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Oracle on VMware vSphere & vSAN – Dispelling the Licensing myths

Introduction to VMware vSphere & vSAN

Some key things to keep in mind when we talk about VMware vSphere Platform , ESXi hypervisor and vSAN:

  • VMware vSphere is a platform of virtualized hardware that creates a total abstraction layer between the O/S and the Hardware
  • ESXi, is a non-Para virtualized, Type1 hypervisor and therefore makes no changes to the kernel of the guest operating system
  • VMware vSAN , the industry-leading software powering Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solution,  in no  way changes the location of where compute runs, and hence does not directly impact the licensing impact of any CPU Core or Socket based licensing

Oracle Licensing Myths

There are myths floating around that

  • Oracle Licensing requires licensing every vSphere host attached to a given vCenter
  • Oracle licensing requires licensing every Site connected to the Primary site where the Oracle workloads primarily resides

These myths are perpetuated by overzealous licensing and sales teams which is in contrast of the reality of the actual Contractually Impactful documents.

If this were true , it would require you to license EVERY existing vSphere host in EVERY datacenter and cloud , be that yours or a company down the street as vCenter’s and SSO domains are not an obstacle to vMotion. and So by this faulty logic you would need to license every host in the galaxy.

That faulty logic would cost you many $$$ , probably buy you a beautiful island 🙂

 

island

This post intends to clear up the reality of how to effectively license Oracle workload on VMware vSphere & vSAN and to make it a cost effective one as well.

Oracle licensing DOES NOT change from a licensing perspective, whether you run Oracle workloads on a classic vSphere environment or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solution like vSAN.

Oracle Licensing on VMware vSphere

Oracle Licensing on VMware sessions have been run successfully in many Trade shows / Events ( notably IOUG, EMC World, VMworld ) , also Webinars, where it has been proved beyond any doubt , that there are only there are only 3 documents which are contractual and relevant for any Oracle licensing discussion and contractual:

  • Technical Support Policy
  • Processor Core Factor Table
  • Oracle License and Service Agreement (OLSA)  / Oracle Master Agreement(OMA)
    • The OLSA/OMA defines Processor as “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.”

There is another document called “Oracle Partitioning Policy” which is often mentioned by the licensing and sales team, what they very conveniently fail to mention is that “Oracle Partitioning Policy”  is NOT a contractual document.

Two things to keep in mind about the “Oracle Partitioning Policy”

  • “Oracle Partitioning Policy” is NOT referenced in any way in the OLSA/OMA and hence is not an artifact in any Oracle Licensing discussion
  • Read the disclaimer in the document “This document is for educational purposes only and provides guidelines regarding Oracle’s policies in effect as of April 5, 2016. It may not be incorporated into any contract and does not constitute a contract or a commitment to any specific terms

Capture

http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf

So we can safely dispel with this noise and focus on the facts ie the Contractual documents.

Thanks to numerous collateral and efforts by our premier partners notably House of Brick and License Consulting , we are able to dismiss the ridiculous claim by Oracle Sales about licensing “All Sites” or “Galaxy licensing” as we call it , when it comes to licensing Oracle on VMware.

Anyone who has read the Oracle licensing document, most important, the OLSA / OMA, is well aware that Oracle licenses are either User based (Named User Plus) or Processor(Socket in case of SE2 or cores in case of EE edition)  based.

More information about it can be found in the below documents:

SOFTWARE INVESTMENT GUIDE
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/sig-070616.pdf

Database Licensing
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/databaselicensing-070584.pdf

Oracle licensing is not Memory, Storage, Cluster, vCenter or Network based, its either User based (Named User Plus) or Processor(Socket in case of SE2 or cores in case of EE edition)  based.

So you do not need any memory segmentation, storage segmentation or for that matter any network segmentation based on the above.

Keep in mind none of these segmentation requirements are stipulated in the OLSA/OMA which is a contractual document.

The illustration below of an “Oracle Parking Garage” from House of Brick sums up the FUD!!!

 

hobhttp://houseofbrick.com/the-oracle-parking-garage/

Example of Licensing Oracle workloads on classic VMware vSphere Cluster

For example, let’s say we have a vSphere Cluster dedicated to run Oracle workloads called “OraCluster” with 3 ESXi servers, each ESXi server having 2 socket x 10 cores each.The processor is Intel Family.

Total no of effective cores for licensing Oracle workloads in “OraCluster” using Enterprise Edition (EE)
= Absolute number of cores in cluster * Processor Core Factor
= 3 servers * 2 sockets * 10 cores/socket * Processor Core Factor
= 60 * 0.5
= 30 Effective cores liable for Oracle licensing

The Processor Core factor table is published by Oracle and can be found at the below url:

corefactorhttp://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contracts/processor-core-factor-table-070634.pdf

VMware vSAN

It should be known that running vSAN In no  way impacts Oracle licensing and existing tools of segmentation (DRS affinity groups and rules) and existing auditing tools (VMware LogInsight) perform as expected.

vSAN 6.5 is the fifth generation of VMware’s industry-leading software powering Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solutions. vSAN’s unique in-kernel architecture delivers flash-optimized performance and elastically scalable storage for any virtualized application, with TCO savings of up to 50%.

