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Beware of Oracle's licensing 'traps,' law firm warns

Katherine Noyes | Oct. 14, 2015
Businesses need to proceed with caution, it says.

For instance, "many don't know that if you cluster machines, that can have licensing consequences," Machal-Fulks said. "They don't find out until the middle of an audit."

Companies that are already using Oracle software, meanwhile, need to make sure when evaluating maintenance renewals that they are evaluating the same way Oracle would be.

That, however, is easier said than done, she noted, in part because many of the tracking mechanisms Oracle uses are proprietary.

"People will often say, 'we don't think things have changed that much, so we'll just renew,'" she said, when in fact even seemingly minor changes can have ramifications.

If third-party partners have begun accessing a company's Oracle tools, for example, that could have implications. Sometimes, such changes are not allowed at all, she said.

It may not be possible to eliminate all the risk, but there are things companies can do to make sure their "audit-readiness" is better rather than worse, Machal-Fulks said.

First and foremost, "periodically review your environment to see what, if any, changes have been made," she said. "If there are changes, there's a good chance there are licensing implications."

Not surprisingly, Machal-Fulks also recommends working with external firms experienced with Oracle audits.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

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