I've always thought that SQL Server licensing was much easier to work with than Oracle or any other database vendor. It seems that Microsoft licensing was always fairly simple, though to be fair it's gotten more complicated with SQL Server 2005 and its myriad of versions.
I saw this article on database licensing that talked about how Microsoft is really going after Oracle sites on licensing. Microsoft is going to work on treating customers better, offering better licensing terms, and hopefully converting some Oracle customers to SQL Server.
I've got two main thoughts on this. One is that I'm glad they're making a concerted effort. It's good news for SQL Server DBAs, meaning more jobs, and possibly better pay. If the demand goes up without a corresponding increase in SQL Server DBAs, we all benefit. I'm also surprised they didn't really push this more over the last couple years when SQL Server offered processor socket licensing instead of Oracle's "core licensing" or Sun's crazy formula based on which processor you were using. That was a great time to show significant savings from SQL Server.
However I'm not sure how many customers actually will switch off an Oracle platform. Once you've implemented a particular platform, especially if it's a core application, it's unlikely that you really want to switch. I can't see many customers moving off an ERP or CRM system that's running on Oracle to SQL Server. When I was at Peoplesoft, we moved off Oracle to DB2 for our ERP implementation because of close ties to IBM, but it was a major project that covered months of planning, testing, and quite a few employee resources.
Licensing should be simple, both to ensure compliance and to be sure that customers don't waste a lot of time finding out what they should buy. If you make things complicated, then it gets too difficult to decide what to buy and it's easy to make mistakes. Most IT people aren't licensing experts, but we certainly don't want to be told we're out of compliance when we've made a good faith effort to buy what we need.
And it should be easy to figure out what we own. I can't tell you how many times people post questions in our forums about licensing and how they can find out what version and license they've installed. Why doesn't @@version just return the license (user or processor) and counts (users or processors) that we've installed?
It sure would be nice to easily roll that up in a report like I do my database sizes, security mode, and everything else.
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