Interview with Maxime Pawlak – Easytrust

Today we have our first ‘Featured’ interview with our guest Maxime Pawlak, Managing Director of Easytrust.

We have lined up a number of very interesting people over the coming months to share their expertise and knowledge in the areas of Software Asset Management, Oracle Licensing and influential IT trends in general.

Maxime will also feature in our next podcast ‘Licence Management Today – Episode 05′.

The full transcript of the interview between Kay and Maxime is below. It was a pleasure to talk to Maxime, who is extremely knowledgeable about the Oracle Compliance marketplace and provides a lot of experiences and know how.

Transcription of the interview below

Kay: Good morning Maxime, and thank you for joining us today.

Maxime: Good morning.

Kay: Could you please introduce yourself, who you are, who you work for, and what your role is?

Maxime: Yes. My name is Maxime Pawlak. I’m vice president of Easytrust Company, which is a software vendor. We are focused on the Oracle inventory market, inventory and software asset management market. It means we have a dedicated solution to the inventory of the deployed Oracle software and to manage the contract, compliance contracts, and provide a compliance position. My role in that company is keeping up the markets in terms of sales opportunities, new market, new countries and also I’m part of the strategy around the tool, and the road map and the partnerships.

Kay: Thank you Maxime. Easyteam, how many people are in Easyteam and how long have you been operating?

Maxime: Easyteam is 120 persons. We’re operating since 10 years now. We are based in France, 120 persons is in France only. The Easytrust brand is also now a company, it’s a subsidiary of Easyteam and with a little bit different focus because of course we do software development but also we sell abroad the tool.

Kay: Okay, in terms of geography, you’re in France, Europe?

Maxime: Yes, today Easytrust customers are mainly in France.

Kay: Okay.

Maxime: We also go to some European countries, south Europe. For non-European countries, we are working with Canada, some African countries and Russia. It’s a starting international development, but it’s going well.

Kay: Maxime, what markets are you operating in terms of industry sector?

Maxime: We’re part of the software asset management market, we are specific on that market because we only address Oracle. Usually people, they separate the software management market in the inventory tools and the software management tools and some tools which can do both of them. We can do both of them, we do inventory and we do software asset management but we just do it for Oracle and we can do it right. We can bring up value audits around Oracle licenses problems and solutions. In terms of industry customers we address, we address every single industry who are Oracle customers so it concerns every industry.

Kay: Okay, as a non-technical person could you explain to me what the differences between the inventory tools and the software asset management?

Maxime: Of course, yes. The inventory tools, it’s all about discovering which are the software installed on the laptops or the servers of customers. It’s about with agents or agent-less technologies connecting to that servers or to that laptops and grab some information about the presence of the software installed or not. This is the inventory part of the market and there are some tools in the market which just do inventory. They are especially focused on that feature.

The software asset management part of the market is more about consolidating data which can be provided by inventory tools but it also can be provided by CMDBs or different tools which are already installed in the companies. They provide different features like the ability to put into the tool all the contracts, what other licensing that I have bought. It also provide the ability to get the data from the inventory tools and work on that data in order to reconsolidate this data with the contract information. Most of them, they have catalog with SKUs, which is the unique identifier of the software, and they are the SKU catalog and they can match this SKU of the software which has been bought with the software which has been discovered. Providing that, they can provide some compliance position by comparing what you have bought and what you have deployed. They also provide some capabilities about optimization, the software and the licenses. Sometimes they provide some process and processing of your software asset management policies in terms of workflows or integrations with third party tools. It’s a little bit different on the market.

Kay: It sounds like an inventory tool like yours should be part of any SAM programme, would that be correct?

Maxime: Yes, the software asset management programme could be run without any tools, but as you know you need to have correct data in order to be able to do software asset management so you will definitely have a question of “should I buy an inventory tool” or “do I already have some tools in my company that I can use or extend in order to grab this information I already have somewhere, but I don’t use?”

Kay: Do you use one tool or would it depend on the customer’s Oracle estate as to what tool you would use or you would recommend?

