Enterprise Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

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One of the most dangerous phrases to be uttered in an organization is ‘Oh, we have an Enterprise license.’ Once that gets out, everyone will think they can deploy/use as much as product X as they want. It does not take much of an imagination to realize where this can lead.

Standard VS Enterprise VS Packs

Oracle licenses it’s database technology in a fairly straightforward manner. You have a Standard Edition, an Enterprise Edition, and you can add additional ‘packs’ (6) if you want to extend the functionality of Enterprise. Having a license for Enterprise Edition (EE) for Oracle does not give you access to all of the features in the database. For reasons that Oracle can explain, the database ships with all of the additional packs enabled and available to use – technically if not contractually.

Fortunately, Oracle makes it very straightforward to disable the extra ‘Pack’ features on OTN.
Note: you can disable the Packs in Enterprise Manager or you can disable them in the database. Be sure to disable the feature via the database!

Example for disabling AWR (Diagnostic Pack) in Oracle 10/11g

Some of the packs are considered ‘used’ if you query certain data dictionary views. My Kiwi DBA friend was dismayed to hear that his Data Warehouse team has been granted access to the complete data dictionary. Now, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t worried about them jacking up their support bill, but that could have happened if cooler heads hadn’t prevailed. Running a ‘simple’ SELECT from the wrong view could cost your organization money that you do not have budgeted!

For example, if you query anything that starts with

  • WRM$
  • WRH$
  • WRI$
  • watch out!

    If you are going to play around with this stuff, then please do so in your development instances – most of the licensing terms apply to production environments.

    Careful now!

    Let’s talk about a view that you DO want to query – DBA_FEATURE_USAGE_STATISTICS

    This view will show you what features you are using, how many times they have been used, and the last time they were used for your database. So if your organization was upsold on the DIAGNOSTIC Pack (good stuff!), but no one has ever actually used it (really!?), then you have a problem.

    The flipside would be along the lines of ‘Hey, Enterprise Edition is enough for us, no thanks on the Tuning Pack.’ You check the view, and lo and behold, it has been accessed several hundred times. This will probably lead to a very uncomfortable conversation.

    How do we avoid this?

    Be diligent.

    Disable pay features you haven’t paid for.

    Track usage of features you have paid for. Don’t buy a Ferrari, and then not bother to take it out of the garage.

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