How to assess your Java licensing, a short guide.

In the ever-evolving world of software asset management (SAM), staying compliant with licensing requirements while optimizing your IT infrastructure is paramount. One of the most challenging aspects of SAM is managing Oracle Java licenses, especially with Oracle’s changes in licensing terms. Here’s a short guide to help you navigate through the complexities of Oracle Java licensing, ensuring your organization remains compliant and cost-efficient.

Understanding Oracle Java Licensing Changes

Oracle Java’s licensing has undergone significant changes in recent years, impacting how organizations use Java Development Kits (JDK) and Java Runtime Environments (JRE). Previously free for commercial use, Oracle now requires a subscription for businesses to use Java SE (Standard Edition), affecting many companies reliant on Java for their operations. These changes underscore the importance of conducting thorough Java license assessments to avoid unexpected fees and ensure compliance. You can find some information around Oracle Java licensing requirements here

Finding The Process Path

Whilst understanding what Java you have deployed and where is important, it’s paramount to understand which application the Java is being utilized by, as this will dictate whether additional licenses are required, as in some instances the application utilizing Java, may have a license included already as per an agreement with the Java OEM, so additional licenses are not required. Most generic scan tools will define where Java is located along with an install path, however in a number of instances, a generic file path will be used and therefore understanding which application is utilizing Java to conduct this assessment is near impossible. Aware of this problem we developed an open-source solution called OJDM Collector which gathers this required information, such as process path of the JDK/JRE, if the process is running, and the command line to execute the process.

You can find out more about OJDM Collector here

The Assessment Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

To effectively manage Oracle Java licenses, it’s essential to understand which Java installations require licenses and which do not. Here’s how to streamline the process using Licenseware’s Oracle Java Discovery Manager (OJDM):

  1. Initial Scan with Generic Tools: Begin by using a generic scanning tool (e.g., SCCM, Lansweeper, Flexera, Snow) to identify all Java installations across your infrastructure. This scan helps determine the scope of devices requiring in-depth discovery and analysis. If you do not have a generic discovery solution, you can utilize MAPToolkit a free solution developed by Microsoft which collects Java installation data.
  2. Upload Results to Licenseware OJDM: Import the scan results into OJDM to identify Oracle Java installs, their versions, and license requirements. This step clarifies whether you’re dealing with non-commercial use, legacy metrics, or if an employee metric is necessary.

  3. Further discovery: Now you know which devices require further investigation, use our open-source discovery solution “OJDM Collector” on these machines, leveraging existing infrastructure tools to execute and collect the data.
  4. Categorization and Action: Upload the raw data collected to Licenseware OJDM and process it again, categorize Java usage into four categories:
    • Unused installations (remove)
    • Installations used by Oracle apps (check license terms)
    • Installations used by non-proprietary apps (verify license requirements)
    • Installations for in-house developed apps (consider migration).

Why This Process Matters

With the shift towards subscription-based models, understanding the specifics of your Java usage can significantly affect your licensing costs and compliance status, and identifying the exact application using Java on a device is crucial to ensure this is done correctly. Process paths help in determining whether an application is proprietary, requires a specific Java version, or if it can be migrated to an alternative JDK, impacting licensing and operational costs. Many third-party applications use Java so verifying their license terms ensures you’re not inadvertently violating Oracle’s licensing agreements.

Exploring Alternative JDKs

Given the licensing complexities and costs associated with Oracle Java, many organizations are considering alternative JDKs. Here are some popular options:

  • AdoptOpenJDK/OpenJDK: A free and open-source option, widely used in the industry, offering a viable alternative without the licensing fees.
  • Amazon Corretto: Another free, multiplatform, production-ready distribution of the Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK) that comes with long-term support.
  • Azul Zulu: An enterprise-grade, certified build of OpenJDK that offers another alternative for organizations looking to avoid Oracle’s subscription model.
  • Eclipse Temurin: Provided by the Eclipse Foundation, it offers prebuilt OpenJDK binaries that are free to use.

By understanding the nuances of Oracle Java licensing and considering alternative JDKs, organizations can make informed decisions, ensuring compliance while optimizing their software investments. The journey towards efficient IT asset management is complex, but with the right tools and strategies, it’s entirely achievable. Licenseware’s OJDM serves as a pivotal tool in this journey, providing the insights needed to navigate the intricacies of Oracle Java licensing effectively.


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