Licensing / Oracle licensing

Oracle Software Asset Management Tools – In-Depth Review

Oracle Software Asset Management (SAM) tools are designed to assist businesses in managing their Oracle software licenses.

Key points about these tools include:

  • Limited Accuracy: Even Oracle-verified SAM tools may not provide 100% accuracy in measuring Oracle middleware or application licenses.
  • Oracle Verification: This verification does not guarantee the tool’s ability to accurately measure and create Oracle licensing positions.
  • Beneficiaries: The main beneficiaries of Oracle-verified SAM tools are the SAM tool vendors, Oracle itself, and Oracle licensing experts.

Understanding Oracle Software Asset Management (SAM) Tools

Oracle Software Asset Management (SAM) tools are a critical component in the arsenal of modern businesses, particularly those heavily invested in Oracle technologies.

The crux of their utility lies in managing complex Oracle software licenses, an area known for its intricacy and potential for compliance pitfalls.

  • Complex Licensing Structures: Oracle’s licensing terms are notoriously complex, often leading to confusion and compliance risks.
  • Importance in License Management: SAM tools aim to simplify and streamline the management of these licenses, ensuring compliance and optimizing software spend.
  • Challenges in Accuracy: Despite their utility, these tools are not foolproof. Even Oracle-verified SAM tools may not guarantee complete accuracy in measuring software usage, particularly for Oracle middleware or application licenses.

SAM Tooling and Its Role in Oracle License Management

Oracle Software Asset Management Tool

Skepticism in Oracle Asset Management Software Tool:

  • Companies often approach SAM tooling with suspicion, especially for Oracle licensing.
  • The accuracy of these tools is not perfect, particularly for measuring Oracle middleware or application licenses.

Limitations of Third-Party Tools:

  • Even Oracle-verified SAM tools typically achieve only about 80% accuracy for database measurements.
  • It’s advisable to understand these limitations and not solely depend on them for Oracle license management.

Oracle Verification for SAM Tools: Misconceptions and Realities

Oracle Verification for SAM Tools Misconceptions and Realities
  • Being “verified by Oracle” doesn’t guarantee a tool’s ability to accurately measure and create Oracle licensing positions.
  • Oracle’s verification process doesn’t test a tool’s licensing measurement capabilities.

The Oracle SAM Tooling Verification Process:

  1. Oracle provides its License Management Services (LMS) scripts to the vendor.
  2. The vendor demonstrates their tool’s ability to run these scripts and produce an acceptable raw output file.
  3. The hardware specifications measurement is also checked, though this is rarely an issue for Oracle software license compliance.
  4. Oracle then verifies the raw output file, similar to an Oracle License Audit.
  5. Successful verification leads to marketing claims of effectively managing Oracle license compliance, though Oracle does not test actual measurement accuracy.

Actual Beneficiaries of Oracle-Verified SAM Tools:

Actual Beneficiaries of Oracle-Verified SAM Tools
  • SAM tool vendors benefit from enhanced sales figures.
  • Oracle benefits by streamlining its auditing process.
  • Oracle licensing experts can review LMS script outputs more efficiently.
  • However, customers should know that Oracle verification primarily concerns raw usage data accuracy, not other aspects like tracking or compliance determination.

Best Practices for Using Oracle SAM Tools

Strategies for Effectively Using SAM Tools:

  1. Regular Audits and Reviews: It is crucial to regularly audit and review your Oracle software usage against your licenses. This helps identify discrepancies and ensures compliance.
  2. Understanding Limitations: Acknowledge that SAM tools may not always provide 100% accuracy, especially for complex Oracle products. Use them as part of a broader compliance strategy.
  3. Combining Tools with Expert Insights: Augment the data from SAM tools with insights from Oracle licensing experts. This combination provides a more nuanced understanding of your licensing position.

Tips for Overcoming Challenges:

  • Stay Updated on Oracle Licensing Changes: Oracle’s licensing terms can change. Staying abreast of these changes helps you adapt your SAM strategy accordingly.
  • Diversify Your Toolset: Rely on a combination of tools to get a comprehensive view of your Oracle license usage. No single tool is likely to cover all bases.
  • Engage in proactive license management: Proactively manage your licenses rather than react to compliance issues or audits. This approach saves costs and reduces risk.

