STOP | DROP | SWAP – How to Reduce Your Oracle Spend in 3 Easy Steps.

As we engage with clients, one question is coming up more and more “How do I reduce my spend with Oracle?” some of the more disenfranchised clients are going further and asking IBM “how do I get out of ever working with Oracle ever again?”

Why such stark feedback, I hear you ask?  Oracle make good software so why the negative sentiment?

The feedback is simple, Oracle uses nefarious sales tactics to get clients to sign on the line that is dotted.  And 2020 is worse than most years as Oracle’s year end happened to land smack bang right in the middle of the worst pandemic to sweep the globe in living memory, when people’s minds were on family safety and keeping the lights on in their business rather than on signing multi-year software agreements.  

Oracle is asking, no forcing clients to migrate lock stock and barrel to the Oracle Cloud. This forced march is driven by strong seller incentive structures where on-premises deals are zero rated for seller compensation and where the overriding goal is customer lock-in rather than choice and flexibility. 

Against this backdrop what are clients to do?  If Oracle has its way then to sign on the line that is dotted is the only option.

An alternative strategy exists.

This strategy can be summed up catchily in the 3 words – STOP | SWAP | DROP – While I would like to take credit for this catchy nomenclature I can’t.  Craig Guarante – The CEO of Palisade Compliance rightly deserves the credit.  We will come back to Craig and the team at Palisade, as they will play a big part in the strategy.


If you are one of the disenfranchised Oracle clients (don’t worry you are not alone, in fact quite the opposite based on Oracle’s latest earnings statements.) then the first thing to do is stop spending more money with Oracle.  This sounds hard, but it must be a conscious directive that comes from the top of the organization.  Stop buying Oracle solutions, stop authorizing purchases of Oracle software, stop every new spend with Oracle.

After you have stopped, you need to take stock.  Find all your agreements with Oracle, dig out all the old emails, build your history.  Then engage Palisade Compliance – Craig Guarante is Palisade Compliance’s CEO for 16 years. Craig worked at Oracle in various roles, ultimately becoming their Global Vice President of Contracts and Business Practices, as well as the Global Process Owner for Oracle’s LMS audit teams. Basically, he wrote the playbook Oracle uses to police contracts and agreements. When he left to go it alone in 2011 his firm quickly established itself as the preeminent consulting business helping clients take control of their commercial relationship with Oracle.  

As you take stock you will need an expert to help you make sense of your position with Oracle, the team at Palisade’s Compliance are the best in the business.


Now you have your license picture in stark focus now you need to drop your spend with Oracle.  This step should not be taken lightly but real rewards exist. 

You can exit your ELA, it is not a commercial reality that you have to always renew, your new friends at Palisades will be able to guide you through the process of how to rip up your ELA and stop your contributions to the Larry Ellison racing yacht fund. 

What you need to do first is select a platform that means you will need less licenses to run your Oracle environment.  You will need to find alternatives for Oracle hardware solutions such Exadata and legacy UNIX systems such as the Solaris powered compute systems many clients still have in the back of their datacenter chugging along.  

Don’t worry alternatives exist- Take for instance IBM LinuxONE, a highly engineered OLTP beast built to deliver mission-critical Linux workloads at scale with the most robust security from the silicon to the hypervisor.  IBM’s database powerhouse leverages the world’s fastest commercially available processor and other technologies such as on-chip compression and encryption to drive huge consolidations of Oracle workloads.  Clients often see in excess of a 10:1 consolidation ratio when deploying Oracle on LinuxONE enabling them to do the same work on 90%+ less cores than comparable commodity x86 servers.

In IBM total cost of ownership studies LinuxONE delivers on average 50% savings and as high as 65% in larger environments through a 10:1 core consolidation ratio.

Less cores = less licenses.

Before you get to the end of your ULA, implement LinuxONE and then certify out of your ULA write to Oracle or just don’t pay that next support bill on your anniversary.  Then with your right sized new environment running significantly less cores, license the Oracle software you need directly from IBM as the largest Oracle reseller globally.  This way you only have the licenses you need.  

If you want to go one step further then this is the time to explore 3rd party software support. This option allows you to further save as much as 50% on the ongoing support of your Oracle estate.  IBM partners with the leader in the space Spinnaker…


Now you have a solid picture of your commercial position with regard to Oracle, you have dropped your spend through leveraging LinuxONE, and potentially 3rd party software support – what to do next?  The next step in your strategy should be to find alternatives to the Oracle software stack.  Whether this is legacy operating systems such as Solaris or Oracle’s flavor of Linux, right through the stack through the database and middleware you will need alternatives.

The open-source movement is your partner here.  Whether it is Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux operating system or the PostgreSQL database, solid mission-critical level alternatives exist.  These crowdsourced alternatives leverage the best of the open-source movement coupled with proven support structures from the likes of Red Hat and Fujitsu.  

Your migration can take its time as you have already made significant savings through a huge consolidation and right sizing of your license estate.  However, as you migrate to open source you can expect further significant reduction in Oracle license costs.


You deserve choice and flexibility to choose your IT strategy and not be held hostage in expensive software agreements or forced to move to a cloud that is not your first choice.  You deserve to bask in the glory of deploying a hybrid multi-cloud strategy based on Open Source technology and the benefits it will bring to your IT department.  The team at IBM, Red Hat, Fujitsu, Spinnaker and Palisade Compliance are here to help you get to this version of your future. 

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