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.


    I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


    1. JeffS

      Good point Chet. And that’s great for development environments. I just worry about customers who assume they can use everything they have access to b/c the database lets them.

      Ignorance is no excuse however. Read those contracts people!

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    3. Avatar

      It’s also the beauty of it though…all those things turned on. At least for learning purposes. No worrying about how to turn on this or that, it just works.

      • JeffS

        Yeah, it’s clear as mud, isn’t it? I think we vendors like to make it confusing on purpose. I hate it.

    4. Avatar
      The Kiwi DBA Reply

      never give out more information that you are prepared to explain once it has been interpreted incorrectly and passed on to management…

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