fees for this optional service

Not available

Part of program and includes priority forwarding for catastrophic / critical issues

Part of program and includes priority forwarding for all issues

Minimum Contract Amount

N/A

$25,000

$50,000

$175,000

 

Analysis

Perhaps the single most significant change is the cost. First, the Unified Support agreement has a minimum contract amount. But if unlimited Proactive Support is required, for example, then opting for Unified Support would be the correct call. However, even the least costly option – the Core program – could result in a higher expense.

To illustrate, consider a traditional Premium Support contract with 80 hours of Proactive Support and 385 hours of Problem Resolution Support (of which 226 were covered by Software Assurance) costs about $120,000.

In order to have 226 hours of Problem Resolution Support, the estimated spend is about $3.34M annually. This would translate into an annual cost for Unified Support of $205,000 for the Core program (i.e., the lowest level) regardless of the status of deployment.

Explanation of Costs

The second aspect of Unified Support that many of Miro’s Clients find unattractive is the perceived value. Many of them explained how the regular reports that Premier Support included were never received. And they attributed that lack of service as a future accompaniment to the more expensive Unified Support.

But most of the Clients who had considered Unified Support thought that the way in which the agreement works was overkill. The reason the disciplines within the Premier Support agreement were so deliberately calculated was because of the mission critical nature of the few applications that warranted the additional investment. The amounts in Figure 2 were drawn from a real-life scenario.

The Client had determined that the number of Proactive Support hours and the number of Problem Resolution Support hours were deemed sufficient for their plans for the ensuing year. And they based these calculations on the quantity of users, the quantity of applications, the Microsoft products that were deployed, and the impact to their business should these applications become non-operational. Other Microsoft products whose importance didn’t reach the heights of “mission critical” were discounted, even though, in this instance, some of them were covered by Software Assurance.

This level of planning can be tedious. Sure. But it lent a level of flexibility to the Client in terms of investing in support.

Availability

As of the beginning of Microsoft’s fiscal 2020 on July 1, 2019, Unified Support is expected to be widely available as it continues its global roll out.

Conclusion

An IT professional must maintain adequate support for the organization’s mission critical applications. And Microsoft’s Unified Support program could well play into that. But it is important to determine whether Unified Support is the right fit.

You are invited to contact Miro Consulting to for additional information.


Java Licensing for IBM

IBM, or other Vendor, Hardware and Software users may not be immune to Oracle Java changes

The short of it:  If you have downloaded a version of Java from java.com, it’s Oracle Java.

Since January 2019, Oracle requires subscriptions for any updates, including security updates, for Oracle JDK.  Please refer to Miro’s previous blog post on Oracle’s announcement:  Java updates will require a Commercial License for Businesses after January 2019

In addition to Miro’s previous blog post, IBM made a series of announcements regarding Oracle’s decision and posted a FAQ that they’ve been updating.

Basically, IBM recommends using IBM Java for any products that included it, or OpenJDK.  IBM has also stepped up their role in the OpenJDK project.

This isn’t a repeat of the warning Miro provided about Oracle Java back in September 2018.  Here’s an example of how the Oracle JDK could have been deployed in your environment as part of something that has an IBM (or other vendor’s) parent product:

If you have AS400/iSeries hardware, it includes IBM’s i Java.  This can be used with the i OS.  But let’s say you have partitions with Windows or Linux OS.  You need to install a different version of Java, and downloaded it from java.com.  That download would be Oracle JDK.

Today, the download page of java.com makes it clear something has changed that may not have been present when you originally downloaded from the java.com site in the past:

IBM Java

 

To learn more about Java’s new licensing requirements, check out our Java FAQ.

 

About Miro:

Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management services, specializing in license management, audit advisory, negotiation tactics, support management, and cloud services. We help our clients maximize ROI on their software license investments, stay in compliance, and minimize the impact of audits. Miro’s performance guarantee promises that our long-tenured, diverse, and passionate team of expert analysts provides insightful and actionable advice to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

 


Oracle Licensing Guide 2019

Oracle Licensing Guide 2019 now available

Oracle Licensing Guide 2019New York, NY – Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management and subscription management services for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, and Salesforce.  We specialize in license management, audit advisory, negotiation tactics, support management, and cloud services.