Maxime: Well from all sides we are a software vendor so we have our own tool which is a discovery and a software asset management tool for Oracle. With our customers, we promote that tool which is ready to use for Oracle and easy to use and accurate. We just use that tool. We don’t do all the Oracle products with that. In some cases, like E-Business Suites and Siebel for example, we use scripts. So in some cases, in some products we do use scripts, but in most cases for Oracle technology products, which of the most famous is the Oracle database, of course, we use our tool.

Kay: If you walked me through the process a customer called you today, say I’m a customer, and would like to know, maybe they had a letter from Oracle, they’re going to carry out a review or an audit. What would Easyteam do?

Maxime: What we do most of the time is customers call us when they have some pain with Oracle. It could be a letter of audit, but it could be the threat of that letter. Or it could be that they just remembered that they have one they did a few years ago and they want to put that into control. This is why they call us and how it works is basically we do a proposal for fixed-price services which includes the usage of the software, so we have a price for a project license which is maximum of a 6 months license for very big customers. Most of the time, it’s 1 or 2 months to run the complete audit … I shouldn’t use the term audit because audit is the Vendor approach, so we don’t do audits, we do reviews. We have to install the tool. Installing the tool doesn’t mean we go to the customer datacenter ourselves, usually it’s a customer who can install the tool. It consists of installing agents on the Oracle servers and it grabs all the information and it brings it back to the dashboard, which could be installed on customer premises or it could be a cloud version which is on our datacenter. When the customer has installed the tool, has installed the agents, we are able to see the information about the Oracle deployed product and after that, or in parallel of that, most of the time we ask customers about the contract they have because we also need to understand the contract for information.

We have to install the tool. Installing the tool doesn’t mean we go to the customer datacenter ourselves, usually it’s a customer who can install the tool. It consists of installing agents on the Oracle servers and it grabs all the information and it brings it back to the dashboard, which could be installed on customer premises or it could be a cloud version which is on our datacenter. When the customer has installed the tool, has installed the agents, we are able to see the information about the Oracle deployed product and after that, or in parallel of that, most of the time we ask customers about the contract they have because we also need to understand the contract for information.

This could be, depending on the customers, we could have more or less information about that contract. Sometimes they just have the renewal of the supports, of the supports with Oracle, so it only tells you a few things. Basically the name of the product and the quantity and the kind of licenses. Sometimes it’s better when they find the contracts which has been signed while buying these licenses, which could be in the Oracle world, the older documents, etc. or the OMA for the new contracts Oracle have released recently.

If we find these contracts, it’s better because we can grab some information about specific rules which could have been negotiated between Oracle and the customer. It also tells you what were the processor definition at that time, it could be specific metrics. There can be different cases, so it’s really better when we can find out these contracts. If we can’t, we still can do it with only the supports renewal and we will use our knowledge about the standard Oracle contracts at that time when the licenses were bought, and we will compare that provide the compliance position. When you have all the contracts, you can say “Okay, this is your user rights, you can compare it with what the tool provides and then you can provide this compliance position.” Of course, we cannot see what is not provided to us so if the customer doesn’t file the agent or they forget some servers, we can’t see them. This is why we have a discovery tool, maybe I should’ve started with that, so it is scanning the network and it’s finding where is Oracle installed on the server.

Again, if there is some network with no access, we cannot scan it. For example, it happens we cannot see the servers onsite. When we do the compliance position, this is the first step, so we can come out, for example, 1 million euros compliance position situation or much more than that. We’ve seen 20 or 30 million, so it’s very current because it’s very quick. When we see that position we start to try to optimize the situation for the customer. I think this is a field in which Easytrust is specifically good because as I told you, we are 120 persons working around Oracle in the company and we can do the licenses optimization part. It’s all about “okay should I use main users, processors; do I use my concurrent devices in the right place? Should I go to an ULA or not? Could I optimize my support contract, etc.?” This is the licensing part and we have people who are ex-LMS, License Management Services, which is the audit services of Oracle, so we have some people from them, but are experts in the licenses part. It’s an important part of the optimization, of course. Most of the company’s providing consulting around licenses, for records they stop here.

