The latest Solaris licensing and support rumbles
You know, I would really like it if my crazy pessimistic predictions for Solaris would stop coming true (cf). The latest news in the Solaris community is Oracle has apparently started telling people about the new Solaris licensing model (note that I haven't seen confirmation of this yet). Boiled down, it appears to be:
- you can only run Solaris on Sun hardware (either directly on the hardware
or virtualized through your choice of virtualization system); Solaris
licenses are attached to the hardware and are not available otherwise.
(Licenses are unlikely to transfer with used hardware, too.)
- software support (which is effectively mandatory) costs some moderate percentage of the
hardware price per year; the figure I've seen is 8%.
(This is apparently your net cost, not the hardware's list price, so discounted hardware means discounted support.)
Anyone running Solaris on third-party hardware is now up the creek; existing support contracts will presumably be honored, but I doubt that you will be able to renew them or get coverage for new systems. Oracle has apparently canceled some large third-party hardware support agreements.
The last time around I said that this doesn't directly affect us because the university has a site-wide support contract with Sun. I now expect that contract to change dramatically when it is renewed in the fall, if it is renewed at all. While locally we are lucky enough to be running Solaris on real Sun hardware, I suspect that this is not the case across the university as a whole and there are a bunch of people who are likely to be in serious hurt (and on short notice to boot).
This is also likely to cost us (collectively) a significant amount of money, unless Oracle either changes the support pricing model or gives us significant discounts. For example, we have one group here running Solaris on a Thumper; even at half the rumored price, that is suddenly a quite expensive machine. Our own Solaris fileservers are luckily on inexpensive Sun hardware, but there are consequences even there; now, for example, deploying an additional hot spare or a long-term test machine has a real monetary cost beyond the (already bought) server hardware and rack space, since we have to buy support for it.
(Even if hardware comes with a right to run Solaris 10 update 8, we can't deploy a hot spare or a test machine without patching it to match our other machines, and we can't legally do that without a support contract for the machine.)