Any mention of virtualization causes many people to immediately think of VMware, as they remain to be a main player among virtualization technologies. The challenge of keeping up with Oracle’s evolving licensing requirements of virtualization platforms can be a daunting endeavor for many IT departments and Oracle database administrators.
Any technological advancement made by VMware, specifically relating to any abilities to easily move server sessions around the virtualized environment, prompts a new possible interpretation of licensing requirements by Oracle on the popular platform.
We refer to the requirement updates as “changes of interpretation” since Oracle’s documented policy guidelines have never actually changed. Oracle’s “Hard Partitioning Policy” simply indicates that VMware is considered by Oracle to be soft-partitioning and does not consider any of its features capable of satisfactorily limiting software licensing through resource partitioning. Oracle’s concerns stem from any possibility for a client to inadvertently and rapidly expand the use of Oracle software without proper licensing.
As VMware’s features have developed into enabling greater flexibility in redistributing computing resources, Oracle’s continually evolving licensing requirements have adapted. IT departments should carefully plan the use of Oracle software within their VMware environments. Oracle can be just as harsh in licensing their software within other virtualized environments, including their own virtualization products.
Oracle VM Server for x86 is based-on and incorporates the open-source Xen hypervisor technology. Oracle recognizes the feature of the virtualization platform which enables the pinning of CPU’s to virtual machines. This enables OVM to be used to partition the processing resources of a server, which Oracle considers to be hard-partitioning. However, should you activate live migration capabilities within a pool of these servers then the accepted hard-partitioning scenario described above is invalidated, and all physical processors are required to be licensed. This would give it the same challenge as experienced with VMware.
IBM Power servers that have LPAR technology, which is recognized by Oracle for the hard-partitioning of server resources, will face the same dilemma. Once those servers are tied together through the use of IBM Live Partition Mobility features, the use of LPAR technology for hard-partitioning is invalidated.
Just because you utilize virtualization technology that Oracle does recognize as having hard-partitioning capabilities, you could be invalidating those features due to the way you are implementing the technology.
Please contact Miro Consulting should you have any license compliance concerns regarding the way you are implementing your virtualization technology.