To Cloud or Not to Cloud – That Is the Question

Anna-Rita Stanley-Best, managing director of Palisade Compliance APAC, talks about the licensing implications of the cloud, and the possible reasons for moving to it.

What does moving to the cloud mean for Oracle customers?

In reality what it means is a lot of pressure from Oracle. Oracle is a little bit behind the eight ball when it comes to their cloud offerings, so they are really going full out to try and offer flexible, user-friendly, easy contracts for their customers, and they’re really trying to create scenarios or situations that will entice people to become an Oracle cloud customer.

In your experience, what are the main areas you see Oracle customers struggling with the most?

Understanding the contractual obligations and implications of those contracts is of great concern for customers. Also, making sure that it is fit for purpose – it is really a service they need. Unfortunately in the market we still see a lot of cloud contracts that are not really being fully utilised.

One of the other things to consider that is a concern for customers is around the fact that Oracle’s cloud contracts are not really consumable contracts in the sense that they are not a true consumption model – meaning you only pay for what you use . It’s still a model where you have to determine a spend and be committed to a spend rather than having the ability to either upcycle or downcycle as you need licences.

It’s also still very unclear for customers what happens with on-premise perpetual licences when they move those services to the cloud. How does Oracle deal with that? It’s also difficult for them to consider the fact that that when they do move a certain application to the cloud, that it’s no longer the same application.

So there’s a lot of requirements to understand. How does this work? Will my users be able to use it, and would they be comfortable, and would it be something that they’d be familiar with?

Contractual terms are one of the other areas that are still difficult – understanding data centres for instance. There’s a clause that says every time you use a particular service you have to determine the data centre that is going to be used. Addressing data protection is also something that is of great concern to many customers.

Most probably worst of all is the visibility in a cloud solution of your usage to people other than those within your organisation. So you don’t have the same control that you would have with on-premise licences.

It all sounds like a bit of a minefield. Should we even consider a move to the Oracle cloud?

You need to determine what your roadmap is and what the best fit is for your organisation. What I would say that any organisation most probably needs to consider is maybe doing a pilot first. This monitors and evaluates a smaller spend in a more constrained environment, rather than just jumping in.

Obviously, from a vendor’s perspective, that is not what they would like to position. If it’s an HR application or similar, they would like it to be as large and for as long as possible.

You also need to see how the cloud service fits into your long-term view, and where in your organisation you can do it, because you don’t have to do everything in the cloud. There might be some critical spaces where it is really effective.

You need to make sure your contracts are correctly negotiated and you get the cover and the surety in a way that fits with your business rather than with the vendor’s.