Hazel Hopes, Oracle Licensing Lead for Certero, has worked in tech for over 20 years and focused specifically on Oracle Licensing for nearly 10 of those, helping businesses to understand and control licensing risks and derive maximum value from their investments.
Here she explains how the methodology of a consultant’s role has evolved as emerging technology revolutionised processes, data integrity and the ultimate value proposition of SAM in the datacentre and, why Certero for Oracle has her full support.
Having worked for SAM services companies in the past, I can truthfully say I believe that Certero’s Oracle solution is the best I’ve seen and a vast improvement on the traditional data collection medium of running scripts.
Let me explain why.
Before joining Certero, in past consultancy roles, I’ve been asked to take raw SQL script output, review it for completeness, analyse it and then produce the corresponding license position.
This was always time-consuming to do manually – imagine 11 individual csv files per instance of Oracle database to open, look through, extract data from, close and move on to the next one. For an estate of 500 instances that’s over 5 thousand individual files – let me tell you it took a lot of coffee to stay awake and complete that.
Eventually the industry moved on and used a variety of data crunching functions to do the same thing. But that just put another sandwich layer in between the raw data and the end result and, because I’m a bit of a control freak, I always wanted the raw data to compare and contrast against. 9 times out of 10 this was a wise decision because these types of data crunching tasks are run by people and people make mistakes (especially without the coffee). Basically, I don’t trust anything that is not repeatable and my experience of this sandwich layer highlighted too many inconsistencies for me to rely on it entirely.
In recent years I’ve also been asked to analyse 3rd party output – nearly always without the benefit of seeing the actual solution for all the usual reasons relating to access and security issues. This could be confusing, I’d get a file from the customer where column header information wouldn’t match the data in the rows below, data would be incomplete or missing altogether and eventually only a validation process with the 3rd party would help me to map it and sort it all out.
So when I came to Certero two years ago I was understandably nervous about trusting the data. Within a short time, I was running my own tests in Certero for Oracle.
The earlier “sandwich layer” approach meant I was reliant upon someone else knowing the rules. The rules change. The sandwich might not. With Certero the licensing rules are driven by licensing experts, not a data crunching function, so I’m able to follow an internal process to get new recognition into the solution.
But ultimately, why I trust it is down to that repeatability factor, it’s a stable, understandable and logical process which means the results are exactly as I expect them to be. It isn’t meddlesome either, it gets me the raw data that I like so much without altering it. Then it overlays the licensing rules and presents me with the outcome. I know what its doing and I know why.
Sometimes however, Certero for Oracle and I will disagree. This is because I’m a human (yes, really), so I can see where usage could be overridden based upon my knowledge of a specific customer. These are things Certero couldn’t possibly know about. Perhaps usage is included in a 3rd party application license or excluded in the complex Oracle contract that I’ve just reviewed with the customer. When that happens, I have the ability to override the out-of-the-box recognition and apply my own knowledge instead.
So I get the best of both worlds, I can trust in the data Certero for Oracle provides but I can also use my licensing skills to adapt it. Fortunately, none of this requires excessive caffeine consumption.
In Summary: Technology-Led Services
Hazel’s experience is typical of the evolution of the SAM consultants’ process that until relatively recently, had not changed drastically in the past decade. Many solutions have come along and failed to really improve the output, leading to much scepticism in the industry.
However as shown, Certero offers a real change and understandably needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
The need for a licensing expert in the SAM process is still very much present to understand, verify and input licence entitlement and to act upon the information the solution provides. However, the critical accuracy in retrieving inventory within modern environments (think virtualisation and partitioning technologies for example) and the ‘heavy lifting’ data-driven process in the middle, does not need to be the laborious, risky and error-prone manual process that it once was.
Having a solution that is repeatable and consistent yet also allows for expertise and knowledge to be leveraged, is the ideal common-sense balance of human and technological power in the SAM process.
Certero uses this technology-led approach to deliver SAM services as well as providing the solution for organizations with their own resources to manage Oracle licensing in-house.
Being Oracle LMS / GLAS verified means that the output from Certero for Oracle is recognised by Oracle, yet it puts the control in your hands to view and act upon knowledge of your licensing and to transition to a state of sustained visibility, insight and control as opposed to the traditional point-in-time approach of relying on time-consuming and expensive consultancy services.
Certero provide the ground-breaking unified platform solution and technology-led services to manage all hardware and software vendors, including dedicated solutions and expertise to optimize IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and SaaS & Cloud.