There is one other very, very important part of it, it’s optimizing the architectures because everything comes from the architecture which has been chosen at the first place. Talking about the architecture is taking care of virtualization, which is a big problem. If you just are a software or licenses consultant, you can tell, “This is a rule: you shouldn’t use VMware for example because it would cost you a lot in that case,” but you cannot explain what would be the good architecture. We try to extend the rules, externalize impact, and then find out which is a good architecture for customers in terms of virtualization. We consolidate the servers, we help customer to consolidate. We help them to also challenge their disaster recovery architectures. Finally, we help them to consider going to the cloud, which is one of the interesting opportunity which is now provided by Amazon, Azure or Oracle themselves for optimizing the architectures of the Oracle customers.

We consolidate the servers, we help customers to consolidate. We help them to also challenge their disaster recovery architectures. Finally, we help them to consider going to the cloud, which is one of the interesting opportunities which is now provided by Amazon, Azure or Oracle themselves for optimizing the architectures of the Oracle customers.

Kay: You talked about license optimization earlier, is this one of the key reasons customers work with Easyteam?

Maxime: Of course, this is the deal. This is why customers call us basically, because of course they want to know, they want to put into control, but they just want to pay the right amount for what they really use. Most of the case, they don’t because they could have activated some options by mistake, they could have taken some architecture choices without knowing the impact on the licenses. If they call us, it’s to be aware of that and it’s also to solve that problem. At the end of the day, they could still have a compliance position and licenses to buy, after the optimization, or they could not, it depends on the customers. If they feel up to buy the licenses it’s an amount which is every time has been really reduced between the first compliance position and after the optimization.
Oracle provides a lot of options and it’s quite hard to control which has been activated or not….

Kay: Thank you, Maxime. In general, do you find most customers are non-compliant to some degree?

Maxime: They are basically under-licensed, 95% of the case they are under-licensed. Yes, because Oracle provides a lot of options and it’s quite hard to control which has been activated or not. The process of definition is not so easy because of the impact for virtualization, and the name user definition is not so easy because of the impact of multiplexing. Most of the case, there is something which is not under control about all these rules. So we find things, I’d say, 95% of the case.

Kay: Very interesting, Maxime, thank you for that. Is there anything you would like to add about the tool?

Maxime: Well, yes, what’s important to understand about the Easytrust tool is that it has been verified by Oracle, so we’re part of support vendor verification program.

Kay: What does that mean as opposed to a tool that’s not verified by Oracle?

Maxime: It means for database because this programme is only for database option and management packs, the tool can be used as a source of data in case of audits. You just have to push one button and you export the equivalent of the Oracle’s scripts results. It means the process is much more easy to run this audit and you are much more secure about the usage of that tool compared to another tool which is not verified.

Kay: Oracle will take the data from your tool and rely on that data?

Maxime: Yes, exactly. I just want to clarify a confusion which is usually made. Data which is taken by Oracle in the verification process, it’s a kind of raw data, it’s not calculated computer data. So one verified tool is not equivalent to another verified tool because what interests customers is not the raw data, it’s the computer data, the calculated data. There are many, many huge differences in the markets between different inventory tools. Some are generalists, we do on the Oracle and we claim to be able to do it very accurately. We’ve seen that on several customers on which we work. We’ve seen different tools, there is all the provide, it’s a generalist approach.

The very specific Oracle rules on every kind of server, on every kind of operating system, every version of it, it’s very hard to implement a tool which to complete and accurate compute of that data. I have to say that, we don’t provide the records during the audit, we don’t provide the calculated data, we provide the raw data. It means that there could be a difference between the results of what Oracle tells at the end of the audit and what the tool says. It’s all about it, the quality of the tool, even if it has been verified by Oracle, it’s a good point, it’s a good start because the verification process tells you at least what are all the data you need to grab and to control from the inventory part in order to propose a proper inventory. It’s not enough, then you have to implement the compute that data to provide how many licenses do I need. For now, even Oracle LMS is doing that kind of job manually using the results of the scripts or using the exports of the verified tools.

Kay: Great. What about the cloud? Are you seeing take-up with this and does this present new challenges?

Maxime: I think that there is a great opportunity today to explore for customers, there is something very big coming which is the cloud, of course. In the Oracle world we are a little bit late on that because it’s about the infrastructure. For Oracle database, I mean, it’s a little bit late, but it’s coming. Oracle just announced that they provide their own public accounts on the last Oracle OpenWorld. Also Azure and Amazon web services, they already have Oracle offers on their public account. In parallel of that, many customers they implement private clouds which means they want to be able to create or to patch and to clone to manage their Oracle database just by using a click with the self-service portal used by their users.

