As with many software publishers, Oracle seems to be making a push to audit their customer base in search of revenue streams arising from licensing deficiencies. However, Oracle usually does not like to use the word “audit” and instead tends to ask its customers to engage in a “license review,” courtesy of the Oracle License Management Services (LMS) division. LMS generally requests that a customer fill out a Server Worksheet, which is essentially an overview of the company’s Oracle deployments.
Before responding to such requests, organizations must understand both their legal rights with respect to a prospective audit, as well as the various Oracle license grants as they apply to their environments. In many cases, organizations inadvertently become non-compliant over the course of a few years, seemingly without growing their database environment. For example, installing Oracle version upgrades sometimes turns on software features, such as the diagnostic and features packs, which trigger an associated increase in licensing cost. A company’s IT department can significantly increase its Oracle spend during version upgrades without knowing it.
If the Oracle Server Worksheet contains information that concerns LMS, Oracle may ask the customer to allow Oracle to run a set of scripts across its network to perform an in-depth network deployment audit—the mere thought of which should make even the most confident CIO squirm. Organizations should carefully consider any response they make to Oracle to avoid that kind of request. If there are any concerns whatsoever about the state of a company’s Oracle deployments and associated entitlements, consulting with experienced counsel prior to responding to an Oracle license review request is highly recommended.