Monday, April 5, 2010

New Sun Ray Licensing Scheme

This is a re-posting of an email a colleague of mine sent, expressing his dismay over the new licensing scheme Oracle seems to have adopted for the Sun Ray product line:
If this blog post is correct and I'm reading it correctly:
By "simplifying" licensing, Oracle just made it minimally no different and maximally much more expensive by moving to the same model Microsoft uses for Terminal Services licensing.  I've often shared that one of the benefits of the Sun Rays is the ability to deploy many DTUs but only size as many servers and buy as many licenses as would be needed for concurrent usage, versus the expensive Microsoft model of per user or device, but it seems I can't completely do that anymore!  Yes you can still size for concurrent usage, but you have to pay for unused DTUs.  I liked the 1 license per concurrent user model.  We have 200ish Sun Rays for potentially 2000 users but have not observed more than 50 concurrent users.  All Sun Rays are used at some point or other during the day; that's the nature of a deployment in an educational institution.  Under the old scheme we only needed 50 licenses, whereas under the new scheme we would have to opt for 200 device licenses or 2000 user licenses.  As it were, we acquired each Sun Ray with its own license so that we could have max utilization without worrying about going over our license count, but that was before we knew how low actual concurrent usage would be.  We were subsequently planning to allow SDAC usage and possibly acquire additional hardware Sun Rays without purchasing additional licenses until we hit 200 concurrent users, but based on the above blog post it sounds like we would need to purchase additional "device" licenses because SDACs count as devices independent of hardware Sun Rays.  From another perspective, if we purchase no additional licenses, for each SDAC we deploy, we would have to undeploy a physical Sun Ray.
Thanks Oracle (sarcastic).  You can take that as customer feedback on a public forum.  Please don't continue to take away my reasons for being an unpaid advocate of Sun products (see for my thoughts on the changes to Solaris licensing).
I hope someone can tell me that at least the existing licenses we have are valid under the old terms and only new licenses are subject to the new "simple" licensing scheme?
As a sidenote, I find it ironic that it was called "simpler" in the blog post, yet the blogger apparently needed some help to understand it first.
William Yang
Perhaps this will be marketable for them for broader markets, but places like TJHSST and many education environments will be squeezed to find an extra reason to use Sun Rays over other desktop alternatives due to licensing.