Minimizing the Cost of the Oracle Java Update with SAM

December 18, 2018
Abhishek Gupta

Author

Abhishek Gupta

JAPAC Oracle Technology, Compliance , Commercial Asset & Storyteller at SoftwareONE

Beginning January 2019, Oracle’s commercial support program for Java Standard Edition (SE) will require a subscription. Up until this point, Oracle has offered users a one-time purchase of a license plus an annual fee. Now, users must have a subscription plan in order to receive updates for Java SE 8 and beyond.

With this new update comes a new price for your organization, and IT teams are going to want to be prepared for how much the new Oracle Java may cost. If you are at a loss for where to begin, look to your current SAM tool for help.

 What the Oracle Java Update Means for You

This new subscription model will grant your organization access to a few Oracle Java SE versions past their end-of-public-update deadlines, earlier access to critical bug fixes, licensing and support for all deployments, performance, stability and security updates, enterprise management capabilities, and 24/7 support.

In the past, users could log onto Oracle and download Java patches whenever they wanted. Oracle would typically respond to this download with a sales call since patches are not actually free, they were just available to the public. This back-and-forth will all come to an end with the new update.

The biggest thing to know is Java will no longer be available for public download. Users will have to pay for a commercial license on a new subscription plan. While this requirement will kick in soon, updates for Java SE 8 will be available for individual and public use through the end of 2020.

Other Factors to Consider

It is important to note that while this update will roll out in January 2019, Oracle will likely not be able to audit for Java immediately, and it will be some time before these check-ins to come to fruition.

Also, be aware of how this update will affect your organization if you are generally unfamiliar with Oracle software. If you are a Microsoft shop that does not run anything having to do with Oracle besides Java, you will now be forced to contend with an ecosystem that your organization knows virtually nothing about. You may want to advise your organization to devote extra time to understanding Oracle software and licensing before you begin.

Preparing Your Organization

Considering your organization’s employees are likely set in their ways, start preparing everyone for what the end of public updates means for them. First, find every desktop and processor your organization is running Java on. Most software asset management (SAM) tools can discover if Java is running on your server, so take advantage of this. Once your SAM tool has pulled the number of users and processors running Java, you can come up with a more accurate estimate of how much it will cost you in the new year.

There are only two SKUs – one for users and one for processors – so figuring out the cost of Java will be fairly simple. For users, Oracle Java SE will cost about $1.25-$2.50 per user per month. Processors will be in the $12.5-$25 range per month. If you are looking to figure out how much this new plan will cost you, multiply the number of users and processors you currently have by the projected cost for a rough estimate.

If you don’t renew your license, you’ll lose the rights to any commercial software previously downloaded during your organization’s subscription. You’ll also lose access to the Oracle Premier Support team. Oracle recommends transitioning your Java SE subscriptions to OpenJDK binaries from Oracle if you do not intend to renew so your applications can continue to run uninterrupted. For organizations this is a critical decision based on security patch requirements, regression testing for J2EE applications, etc.

Foreseeable Issues as You Prepare

As you begin to prepare, take into account that it is acceptable if your assessment of subscription quantities isn’t entirely accurate. There is definitely room for mistakes, so try not to get hung up on finding an exact number.

Plus, Oracle allows you to negotiate. Since they respond well to volume and term length, you will be able to work out a better rate for your organization than the tiered pricing published on their website.This will allow you to leverage a competitive rate from other commercial support providers like Azul systems.

Minimizing Costs with the Help of SAM

If you are struggling to get an idea of how much the new update will cost you, take advantage of your SAM tool. Using your tool, identify which places Java is running that may be unnecessary. You may be able to shave off a significant amount by eliminating users or processors that don’t need Java.

Another factor to consider is Java SE Subscription offers tiered volume discounts. The more users you have, the lower each individual desktop will cost. If you are ineligible for a volume discount, then each desktop will cost you $2.50 per month. Once again, costs can be as low as $1.25 per month. Similarly, on servers, per Proc subscription will cost you from $25.00 to $12.50 per month. Please note that Proc are being calculated similar to Oracle Database Enterprise, so it falls under Oracle’s Hard/Soft partitioning policy.

Transitioning to OpenJDK will allow your applications to run without any detrimental consequences if you do not renew. This means you could renew for the systems your organization absolutely needs Java SE for, and transition the others to OpenJDK. A strategy like this will help to reduce your monthly subscription costs while still reaping the benefits of Java SE. Other options include receiving Free of Cost (FoC) support from other vendors supporting Java as well as contract negotiation between three parties (ie – vendor, Oracle and customer).

Pointers for Using SAM

While transitioning to OpenJDK is an option, larger companies will likely be unable to go down that road. Companies with over a thousand employees won’t be able to parse how Java is used and supported by their myriad of publisher partners. This also has a classic open source problem of accountability for security vulnerability. In parallel, all J2EE applications have to go through regression testing processes for OpenJDK. That being said, an Oracle subscription will be the typical outcome for companies of this size.

Another factor to be aware of is knowing what your SAM tool’s vendor is capable of in terms of discovering Java. Flexera, Snow Software, and other tools will know where Java is installed, but cannot provide further context into whether or not it is actually being used and what it is being used for. Understanding if your SAM tool’s vendor is able to provide you with that information will only help you reduce costs in the long-term.

Looking Beyond January 2019

While the new Oracle Java SE subscription model may shake up your current strategy, your organization can absolutely plan ahead. Use your SAM tool to identify which systems are using Java, and build out a renewal strategy from there. Once you have figured out an approximate monthly price, you will be able to work the new Java SE into your everyday strategy.

For more information on Oracle Java and what this means for your organization next year, listen to our latest webinar. Or, if you would like to speak to an expert, contact us today for more information about how SoftwareONE can help.

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