 

Running Oracle workloads on VMware vSAN (Hybrid/All Flash)
As part of the effort to validate VMware Virtual SAN ability to host business critical applications we have published a reference architecture (RA) which covers the design, configuration and performance study of Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) on Virtual SAN Hybrid 6.1.

https://blogs.vmware.com/apps/2015/12/oracle-real-application-clusters-on-vmware-virtual-san.html

With VMware All Flash Virtual SAN 6.2, we introduced a suite of new features for data integrity and space efficiency including Checksum, Erasure Coding, Deduplication and Compression.

Using these features we developed an architecture for deploying and running Oracle 12c OLTP and DSS workloads on VMware All Flash Virtual SAN 6.2.

https://blogs.vmware.com/apps/2016/08/oracle-12c-oltp-dss-workloads-flash-virtual-san-6-2.html

 

Licensing Oracle workloads on VMware vSAN (Hybrid/All Flash)

Oracle licensing DOES NOT change from a licensing perspective, whether you run Oracle workloads on a classic vSphere environment or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solution like vSAN.

Oracle VM uses the compute power of the ESXi servers in the vSAN Cluster to run the Oracle workload just as in the case of a Classic vSphere Cluster.

As pointed our earlier, Oracle licenses are either User based (Named User Plus) or Processor(Socket in case of SE2 or cores in case of EE edition)  based regardless of whether Oracle workloads run on ESXI servers in a vSAN cluster OR vSphere cluster.

In the example below, we have a vSAN cluster called “vSANCluster” comprising of 4 ESXi servers contributing Compute, Storage & Network resources to the cluster.

vsan1

Each ESXi server has 2 socket x 16 cores as shown below. The processor is Intel Family.

vsan2

Oracle VM’s created can be pinned using CPU Affinity to a set of ESXi servers in the “vSANCluster” for Oracle licensing reasons.

Let’s see how we can go about doing it.

Create a VM/Host Group mapping as shown below. In the example below, “OracleVM” is the group created which has a VM “testoravm”. There is a 1:1 mapping between the “OracleVM” group and “testoravm” VM.

vsan3

Create a new Host Group “OracleVM-Host” as shown below. Hosts w2-pe-vsan-esx-029.eng.vmware.com and w2-pe-vsan-esx-030.eng.vmware.com are part of this host group.

vsan4

Create new VM/Host rules as shown below which basically will have the VM group “OracleVM” created above (with the “testoravm” VM in the group) mapped to the Host Group “OracleVM-Host” with a  “must run on hosts in group”.

vsan5

vsan6

In effect, the Oracle VM “testoravm” is now constricted and contained to run in the Compute Segmentation effectively created above.

In the example above, to run Oracle workloads in the above scenario:

Total no of effective cores for licensing Oracle workloads on 2 ESXi servers in the vSAN Cluster above using Enterprise Edition (EE)
= Absolute number of cores in cluster * Processor Core Factor
= 2 servers * 2 sockets * 16 cores/socket * Processor Core Factor
= 64 * 0.5
= 32 Effective cores liable for Oracle licensing

As we can see from the above example, we only need to license 2 ESXI servers for Oracle workloads as Oracle workloads runs only 2 ESXI servers, regardless of the size of the vSAN Cluster.

The ultimate proof of the above statement comes from the Oracle OLSA/OMA which defines Processor as “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.”

From the example above Oracle VM “testoravm” can run only on hosts w2-pe-vsan-esx-029.eng.vmware.com and w2-pe-vsan-esx-030.eng.vmware.com based on the DRS Affinity Rules.

Virtual Machine log file

The second important artifact which helps to prove without any doubt that the Oracle VM “testoravm” ran on only 2 ESXI servers is via audit trail in the Virtual Machine log file.

By default, ESXi/ESX hosts store virtual machine-specific logging in the same directory as the virtual machine’s configuration files. The default log file name is vmware.log.

Let’s see the contents of the vmware.log file for “testoravm” when we power it up.

