META attacks Oracles batch pricing policy

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21 March 2002 Analysts at the Meta Group have slammed the “multiplexing” licensing model of database software giant Oracle. The issue centres on Oracle’s definition of what constitutes a “user” within multiplexing, or batch processing environments, where organisations share pools of connections to back-end databases.

Oracle is trying to expand its definition of multiplexing to include batch feeds from non-Oracle applications into Oracle databases. A batch process is a computer program that runs without user interaction. A typical batch process would include the data warehousing, mining and reporting applications a bank would run overnight on the previous day’s trades.

The result is that customers using an Oracle database for data warehousing, for example, would have to pay a fee for every application accessing it. Meta estimates this could cost some customers more than $2 million (€2.3m) in additional license fees.

Meta says it has received a “flurry of calls” from angry Oracle customers. More controversially, Meta is urging its customers not to pay the fees to Oracle. Mark Shainman, a senior analyst at Meta, said this was Oracle’s attempt to boost its slumping license revenue growth.

In its defence, Oracle issued a statement: “Oracle pricing and licensing policy, with respect to the treatment of multiplexing or batch processing, has been consistent and in effect for several years.” It also added that Meta’s comments referred to only a small number of customers confused about its policy.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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