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Re: Controlling the number of users in the database

From: DanO <>
Date: 30 Nov 2004 08:03:02 -0800
Message-ID: <>

Mark Bole <> wrote in message news:<6FNod.48934$>...
> DanO wrote:
> > I have been tasked with finding a way to control (limit) the number of
> > users that log into the Oracle database while using our proprietary
> > application product. For example, a client may buy our product and
> > purchase a 100 user license. We need a way to prevent the 101st user
> > from logging into the database.
> >
> [...]
> >
> > Does anyone know of a product or a method whereby I can record a user
> > logging onto the database and add to a counter (and do the opposite
> > for logoff)? I'm sure a home-written solution could be created using
> > event triggers, etc. but I'm hoping not to re-invent the wheel if
> > somebody knows of a system, method, or little know parameter that can
> > work.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Dan
> Ditto what everyone else said about trusting DBAs.
> Better to do what most vendors do, namely make sure your product has
> enough bugs that sooner or later the customer has to call for support.
> Then, in your case, when they send you the standard log files, look for
> secret messages which you have arranged to be generated by your
> proprietary product, indicating whether or not they violated their
> license. If so, then sue them and refuse to allow them to be a customer
> any more. This will greatly increase your market share, no doubt.
> Or you could consider a security dongle -- that will surely make you a
> leader in the marketplace.
> Remember what happened to Intuit a few years back when they tried to put
> a limit on Turbotax (only a limit on where you could print from, not
> where you could run it--and even that was easily worked around). Even
> non-business users know better than to put up with this type of thing.
> The point is, per-user licensing is not the problem, but lame attempts
> to "enforce" it via software are. If you have an arm's-length business
> relationship with the customer and both firms have even a shred of
> honesty and integrity, it shouldn't be an issue. And in the case of
> dishonesty, it's going to require legal, not technical, methods to resolve.
> -Mark Bole

Great idea about the bugs, I'll keep that in mind. I might present that to the powers that be as our ultimate solution.

Thanks to everyone who answered, except for Dan A. Morgan who berated me over a mundane issue that shouldn't generate such venom (note to self: no Christmas card for Dan this year). It reinforced my belief that there is no easy answer to this issue. This is something we're kicking around, it's not set in stone. I understand the statements about trusting DBA's, but it's not really about DBA's controlling usage as much as companies just abusing the product and adding more and more users - either intentionally or not. We do try to keep a good support relationship with customers but it doesn't mean a company wouldn't buy a license for a small company and slowly add users over time. Any company that wants to stay viable would be interested in this.

Anyway, I have tried an event trigger to monitor logons/logoffs and it seems like a good start.

Dan Received on Tue Nov 30 2004 - 10:03:02 CST

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