A year ago I published a blog entitled "I don't need to refresh my Oracle servers, they work just fine", which looked at the risks of running legacy hardware. The article focussed on some of the most common pitfalls such as availability of spares, power, cooling and the operating system the hardware is still running on. However, the one area I didn't cover in great detail was the cost of legacy hardware.
For all of Oracle's bad press, they are completely different from other hardware players as they essentially offer lifetime support on a sliding scale to allow you to really sweat your assets. They also continue to provide support for legacy operating systems such as Solaris 8 or 9, when these are run as branded zones. Now Oracle hasn't changed their policy of lifetime support (and full details of the cover provided can be found here), but there are a couple of points that you need to be aware of before you receive your support renewal for your hardware:
Firstly, each year Oracle has an inflationary uplift applied to your support contract costs of 4%. If you have bought all of your support upfront with your server, then the good news is that this doesn't affect you, but if you currently pay for support on an annual basis, you will see the rise at your renewal date. We always advise our clients to pay for all of their support upfront to avoid this, it also has the added benefit of neatly aligning support to the life expectancy of the hardware.
The next point to be aware of is Oracle's 'Aged Hardware Surcharge'. This is a charge applied to systems where five years have passed since the system was shipped to the customer. The surcharge means that an additional uplift of 15% is applied to the premier support renewal after the aforementioned inflationary uplift, and for some tape products this surcharge will be 50%. Now at this point, you are probably thinking that Oracle is a monster, however, in reality, all that Oracle is doing is coming into line with the rest of the industry. All other hardware manufacturers have been charging a premium for legacy hardware for years, with each vendor having their own way of doing things. Some charge a higher premium for support calls, some charge for part replacements due to faults with reduced service levels, and some just charge a higher rate for support.
The final new charge is linked to Solaris 10 and its support. Solaris 10 has been around since 2005 and has served its customers well, but as of February 2018, it will be moving into extended support. So what does this mean to you? The first thing to realise is that Oracle will continue to provide support for the operating system, however, if you want to access new patches or bug fixes you will need to purchase extended support. You can still access all of the previous patches, just not any new ones that are created. The support uplift which allows you to continue to access new patches will be 10%, and this is calculated as a percentage of the existing premier support.
I'm sure many of you are once again feeling that this is an unreasonable move by Oracle. However, similar to the 'Aged Hardware Surcharge', this uplift only brings the costs in line with industry standard. We also have to remember that the operating system has been around for over 12 years, which is exceptional innings. Ultimately, my question to you would be "why are you still running an operating system that is 12 years' old and a potential risk to your organisation?"
If the answer is "yes", then you need to start to evaluate the costs of running that platform based on the changes listed above. There are some great new systems on offer that don't cost the earth and will provide you with peace of mind from both a risk and a cost perspective. Some of you may be thinking, "I don't know where to start?", that's where Esteem can assist. If you have your support costs and details of the system we can produce a quick TCO report for you to see if a refresh is viable and what you can expect as an ROI. What have you got to lose?