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This is a hard problem for customers. Bart is right on - Oracle customers know that conversion is far too risky so they continue to pay up for Oracle - heavily skewing TCO toward licenses. In fairness, while I don't hear many customers say "I love Oracle" the discussions we have with Oracle customers (and we have many) quickly move beyond infrastructure into business value. And they rationalize the license gouging because of the business impact. That said they (all) want help with license costs. My advice is learn how to negotiate with Oracle. Nathan and his team at House of Brick are savvy and definitely worth meeting. Treat Oracle negotiations like a project and give yourself enough runway to understand the structure of Oracle contracts. Bring your best people because Oracle knows its contracts inside and out - and all too often customers don't understand the "trip wires" in Oracle contracts and don't cast a wide enough talent net (internally) to compete with Oracle's knowledge of the agreement. Sometimes, what seem to be little factors - like the SoW often trumps the MSA - are overlooked by many customers and come back to bite you. And many smaller and mid-sized customers will wait until the end of the quarter to try and negotiate (thinking it's the best time to get a deal) and then can't get an Oracle rep's attention b/c they're all hunting bigger fish (above $2-3M deals)...sometimes leading to frustration and poor decision making. Finally, with so-called Trusted Partitions, Oracle is using it’s licensing might to enter the converged infrastructure market by making database pricing extremely attractive for its own systems, while locking out competitive offerings through onerous licensing terms for those platforms. This both lowers the customer's costs (because it attacks the licensing problem) and it forces customers into OVM. Chad - I'm not sure this is "nuts" (especially to Larry) but it sure seems unfair. I wrote this doc three years ago (pre hyperconverged and pre oracle's new licensing practices) but some of the negotiation tips still apply:
You are an awesome communicator Chuck. As one who sorta writes for a living I have a great appreciation for your writing skills. Nice overview. Where I'm stuck in your assessment - and you touched on this a little - is heterogeneity. I've always had the impression that the paucity of storage management software from vendor A managing storage from vendor B was, in a large part anyway, the fault of storage vendors. It seems none of you ever wanted to be Veritas-like - you know the old line about a "Hardware Agenda?" In reading your press release, again it seems to be 100% focused on managing EMC-only products. And in addition to all the things you list that customers want...the ability to manage other vendors' storage is downplayed but always comes up top of the list for customers. My sense was always that the business case wasn't there for emc and your competitors. But is that really the case? Why leave that to Symantec. Or could VMware play a role there? Or are you planning to obtain Cisco-like market share so it won't matter :-) Would love for you to double click on the heterogeneity issue a bit - specifically - even lacking a SNIA standard, why can't EMC do a better job providing support for other vendors' arrays?
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Jul 14, 2011