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The devil’s in the detail: an introduction to WebLogic Server Editions

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Oracle’s WebLogic Server is commonly used for developing and deploying applications across cloud environments, engineered systems, and conventional systems. However, there are several editions of WebLogic—each of which has its own capabilities and uses. In this post we will explore the differences between the three major WebLogic Server Editions: Standard, Enterprise, and Suite. We will also show you how to figure out which one you currently have. It’s not always clear!

This article is based on a webinar presented by Anglepoint’s president and ISO’s ITAM standards committee chair, Ron Brill. Please visit this link to watch the full version.

Oracle’s WebLogic Server is commonly used for developing and deploying applications across cloud environments, engineered systems, and conventional systems. However, there are several editions of WebLogic – each of which has its own capabilities and uses. 

In this post we will explore the differences between the three major WebLogic Server Editions: Standard, Enterprise, and Suite. We will also show you how to figure out which one you currently have. It’s not always clear!

Standard vs Enterprise – what’s the difference?

What is the difference between the WebLogic Server Editions (Standard, Enterprise, Suite)?

There is no easy, straightforward answer to this question.  

The Oracle Database installer has an option to select the preferred Database Edition:

However, for the WebLogic Server installer this option does not exist.

So how do we know which WebLogic Edition is installed?

First, let’s take a look at the official definitions of each:

In translation, this means that the WebLogic Server Editions are more like licensing concepts than editions. Selecting the “right” edition is about aligning with which WebLogic Server features are used and the other Oracle products that are installed on the machine.

For example, it is clear from these definitions that Oracle WebLogic Server clustering is the main feature that differentiates between the Standard Edition and the Enterprise Edition.

But does this mean that an Enterprise Edition license is always required for clustering or are there some special clusters that could be covered by the Standard Edition?

As always, Oracle made things just a little tricky… since the WebLogic Server may be installed together with other Oracle application/products there are in fact a few exceptions to the definitions given.

For example, some clusters get created automatically. In these cases, the WebLogic Server Standard Edition license may cover usage. (See supporting footnote on this point.)

Of course, this is just one example and there are many more.

So how do we know which WebLogic Clusters are exceptions and which means we need the Enterprise Edition? After all, knowing which Edition needs to be licensed can go a long way in reducing cost.

For our customers, the answer is simple. Anglepoint’s Elevate web platform automatically detects exceptions if the WebLogic Server clustering falls under the Standard Edition or if it requires Enterprise Edition.

What about the WebLogic Suite?

When should we consider WebLogic Suite instead of WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition or WebLogic Server Standard Edition?

Again, the answer isn’t simple and there could be multiple situations when the WebLogic Suite license is required. For example, 

  • The WebLogic Suite may be a pre-requisite for another Oracle product such as the SOA Suite for Oracle Middleware. In such cases the Edition is not important because WebLogic Suite needs to be licensed.
  • WebLogic Suite might be advantageous from a pricing perspective especially in the cases where there is a combination of Internet Application Server (iAS) components with WebLogic Server.

Understandably, many customers find the process of trying to figure out which WebLogic Edition they need so daunting that they end up resorting to the WebLogic Suite out of convenience. But this perceived convenience comes as a high cost.

The Suite license is one of the most expensive items from the Application Server Products and is probably not necessary.

What is WebLogic Server Basic?

WebLogic Server Basic is a license-constrained version of WebLogic Server that is available for the following Oracle products:

  • Oracle Internet Application Server Standard Edition
  • Oracle Internet Application Server Standard Edition One
  • Oracle Internet Application Server Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Forms and Reports
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Standard Edition

Additional details about the WebLogic Server Basic constraints may be found here.

For example, Oracle Forms and Reports used together with WebLogic Server does not always require the WebLogic Suite license. Of course, it’s tempting to resort to the costly WebLogic Suite which fully covers the usage and saves the hassle of figuring out editions, but it is unnecessary.  If the WebLogic Server used for Forms and Reports fulfills the WebLogic Server Basic restrictions, then the Oracle Forms and Reports license may fully cover the usage. The price of this approach is half the cost of a WebLogic Suite license. 

Another example of how you can optimize your licensing spend is to see if the Internet Application Server Enterprise Edition and WebLogic Server Standard Edition are installed on the same machine. If so, it may be more expensive to allocate WebLogic Suite licenses. Even though a WebLogic Suite Processor license has a list price which is equal to the sum between the Internet Application Server Enterprise Edition Processor license and the WebLogic Server Standard Edition Processor license, the WebLogic Server Standard Edition Processors are counted based on occupied Processor Sockets. This is usually less than the number of Processor licenses calculated based on the number of cores multiplied with the factor.

If this is all sounding a little laborious and complicated, consider outsourcing the detail work to us. Our Anglepoint Consultants, with the help of the Anglepoint Elevate web platform, can verify all restrictions (such as the WebLogic Server Basic) and will always allocate the most cost effective licenses to fully cover the Oracle products deployed.