Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Licensing Changes for Oracle Red Stack

Oracle has made a few changes to the licensing for their Technology Foundation for EnterpriseOne, commonly called "Red Stack".   As Oracle continues to integrate its software acquisitions expect frequent changes to the licensing structure.

For those unfamiliar with EnterpriseOne licensing it goes something like this:

An organization decides that Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne product is pretty spiffy and just the thing to run the business.  Their purchase will include licensing for the E1 applications and E1 Tools.  However, there are other software pieces needed to underpin EnterpriseOne, components such as a database, web server, java application server and perhaps a portal.  Purchasing these components separately would be costly and it would be a bit difficult to track the licensing and to ensure compliance.  Oracle simplifies the licensing of the components by bundling them into a "stack" called Tech Foundation, so named because the components form the "foundation" on which EnterpriseOne rests.  The illustration below shows a simplified view of the stack.

It is important to note that licensing the Tech Foundation only allows you to use the components for EnterpriseOne.

The changes covered below are to the Fusion Middleware portion of the stack and represent a rearrangement so to speak, allowing Oracle to build a solid foundation for its main products using supporting products recently acquired and/or developed.

WebLogic Licensing

The biggest change is that Oracle WebLogic Standard Edition is now part of the Tech Foundation and Oracle is not charging extra for it.  Perhaps due to pressure from customers, some of whom became aware of the extra cost for WLS here, Oracle has changed their position, stating that the change is a part of the re-alignment of E1 components to match Fusion Middleware 11g strategy.  Whatever the reason, the inclusion of WebLogic Server to replace the dying OAS product is a reasonable step to allow JD Edwards customers to continue implementing and updating their systems with Oracle products that both have a future and are included in the standard licensing set.

However, I question whether WLS Standard Edition is sufficient to run an EnterpriseOne system due to its lack of clustering.  Clustering and extended management capabilities come with Enterprise Edition, which is not included in the Tech Foundation.  See the Product Comparison for details.  I honestly cannot imagine designing a E1 system that does not include clustering but we've been trying to convince Denver for years that a load-balanced, failover-type design should be assumed to be the standard.  Perhaps Oracle also believes that the standard architecture for the most important business system for an organization should be dependent on a single server.

I see the inclusion of WebLogic Standard Edition as a sop to those complaining about its initial absence from the stack and a teaser to those who will unwittingly buy JDE licensing based on the false assumption that they can build a high availability E1 system on the components included in the Tech Foundation. 

WebCenter Services and Oracle Access Manager

In addition to WebLogic Server Standard Edition, WebCenter Services (not Spaces) is also now included in Red Stack.  Not sure what the difference is between WebCenter Services and Spaces but you can be sure that Services includes just enough functionality to make it mildly useful for only the most limited use cases while allowing Oracle to trumpet its inclusion in the stack.

Oracle Access Manager is a key component in Oracle's Identity Management suite.  As mentioned in a previous article, Related Information Application Framework (RIAF) "runs as an application in WebLogic and requires Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Identity Management to manage security."  OIM was already included in the stack so the inclusion of OAM is a logical step to enable the use of RIAF by E1 customers.

Per User Licensing

Oracle is now licensing the Tech Foundation components on a per user basis in addition to instead of the typical per processor licensing.  Again, this is probably a result of feedback from customers and a reaction to the worsening market in general.  I was unable to get many details on the new licensing scheme but Oracle will surely be presenting this at OpenWorld.

Licensing changes to Red Stack seem to be driven by a combination of factors - the desire to move new and existing users to Oracle products, the need to adjust licensing and pricing to reflect market realities, and a natural outcome of Oracle's product acquisition and integration effort. 

Expect to see more adjustments in the future.
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Chris Grier said...

Hi Jeff,
Your comment about WLS clustering is interesting. I wouldn't normally bother with clustering at the WebSphere/OAS/WebLogic level since to build true resilience you need multiple servers with a separate hardware load balancer in front. I would normally deploy as many independent JVMs/ports as required and then load balance across all of them. This would actually make the WLS "bundled" option pretty attractive to new purchasers. Any thoughts?

Jeff Stevenson said...


Thanks for commenting. You can see my thoughts on load balancing here: http://jeffstevenson.karamazovgroup.com/2008/09/load-balancing-at-all-levels-in.html

I load balance WebSphere both vertically (same server with multiple JVM's) and horizontally (multiple physical boxes) when designing a system. It is my understanding that the WLS Standard edition can do neither.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I believe Red Stack can only be licensed per named users. If you want to license the Oracle products outside of the red stack you can license per processor / named users.

Jeff Stevenson said...

You are correct about the licensing - it is per user and not per processor.

From Oracle:

"In the case of most Oracle technology products, specifically those that are included in Oracle Technology Foundation, it is very typical to license them per processor..."

"...the Oracle Technology Foundation license is measured by JD Edwards Application User, not by processor."

Main text has been corrected, thanks.

Charles said...

I can't think of any technical reason why you couldn't use multiple domains on the same WLS instance on a server to achieve vertical scaling. I realize they appear as multiple JAS server instances as opposed to a single managed instance.

Hardware load balancing and live migration of virtual machines seems to make hardware clusters and software app clustering solutions a "nice to have" but not a requirement, as it pertains to high availability requirements.

I know a few public companies that run their business on E1 with a single server. It all depends on their availability requirements and whether or not they have a good DR plan.

Jeff Stevenson said...

I suppose there is no good reason to want clustering if you don't want load-balancing at the app level, administrative ease or multi-server failover.

Hardware load balancing (an expensive solution in most cases) can only do so much and will not handle a failure at the application level, App Server clustering can do that. In addition, WAS/WLS clustering provides intelligent workload management that DNS-level load balancing just cannot manage.

From an administrative view, I would rather leave my customers with a cleanly designed, easily managed system that involves a single domain. Just my preference.

Are you guys connecting the load balancing device to the JVM's?

Chris Grier said...

Hi Jeff,
Read your previous thoughts on load balancing - thanks.

There is now a relatively simple and cost-effective hardware NLB solution (< $10k) which can provide horizontal and vertical JVM load balancing as well as full resilience at both the HTTP and JAS server level.

High level, this consists of an active/passive pair of NLB appliances, 2 or more physical servers each with multiple "standalone" JVMs and each server providing the HTTP server for it's own JVM's. Properly configured, this will cope with:
- Loss of a complete server
- Loss of the HTTP service
- Loss of the backend WAS (or OAS or WLS) service
- True load-balancing e.g. directing new sessions away from the "slowest" server/JVM.

The only thing it can't do, which would require something like WAS ND, is "hot" migration of JVMs from one server to another in the event of server failure. However, I'm not convinced that many organisations have/want/need this level of resilience.

So I wouldn't recommend that anyone who is starting from scratch now would need to part with the large chunk of cash associated with the "enterprise" versions of WAS, OAS or WLS.

In the spirit of your information-sharing blog, I'll draw up a short document with some specifics and post somewhere soon.