How to avoid getting sued in your Oracle-to-the-cloud migration

Oracle's reputation for aggressive use of audits to push customers to their own cloud services makes the prospect of an Oracle-to-AWS migration look turbulent, but it doesn't have to be.

Video: Oracle execs on the risk of firms becoming fragmented as they grow Business leaders at Oracle discuss the difficulty of clear communication and collaboration in long-established companies.

Over the last several years, Oracle developed a reputation for litigiousness with its own clients:  In 2018, the company allegedly threatened customers of on-premises software with usage audits, suggesting those customers could avoid the potentially quite high of audit compliance by moving to the cloud, The Information reported. 

The Information names "oil and gas exploration company Halliburton, toy maker Mattel and electricity provider Edison Southern California" as rejecting cloud-powered service deals proposed by Oracle. It also names the 2015 Mars settlement, in which Oracle contended that VMware's Live Migration technology makes Oracle software "available for use," for which Oracle contended Mars was liable for licenses on all of the candymaker's virtual environments—despite Live Migration not being enabled.

SEE: Special feature: Managing the multicloud (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Cloud migration of on-premises software is an increasingly compelling option for businesses, though IT decision makers are likely to embark on these migrations with trepidation, considering the likelihood of Oracle's lawyers to come knocking. Likewise, Oracle's entrenched position in the business processes of a number of firms makes migration off of Oracle outright a challenging proposition, though Oracle's self-provided cloud services are typically a fair bit more costly than simply using your Oracle licenses on Amazon Web Services (AWS)-provided virtual machines.

The migration firm Apps Associates believes it has cracked the Oracle-to-the-cloud puzzle. 

"You have to be cognizant of compliance, if you move a production instance over [to a public cloud provider], and are running it concurrently, you will be in violation of your license," senior vice president of alliance Bill Saltys told TechRepublic. "Keep paying your 22% maintenance fee just as you do today in your own datacenter—or colocation facility—and you must stay compliant with your license. If either of those are a problem, then you will have a problem with Oracle." 

The prospect of spinning up a VM that serves as a functional duplicate as the on-premise Oracle environment to see how it would run in the cloud may sound like a compelling option—and would be so for non-license-encumbered software—but this would naturally bring businesses out of compliance with their license agreement.

The looming prospect of vendor lock-in from public cloud providers

IT professionals are becoming increasingly concerned with the potential of lock-in from public cloud providers, with 73% of respondents in TechRepublic's Managing the Multicloud survey citing lock-in as a worry for their cloud deployments. 

For cloud migrations, Saltys notes that initiatives within enterprises for Oracle-to-the-cloud migration "have accelerated dramatically" over the past two years, with the primary focuses on security, cost, and license compliance. For hybrid or multicloud deployments, Saltys notes that "inquiries are increasing… once they're already into private cloud, they might want AWS," noting that the primary priority of their clients is getting into public cloud, "and they don't want any headaches when they get there."

For more, check out "Why Oracle's missteps have led to PostgreSQL's 'moment' in the database market" and "Why Oracle can't buy its way to success in the cloud wars" on TechRepublic.

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