Miro Consulting has just released the 2019 version of its Oracle Licensing Guide, available for free here: http://p.miroconsulting.com/oracle-licensing-guide

Due to changes in Oracle policies and rules, managing Oracle Licensing and maintaining compliance can prove challenging.  Audits are not getting any less frequent, and unbudgeted out-of-compliance fees can range into the millions of dollars.

Compliance issues can be largely mitigated by organizations which engage in a comprehensive expert review of their Oracle usage and entitlements before being notified of an audit. Organizations may uncover opportunities for substantial cost savings and cost avoidance during a license review process.

The Oracle Licensing Guide 2019 covers all of the most significant aspects of Oracle Licensing, including:

  • Common License Compliance Issues
  • Audit Triggers
  • Strategic Contract Options
  • License & Subscription Types
  • Cloud Credits & BYOL
  • Development Server Licensing
  • Data Recovery Licensing
  • Support Renewals
  • More…

To view the guide and download your personal free copy,  go to http://p.miroconsulting.com/oracle-licensing-guide

Miro can engage in a comprehensive review of the client’s assets, entitlements, contracts and purchasing documents to help the client remain in compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies.  If you have received an official audit notice from Oracle, or expect one soon, contact Miro as soon as possible to achieve the best possible settlement.  Our performance guarantee means that the cost savings will always be higher than our fee.

 

To learn more about how Miro can help with your licensing needs, including Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce and Adobe, and for media contacts, please contact Shawn Donohue, VP of Marketing at sdonohue@miroconsulting.com or call 732-738-8511 x1205.

 

About Miro:

Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management services, specializing in license management, audit advisory, negotiation tactics, support management, and cloud services. We help our clients maximize ROI on their software license investments, stay in compliance, and minimize the impact of audits. Miro’s performance guarantee promises that our long-tenured, diverse, and passionate team of expert analysts provides insightful and actionable advice to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.


Expiration of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Extended Support Reminder

Although this blog is a reprise, it is important to remember that SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows 2008 R2 Extended Support is expiring soon.  SQL Server 2008 R2 Extended Support will expire on July 9, 2019 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Extended Support will expire on January 14, 2020.  Migration from both Windows and SQL Server can be time consuming and tie up resources that cannot always be pulled quickly from other projects.  As a result customers can often realize too late that their servers are no longer protected from malicious attacks or software failures.  Considering the popularity of SQL Server a quick review of potential issues can be helpful.

Microsoft announced that Extended Support for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 will end on July 9, 2019 and Extended Support for Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 will end on January 14, 2020.

Customers that remain on these versions beyond the deadline will no longer receive patches or security updates and would be limited to Self-help Online Support. Self-help Online Support is usually available for a minimum of 12 months after the product reaches the end of Extended Support and is limited to resolving common issues through public knowledge base articles, FAQ, troubleshooting tools, and other resources.

Options

Customers that need additional time or prefer the flexibility of choosing when to upgrade their workloads have two options:

  • Rehost to Azure Virtual Machine or move to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance
  • Upgrade on-premise environments

Azure

Customers have the option to rehost their SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 workloads on Azure Virtual Machine (VM). With this option, Microsoft is offering up to three years of Extended Security Updates with no additional charge over the standard Azure VM pricing. This option is available to customers with Software Assurance coverage for the servers that require Extended Security Support.

Customers also have the option to move their SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 workloads to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. The Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is a managed database-as-a-service that will be available in the fourth quarter of 2018. Customers moving to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance do not need Extended Security Updates since this is a fully managed solution.

On-Premise

Customers who wish to remain on-premise and need additional time to upgrade to the latest SQL Server and Window Server versions can purchase up to three years of Extended Security Updates. This option is available to customers with Software Assurance or Subscription licenses under an Enterprise Agreement enrollment and can be purchased annually to cover only the servers that require Extended Security Support. The pricing for this option is 75% of the full license cost annually.

Conclusion

Organizations should identify every application running on SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and choose the right migration and/or upgrade path for each application before the deadline goes into effect to avoid security and compliance risks. Please contact your trusted Miro Analyst or Miro Account Manager for questions or assistance with End of Support options for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 to ensure a fully secure and compliant environment.

 

About Miro:

Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management services, specializing in license management, audit advisory, negotiation tactics, support management, and cloud services. We help our clients maximize ROI on their software license investments, stay in compliance, and minimize the impact of audits. Miro’s performance guarantee promises that our long-tenured, diverse, and passionate team of expert analysts provides insightful and actionable advice to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.