[root@w2-pe-vsan-esx-029:/vmfs/volumes/vsan:52803547e520f694-1f6104395ada7b7c/05735458-cc86-e1e9-ca71-0025b501004e] cat vmware.log
2016-12-27T21:09:09.124Z| vmx| I125: Log for VMware ESX pid=2597049 version=6.5.0 build=build-4564106 option=Release
2016-12-27T21:09:09.124Z| vmx| I125: The process is 64-bit.
2016-12-27T21:09:09.124Z| vmx| I125: Host codepage=UTF-8 encoding=UTF-8
2016-12-27T21:09:09.124Z| vmx| I125: Host is VMkernel 6.5.0
2016-12-27T21:09:09.091Z| vmx| I125: VTHREAD initialize main thread 0 “vmx” tid 2597049
2016-12-27T21:09:09.092Z| vmx| I125: Msg_SetLocaleEx: HostLocale=UTF-8 UserLocale=NULL
……….
……….
2016-12-27T21:09:09.124Z| vmx| I125: Hostname=w2-pe-vsan-esx-029
2016-12-27T21:09:09.124Z| vmx| I125: IP=127.0.0.1 (lo0)
…..
[root@w2-pe-vsan-esx-029:/vmfs/volumes/vsan:52803547e520f694-1f6104395ada7b7c/05735458-cc86-e1e9-ca71-0025b501004e]

Based on the DRS Affinity rules, “testoravm” can only power on ESXi servers w2-pe-vsan-esx-029 or w2-pe-vsan-esx-030.

More information about the vmware.log files can be found in the below KB articles:

Locating virtual machine log files on an ESXi/ESX host (1007805)
https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1007805

Location of log files for VMware products (1021806)
https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1021806

Another product from VMware which helps for purpose of Oracle Auditing is the VMware vRealize Log Insight which delivers heterogeneous and highly scalable log management with intuitive, actionable dashboards, sophisticated analytics and broad third-party extensibility. It provides deep operational visibility and faster troubleshooting across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

VMware LogInsight dashboard can help customers gather by means of audit trail records which can then be presented to Oracle LMS team as proof of Oracle workload footprint within a vSphere Cluster or a vSAN cluster.

The video below demonstrates the capabilities of VMware vRealize LogInsight for Oracle License Compliance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHcT4xDyONc

An important factor to keep in mind is vSAN’s in kernel design reduces the need for compute sprawl and hence more Oracle licensing as compared to some of the other competitor products found in the market.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Oracle licensing does not change from a licensing perspective, whether you run Oracle workloads on a classic vSphere environment or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solution like vSAN. Keep in mind, Oracle licensing is not Memory, Storage, Cluster, vCenter or Network based, its either User based (Named User Plus) or Processor(Socket in case of SE2 or cores in case of EE edition).

To reiterate, there are only 3 documents which are contractual and relevant for any Oracle licensing discussion and contractual:

  • Technical Support Policy
  • Processor Core Factor Table
  • Oracle License and Service Agreement (OLSA)  / Oracle Master Agreement(OMA)
    • The OLSA/OMA defines Processor as “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.”

All Oracle licensing collateral on vSphere can be found at

To sum it up , the myths perpetuated by overzealous licensing and sales teams is the cause of FUD which customers are facing today.

Who you gonna call ?  “Myth busters”

For any Oracle Licensing on VMware help , please reach out to your respective VMware Account teams who can get our team involved in a discussion (Internal VMware folks can reach directly to us at the Tier1-Apps-Sales-Support team mailing list) and we can definitely help guide you and connect you to some of our premier partners if required for further discussions.

This entry was posted in DRS, ESXi, Oracle, vSphere, vSphere HA on by .
Sudhir Balasubramanian

About Sudhir Balasubramanian

Sudhir Balasubramanian is a Staff Solution Architect working in the Global Field and Partner Readiness (GFPR) group in VMware specializing in all Oracle Technologies on VMware SDDC stack. Prior to joining VMware, Sudhir has worked for close to 20 years as an Oracle Database Administrator (DBA) and Architect in Oracle Technologies which includes Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) , Data Guard, ASM and Performance Tuning. During 1995-2011 , Sudhir worked for Fortune 100 companies which includes Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) , Sony Electronics, Epsilon Marketing (Aspen/Newgen), Teletech Corp, SAIC, Active Network and Sempra Energy Holdings as Principal DBA & Architect before joining VMware in 2012 as a Senior Solution Architect in Professional Services Organization (PSO) in VMware before moving into the GFPR group in 2014. Sudhir is also experienced in EMC SAN Technologies & Unix/Linux Operating Systems along with being a VMware vBCA Specialist , VMware vExpert and VMware VCA – Cloud certified. Sudhir is also a Member of the CTO Ambassador Program , run by the VMware Office of the CTO. The CTO Ambassadors are members of a small group of VMware's most experienced and talented customer facing, individual contributor technologists. https://octo.vmware.com/author/ctoa/ Sudhir is a recognized Speaker having presented at Oracle Open World, IOUG, VMworld, VMware Partner Exchange, EMC World, EMC Oracle Summit and various Webinars and is an Industry recognized expert in Oracle Virtualization technologies. Sudhir has also co-authored a book "Virtualizing Oracle Business Critical Databases on VMware SDDC” which is a comprehensive authority for Oracle DBA ’s on the subject of Oracle & Linux on vSphere. https://www.amazon.com/Virtualize-Oracle-Business-Critical-Databases/dp/1500135127/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493001047&sr=1-1&keywords=Virtualize+Oracle+Business+Critical+Databases Sudhir regularly blogs at the official VMware Application blog site https://blogs.vmware.com/apps Sudhir also blogs on his personal website http://vracdba.com Sudhir holds a degree in Master of Computer Science from San Diego State University (SDSU) graduating in 2011. Sudhir also holds a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science Engineering from Bangalore University. Twitter @vracdba