Top 5 Recommendations for Oracle SAM Tool Users

  1. Utilize Multiple SAM Tools: No single SAM tool is comprehensive for all Oracle products. Utilize a combination of tools to ensure broader coverage.
  2. Regular Compliance Checks: Implement a routine schedule for compliance checks. This helps in the early detection of potential licensing issues.
  3. Understand the Scope of Tool Verification: Oracle-verified does not imply infallibility. Understand what aspects of the tool Oracle has verified.
  4. Consult with Licensing Experts: Leverage the expertise of Oracle licensing specialists to interpret the data from SAM tools accurately.
  5. Document and Report Usage Accurately: Maintain thorough documentation of software usage and ensure accurate reporting, which is vital during audits.

SAM Tool vendors for Oracle

SAM Tool vendors for Oracle

Here are the SAM tool vendors that can manage Oracle software, along with their pros and cons, whether they require an agent to be installed, the Oracle software products they can manage, and their verification status by Oracle.

1. Certero

  • Pros: Comprehensive tool with a focus on user-friendliness.
  • Cons: It may lack some advanced features needed for complex environments.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

2. CloudSphere

  • Pros: Offers robust cloud management capabilities.
  • Cons: It might be more cloud-focused, which could limit functionality for on-premises environments.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database and Options.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

3. Eracent

  • Pros: Known for its comprehensive IT management solutions.
  • Cons: The interface may not be as intuitive as competitors.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

4. Flexera

  • Pros: Offers a broad range of features and a strong market presence.
  • Cons: The complexity of the tool may require a steep learning curve.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

5. Lime Software

  • Pros: Focuses on Oracle license optimization.
  • Cons: There may be a lack of breadth in other IT asset management areas.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

6. OpenText (Micro Focus)

  • Pros: Strong in data analysis and reporting.
  • Cons: It might not be as specialized in Oracle as other vendors.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database and Options.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

7. ServiceNow

  • Pros: Integrates well with broader IT service management.
  • Cons: Oracle management may not be as deep as specialized tools.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

8. SHI

  • Pros: Offers tailored IT solutions.
  • Cons: There is not a primary focus on SAM; it is more of a broader IT provider.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

9. Snow Software

  • Pros: Widely recognized and used, strong in software recognition.
  • Cons: Interface and reporting can be complex for new users.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

10. USU (formerly Aspera)

  • Pros: I specialize in software license management with a strong focus on Oracle.
  • Cons: It may not be as comprehensive in other IT areas.
  • Agent Requirement: Information not specified.
  • Oracle Products Managed: Oracle Database, Options, Fusion Middleware, Java SE.
  • Oracle Verification: Yes.

Implementing Oracle in Software Asset Management Tool

Implementing Oracle in Software Asset Management Tool

Implementing an Oracle Software Asset Management (SAM) tool effectively requires a comprehensive approach encompassing understanding your licenses, the tool’s capabilities, contract nuances, and manual processes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process:

1. Understand Your Oracle Licenses

  • Database, Middleware, Applications, and More: Inventory your Oracle licenses. This includes databases, middleware, applications, and any other Oracle products you own. Knowing precisely what licenses you have is crucial for effective asset management.
  • Tools to Assist: Utilize tools that can scan your systems to identify Oracle software installations. This can provide a baseline understanding of what Oracle products are in use.

2. Capabilities of the Oracle SAM Tool

  • Product Management Scope: Investigate which Oracle products the SAM tool can manage effectively. This typically includes databases, middleware, and certain applications, but verifying the tool’s compatibility with your specific Oracle products is important.
  • Integration with Oracle Systems: Ensure the tool integrates well with Oracle systems, providing accurate data regarding usage and compliance.

3. Review Your Oracle Contracts

  • Alignment with Product Fits: Review your Oracle contracts to ensure the products covered align with the SAM tool’s capabilities.
  • License Metric Management: Pay special attention to the license metrics in your contracts. The tool should be capable of managing these metrics, whether they are based on users, processors, or other factors.

4. Identifying Gaps

  • Tool Limitations: Understand where the SAM tool falls short. This might include certain types of Oracle products, advanced configurations, or specific licensing arrangements.
  • Documentation of Gaps: Document these gaps to develop a strategy for handling assets outside the tool’s scope.

5. Manual Processes for Uncovered Aspects

  • Develop a Process: Develop a manual process for areas where the SAM tool cannot provide coverage. This might include regular audits, manual tracking, or consultations with Oracle licensing experts.
  • Regular Reviews: Implement a schedule for regularly reviewing these manually managed assets to ensure ongoing compliance and optimization.

