Will Oracle Exadata Put You at a Greater License Audit Risk?

Oracle exadata serverAs we mentioned in our blog post on Oracle’s fiscal year, Oracle is really pushing its line of Exadata/Exalogic hardware products. Every single Palisade Compliance customer has been approached by their Oracle sales teams about buying an Exadata machine. That cannot be a coincidence. The question we must now ask is: Does buying an Exadata machine put you at a greater risk of an Oracle audit and non compliance finding?

Let’s take a minute to walk through the process and then you decide. A typical Exadata purchase revolves around a company upgrading their existing servers (IBM/HP/DELL etc) and replacing them with an Exadata machine. During a normal hardware upgrade there is a process where you develop and test on the new systems, go live with the new systems, and then bring down the old legacy systems. For ease of discussion, say that your existing servers have 100 processors and you have 100 licenses. Congratulations, you are in compliance with your license grant!! Now you go and buy this brand new Exadata machine with 64 processors. You begin to test and develop on Exadata and eventually you put it in production. Now you have 64 processors of database on Exadata and 100 processors of database running on legacy hardware. Guess what, if you only have 100 processor licenses of Oracle database then you are out of compliance.

The hardware refresh scenario I just described is typical. If you are an Oracle customer and you get audited during that cycle then you may very well be found out of compliance. I’ve see audit after audit find compliance issues because customers did not have their test and development environments properly licensed. The added risk with Oracle Exadata is that in this scenario Oracle usually knows when you are doing your upgrades. They are probably involved in the test/dev processes. You’ve either engaged with their consulting or hardware services teams or you are calling on support and logging tickets. Unless you bought more licenses when you bought your Exadata then you are an email away from being audited.

So the question for you is: Do you think Oracle would use this information to target their customers for license compliance audits? If I were an Exadata customer I wouldn’t take the risk. If you’re considering upgrading the Exadata servers, contact us to proactively manage your Oracle licenses and contracts to avoid the headaches and costs associated with these types of audits. The other option is that you cross your fingers and hope you don’t get audited.