12 thoughts on “Oracle on VMware vSphere & vSAN – Dispelling the Licensing myths

  1. Sumeet

    Hi Sudhir – I am based out of New Delhi and drive Government and Public Sector accounts. In all of my accounts Oracle says that they do not recognize Vmware virtualization platform and only recognizes Oracle’s own virtualization platform OVM. So if customer dares to go for Vmware virtualization platform then he will be charged for the complete cluster. As a result none of my customers uses Vmware virtualization platform for running Oracle. Some customers who value us and takes our advise uses Oracle in physical servers and for rest of the surrounding workloads uses Vmware virtualization platform. I loose wherever Oracle is there. Recently I lost a RFP and one more RFP is expected shortly where customer informed us that they will use Vmware virtualization platform for non Oracle workloads which is just 25% and for majority of Oracle worlkoad he will use OVM. Can you help here.

    Reply
  2. Glen Stromquist

    Well done.

    I’ve experienced the licensing merry-go-round with Oracle. In my experience talking with Oracle licensing reps only adds to the confusion, Oracle needs to come to grips with the reality of companies using VMWare technology and get on board. Trying to force customers to use their own VM environment by means of coercion and hollow threats is only hurting their brand and driving people to their competition.

    The sad part is how many companies have given in and just paid Oracle the extra money when they did not have to, thinking they had no choice?

    Reply
    1. Sudhir BalasubramanianSudhir Balasubramanian Post author

      To re-iterate , there are only there are only 3 documents which are contractual and relevant for any Oracle licensing discussion and contractual:

      -Technical Support Policy
      -Processor Core Factor Table
      -Oracle License and Service Agreement (OLSA) / Oracle Master Agreement(OMA)
      The OLSA/OMA defines Processor as “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.”

      The soft partitioning document is NOT a contractual document and hence is void and cannot be introduced as an artifact in any Oracle Licensing discussion .

      The Soft partitioning document states “This document is for educational purposes only and provides guidelines regarding Oracle’s policies in effect as of April 5, 2016. It may not be incorporated into any contract and does not constitute a contract or a commitment to any specific terms”

      Reply
  3. Marcelo Oliveira

    This is interesting, but Sudhir, maybe I misunderstood it.

    In the vSphere example, would you still have to license all 30 liable cores, even if the DB is not actively being used in all 60 cores?

    Would these licensing terms apply to a multi-tenant environment? Can we license only the active cores for each one of the multi-tenant clients in a vSphere cluster?

    Last question: have you ever heard back officially from Oracle about this post?

    Thanks

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Oracle on VMware Collateral - One Stop Shop - Virtualize Business Critical Applications - VMware Blogs

  5. Mohamed Sewelam

    Again, as mentioned before I have read a lot about hard partitioning and soft partitioning..This article though it is very good structure; lack any mentioning of this critical point, which is a critical point in Oracle License..

    Can you please revert back to your sources and confirm this particular point?

    Reply
    1. Sudhir BalasubramanianSudhir Balasubramanian Post author

      Thanks Mohamed, as I stated in my comment to an earlier query, The soft partitioning document is NOT a contractual document and hence is void and cannot be introduced as an artifact in any Oracle Licensing discussion

      I have also updated the blog with the same

      Reply
  6. Paul Bullen

    I agree with the principle with everything on this page, however it is worth people being aware that it is not always easy to rebuke Oracle, even when using either logic or articles such as this — oddly enough Oracle won’t simply accept ‘someone else’ dictating the rules by which they audit. On that basis, be prepared for a difficult discussion (grounded in logic and fact from your side).

    Reply
  7. James Borg

    If we have an ASFU full processor license on a Vmware ESX host will all physical cores licensed as should be. Than on same host can we setup as many VMs with different Oracle installations as we want?

    Regards,
    James

    Reply
  8. FF

    We are currently being audited by Oracle and have come up against some significant differences in opinion.
    I am struggling to find anyone at vmware to speak to about it – I have tried the licensing team but they say they don’t cover Oracle on VMware.

    Is there somone I can contact for some advice?

    Thanks

    Reply

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