Running an IT infrastructure is hard enough for a CIO without having to worry about licencing. Sometimes this can be handled by a designated asset manager, but it eventually comes back to the head person’s desk.

So there can be concerns when a vendor introduces a new feature for existing product around how it will be priced. The latest dust-up is around Oracle’s new in-memory database option for 12C and whether the vendor has made it too easy to be inadvertantly — or not — turned on, thus incurring a significant cost.

This was first brought to the world’s attention by Kevin Closson, a senior director in EMC’s performance engineering group, in a personal blog last week. He noticed that after creating some database scripts the in-memory option was automatically enabled. The column was picked up by The Register and Computerworld U.S.

There are a number of separately licenced features for Oracle Database, Closson writes, such as Real Application Clustering and Partitioning and are on byy default. But, he says, RAC can be easily disabled, while he believes most enterprises use partitioning.

But given what he calls the “crushing” cost of the in-memory option, he feels users should be warned.

“It really should have a default initialization setting that renders the option/feature more dormant–but the reality is quite the opposite,” Closson writes. “There is yet no way I know of to prevent accidental use of the In-Memory Column Store feature/option.”

His posts have generated a few very detailed responses on his site which make interesting reading.

Computerworld said an Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) spokesperson didn’t respond to a request Friday for comment.

This is something that Oracle needs to clarify. I’d also like to hear from you in the Comments section below.