Reducing the Pain of Moving Enterprise Workloads to AWS

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AWS has announced the launch of the AWS License Manager, which is designed to help organisations manage products being licensed with bring your own license (‘BYOL’) processor/core types of metrics. This seems to be part of a drive by AWS to reduce some of the pain points of moving enterprise workloads to AWS. In the announcement blog post, AWS provides an example showing a license configuration for an ‘Enterprise Database Server’ with a description of ‘Expensive Database Server’ – which we believe is intended to imply the cost of one particular vendor!

Key Features of AWS License Manager:

  • Designed with products which are based on allocated processors such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP in mind
  • No extra cost to use the service
  • Provides a simple pan-organisational view – ‘BYOL’ license usage based on consumption tracked (this can be dynamic according to AMI type). This means if you have a standard image containing Oracle workloads, you can ensure that every time a new instance is spun up based on that image, an update of the tracked ‘license’ is undertaken and stopped / notified to admins if necessary
  • You can track consumption of vCPUs (essentially, hyperthreads), physical cores (referred to just as ‘cores’), and physical sockets
  • You define license configurations which “emulate the terms of your license agreement with the software vendor. Review your license agreement terms before creating a license configuration.” – well said, AWS!
  • Rules can be applied to set maximum consumption; these can be applied by deployment type (e.g. Shared or Dedicated Instances)
  • You can enforce a license limit which prevents start-up of instances if it will cause an over-deployment
  • Notifications can be issued and subscribed to via the Simple Notifications Service
  • Can be used against AWS and on-premises deployments; useful for management of license during estate migration (don’t forget you need license whilst binaries are in place and until they are removed)
  • Can be used to manage estates across an organisation via AWS Organizations and linked accounts. Ensure you also ‘pool’ license allocations across your organisation if appropriate
  • Specifically, for Oracle, the metric of interest is physical cores: it is tempting to veer towards vCPU (this being the term used in Oracle’s policy) but ultimately, Oracle’s ‘Authorized Cloud Environments’ policy is really based on physical cores
    • Regardless of hyperthreading, 1 physical core is equal to 1 Processor license in AWS; remember, we can’t apply the core factor – see “Contractual Considerations” section in this document for more discussion
    • Therefore, setting the license count / limit to the number of Processor licenses for AWS and basing the count on physical cores is appropriate for Oracle on AWS
    • The various Standard Editions of database are anomalously defined in Oracle’s policy; being purely based on vCPU rather than cores (with no consideration for hyperthreading); therefore, you should read, understand and consider what you need to count
    • In summary, for Oracle Database Enterprise Edition you want to set License Type to Cores and Number of Cores to the number of Processor licenses you want to track via the AWS License Manager
  • For tracking on-premise deployments, some additional calculations will need to be performed and more thought will need to go into what the AWS License Manager is reporting and license elements such as the core factor. Once again, however, the basis will be cores. Assuming migration from X86-based servers on-premises, you will need to set limits at twice the Processor license entitlement available. Let’s hope that AWS will introduce a metric-factoring enhancement in future versions.
  • At the time of writing, it was not clear if it can be used with RDS instances; seeming more targeted towards AMIs and Launch Templates. Additionally, we have not yet tested it with Optimized CPU instances in order to understand how ‘true’ the core / vCPU counts are.
  • You can access and interact with the License Manager via the console, API or command line
  • A standard caveat which applies to any ‘automated’ tooling regarding Oracle licensing: no tool can read, understand and apply the contractual terms in your license agreements. Full assessment of the efficacy of any tool must be undertaken before you stake your compliance on a ‘dashboard’ view of compliance: this applies to ‘simple’ tools such as AWS License Manager as much as it applies to the big tools vendors such as those who have received ‘certification’ from Oracle LMS.

In Conclusion

AWS License Manager is a very helpful addition to the offerings by AWS and, with care and understanding of your contracts, obligations, AWS License Manager’s functionality / reporting as well as your organisation’s internal challenges on apportioning and managing license entitlements, it can no doubt help to provide some assistance in tracking your usage. As mentioned above; it is vital that you understand all aspects of the tool and how it pertains to your estate.

About Version 1

Our independent and experienced Oracle and AWS licensing consultants (covering all aspects of enterprise licensing) provide expertise to customers globally, ensuring customers get the best value from their assets. As an AWS Premier Partner and an Oracle Platinum Partner, we can help your organisation to simplify your journey to the Cloud. The scale of Version 1 means we also have technical consulting experts to provide a one-stop shop for moving to the Cloud. If you need help with understanding any aspect of licensing in the cloud, contact Version 1 today for further information through the form below.

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