[The Cloud…] this is changing many things in terms of licensing for Oracle. They are specific rules for Amazon and Azure, also for Oracle public cloud and for private clouds as it goes with virtualization, this has also a huge impact on the licenses and it brings new challenges, but it also brings great opportunities.

We now put the cloud insights in every review we do. We start to propose to our customers to migrate part of their infrastructure to the public cloud. It could be development and tests, for example, environment, it could be the Amazon or the Oracle cloud and we also propose them to change their infrastructure and to create while they change, a private cloud because it’s how people do it now, it’s all about automation. We don’t want DBAs to do the same tasks a hundred times a day, we just want to automate everything and it’s a big change in the Oracle future.

Not all customers are already there but while you do an inventory, you put in some compliance problem. Most of the time, cloud is one of the solutions which is big, which is coming, which is not very easy to understand for now in the Oracle world. There are many options depending on the customer, but I think it’s very important to take that into consideration when you start doing your inventories and it will have impact on how you manage and how you design your record architecture.

Kay: Can Easyteam help or provide services for customers thinking of moving to public or private clouds?

Maxime: Yes, moving to private or public clouds; building the private cloud or moving to public clouds; yes we’re just doing that now for a few years. We started the first private clouds a couple of years ago. We started the Amazon partnership one year ago and the Oracle public cloud has been released a few months ago and we’re just starting to be able to deploy in it. Yes, we are very in-depth in that cloud move to help our customers to implement and do the right choices around that.

Kay: What about virtualization? Does this still present a problem if customers adopt cloud solutions?

Maxime: Yes, it has a huge impact. If you don’t take care it will bring major risks because most of the cloud’s suppliers are providing VMware platforms and they are from some issues with running your Oracle platforms on VMware. There are a few vendors that I mentioned, like Amazon or Azure or Oracle which are specific, they have specific contracts with Oracle allowing them to provide virtual machines on which you would pay only the virtual processes you really use. In different cases I’ve seen compliant situations on which customers have put their Oracle licenses on the public cloud which could be another cloud and there was just a huge VMware forms above that cloud architecture and it was a very painful compliant situation in front of Oracle. It has to be taken care of, why customers think about their cloud strategy even if it’s a public cloud, they will definitely do that public cloud using virtualization, so this has to be taken care of.

Kay: Thank you Maxime, some excellent points. Just a quick question that I’m going to ask all the people I interview, just for fun. If you were Larry Ellison, what would you do tomorrow?

Maxime: I do not think of that.

Kay: If you were one of the richest men in the world what would you do?

Maxime: Such a different question, (laughs) because Larry Ellison in terms of business strategy, there was a rumor that said maybe they will buy EMC and maybe they will buy VMware doing that. I don’t know if it would be a good move because this would cost a lot I suppose. It would be interesting for VMware customers, I think they are angry with Oracle about the licenses polices around VMware and the only way to stop that is to buy them. If they buy VMware, change the politics, it could make people more happy with Oracle but also it will also mean that they will have another Oracle product and they don’t they want to go with just one vendor so it would be another problem. I think it could be a good strategy move depending on the price they pay.

Kay: Okay, thank you for that. Finally, Maxime, what would be the best way to contact you?

Maxime: Well the best way to contact us is through our website, Easytrust.com. You have a contact page, you can just write in an email or call us.

Kay: Okay, I’ll put the link to that on the show notes on iTunes.

Maxime: Great, thank you very much to you, okay, perfect.

Kay: Great to talk to you Maxime.

Maxime: Thanks very much Kay, have a good day.

Kay: Yes, and enjoy the weekend.

Maxime: Yes, you too, bye bye.

Kay: Bye bye. Many thanks to Maxime from Easytrust. I hope you found the interview useful, I certainly did. If you have any questions or comments for Maxime or myself, please get in touch. Until next time, goodbye.

You can learn more about Easytrust and the ‘Easytrust License Management for Oracle ‘ solution at Easytrust.com.
If you would like to get in touch with Maxime simply leave a message on the contact form. You can also follow them on all the social media platforms including Twitter @Easyblogs

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