Oracle to release on-prem software usage tools to prep cloud switch

Experts advise caution in sharing data with Big Red – it could be used in license audits

Experts in software licensing are warning users against wholly adopting new tools Oracle promises will help map and size on-prem installations in preparation for a move to the cloud.

Adviors at Palisade Compliance said data from the tools, which an Oracle executive said were months away from launch, could be used by Big Red to sell more cloud instances than customers want or need, launch a software audit, and be used against customers in an audit process.

Last month, Felicia Parilo, senior manager with Oracle Global Partner Advisory, told a webinar hosted by the International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA) - attended by The Reg - that Oracle is working with third-party tool vendors and developing its own tools "to be able to capture the actual usage" of on-premises software in preparation for its customers' move to the cloud.

"There's the contractual mapping exercise, and then there's also a sizing exercise for actual usage," she said.

Parilo said she did not have a release date for the tools, only that they would be available in "future months."

Craig Guarente, Palisade Compliance founder and CEO, warned that any data from the tools shared with Oracle could be used by its license management services (LMS) audit team to help sell Oracle cloud.

But the former Oracle executive said users should not feel pressured into using the tools or sharing data outside their contractual obligations.

"Oracle users do not have to use any tools or provide any information to Oracle that is not spelled out in their contracts. If the tools allow customers to gain insight into their environment without providing data back to Oracle, or any other firm, then they could be beneficial. We will have to wait and see what Oracle comes up with," he said.

Customers moving to Oracle's cloud would have to provide some information to Oracle so it can price, size, and configure the environment properly. "It's best that you know this information and tell Oracle what you need," he said.

Sharing data with Oracle without careful oversight could lead to unforeseen consequences, he cautioned.

"Unfortunately, you need to be very careful when working with Oracle because their LMS audit teams work very closely with their sales teams. Anything you say to Oracle may be used against you in a compliance dispute. For example, if you tell Oracle you are using VMWare they may make a claim of non-compliance. I wish it wasn't this way."

Scott Jensen, Oracle practise lead at software licensing advisors Anglepoint, said customers have good reason to be concerned about running Oracle-provided measurement tools and returning the data to Oracle. "After all, Oracle has been known to share customer usage data between sales teams and even to their audit division, while the original intent for sharing the data was to undergo a scoping exercise similar to what Oracle is now offering for Cloud migrations."

However, Jensen pointed out Oracle is offering substantial financial incentives for their existing on-premises customers to move to Oracle Cloud, including credits of up to 50 percent towards existing Oracle Support spending.

The Register has asked Oracle to comment. ®

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