6. Combining Tool and Manual Processes

  • Integrated Approach: The end result will likely be using the SAM tool and manual processes. Sometimes, you may need to use different tools for different types of Oracle products.
  • Continuous Optimization: Regularly reassess your tool-based and manual processes for managing Oracle licenses to find opportunities for optimization.

Additional Tips:

  • Stay Informed: Oracle licensing is complex and subject to change. Keep yourself informed about the latest licensing rules and product updates.
  • Expert Consultation: Consider consulting with Oracle licensing experts, especially for complex environments or when preparing for an Oracle audit.
  • Customization and Configuration: Customize the SAM tool to fit your organization’s specific needs and ensure it is configured correctly to track the required data accurately.

Implementing an Oracle SAM tool is about deploying software, understanding the nuances of Oracle licensing, and complementing the tool’s capabilities with manual oversight and expert knowledge.

Following these steps, you can establish an effective SAM strategy that ensures compliance and optimizes your Oracle software investments.

FAQs on Oracle Software Asset Management Tools

What is the Oracle Software Asset Management tool?

The Oracle Software Asset Management tool is a utility that aims to help businesses manage their Oracle software licenses. However, it’s important to remember that these tools might not always provide 100% accurate results, even when verified by Oracle.

What does it mean for a SAM tool to be verified by Oracle?

Oracle verification for a SAM tool doesn’t imply that the tool can accurately measure and create licensing positions for Oracle. Oracle doesn’t test the SAM tool’s ability to perform licensing measurements as part of its verification process.

Can SAM tools accurately measure Oracle middleware or Oracle application licenses?

Typically, SAM tools struggle to accurately measure Oracle middleware or Oracle application licenses to an acceptable degree.

What is the Oracle SAM tooling verification process?

The process involves Oracle providing a version of its License Management Services (LMS) scripts to the SAM tool vendor. The vendor then demonstrates that their tool can run these scripts and generate a raw output file sent to Oracle for verification.

Who benefits from a SAM tool being verified by Oracle?

SAM tool vendors, Oracle, and Oracle licensing experts benefit from the verification. Vendors can enhance their sales figures, Oracle can expedite its auditing process, and licensing experts can review the LMS script output from the SAM tool more quickly.

What does Oracle verify in the SAM tools?

According to Garrick Brivkalns, program manager for Oracle Global Licensing and Advisory Services, Oracle only confirms the accuracy of these tools in terms of raw usage data. They do not verify other aspects such as entitlements tracking, matching entitlements, usage, and compliance position determinations.

What are software asset management tools?

Software Asset Management (SAM) tools are applications designed to manage and optimize the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization.

What is SAM in Oracle?

In the context of Oracle, SAM refers to the methods and tools used to manage Oracle software licenses. It involves tracking the use and ownership of Oracle software products to ensure compliance with licensing agreements.

Can you give an example of a software asset management tools?

Examples of Software Asset Management tools include ServiceNow SAM, Snow Software, Flexera’s FlexNet Manager, and Oracle’s license management services.

Is CMDB an asset management tool?

A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is not an asset management tool per se, but it plays a crucial role in IT Asset Management. It stores information about hardware and software assets (Configuration Items) and their relationships, which aids in managing and controlling IT infrastructure.

What is SAM, and how does it work?

SAM stands for Software Asset Management. It works by tracking and managing an organization’s software assets, ensuring compliance with licensing agreements, optimizing software usage, and preventing unauthorized software from being installed.

What are the types of asset management?

Asset management can be categorized into several types: Financial Asset Management, IT Asset Management, Digital Asset Management, Enterprise Asset Management, and Infrastructure Asset Management.

How do you manage software assets?

Software assets can be managed by implementing a SAM program that involves inventorying software assets, understanding the terms of software licenses, ensuring compliance with these terms, and optimizing the use of software across the organization.

Is asset management an IT service?

IT Asset Management (ITAM) is a service that helps organizations manage and control their IT assets, including hardware and software, to ensure optimal usage and compliance with various regulations and licenses.

What is the difference between CMDB and asset management?

While CMDB and Asset Management deal with IT resources, they have different focuses. Asset Management primarily focuses on the financial tracking of a company’s hardware and software, from acquisition to disposal. On the other hand, CMDB focuses on understanding the relationships and dependencies between these IT assets.

If you want to implement Oracle SAM into a Tool where to start?

Start by creating an inventory of all your existing Oracle licenses. Then, match your tool capability with your licenses. Some products may be measured by the tool, and others you measure manually outside the tool.

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Author

  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.