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Re: Controlling the number of users in the database

From: Mark Bole <>
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2004 02:18:28 GMT
Message-ID: <UR9rd.52211$>

DanO wrote:

> 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
>>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.

>>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

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

[...] 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.
> Thanks,
> Dan

Glad that my passive-aggressive cynicism was taken as such! ;-)

The whole idea of controlling number of users is much more interesting in the context of controlling system load (think "governor on a diesel engine", for example) than license enforcement.

I recall a situation a dozen years ago where I was faced, on an early Monday morning, with implementing an ad hoc restriction of user logins due to a major hardware catastrophe -- the management decision being, better to let some users in with reasonable response time than let all users in with no one getting any work done. Now this is a situation that calls for an ability to detect when the hundredth concurrent user is logged in to the database...

If your customers are ready to move to the next level of licensing, it is the job of the sales rep to know that, and make the sale. I don't think the software enforcement approach will ever totally replace this.

-Mark Bole Received on Tue Nov 30 2004 - 20:18:28 CST

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