Oracle ULAs in Amazon and Microsoft cloud environments

Of course the name Oracle Unlimited License Agreements (ULAs) does not mean there are no restrictions. In that case a license contract would not have been necessary in the first place. Among all the topics that I addressed in my June 11 Oracle ULAs webinar the cloud computing theme was the favorite subject for some interesting questions afterwards. Because of their importance to many organizations, I felt that I’d better share them with the world right away, on the day after.

As I pointed out in my ULA Online Expert Session, Oracle today is approving three cloud computing environments from Amazon and Microsoft. These are the Amazon Web Services based Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3), and Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform. Licensing Oracle programs in any of these requires end users to count each virtual processor core as equivalent to a physical one. Also licenses acquired under a ULA may be used in these cloud environments, but organizations are not allowed to include them in the certification at the end of their ULA term.

When licensing “Standard Edition One” or “Standard Edition” programs, Oracle determined the pricing to be based on the size metric. Instances in the aforementioned approved cloud environments with 4 or fewer virtual cores are counted as 1 socket, which is equivalent to a processor license. In case of more than 4 virtual cores, every 4 used (rounded up to the closest multiple of 4) equate to 1 socket.

Oracle Database Standard Edition may only be licensed on the approved Amazon and Microsoft cloud environments up to 16 virtual cores, and Oracle Standard Edition One up to 8. For Oracle Linux purposes, each Authorized Cloud Environment (ACE) instance – ACE is the official Oracle name of EC2, S3, and Azure – is counted as a “System”. “Basic Limited” and “Premier Limited” support is not available for the approved cloud instances bigger in size than 8 virtual cores.

In addition to all this, Amazon has implemented Oracle VM EC2 instances in accordance with the practices defined in the Oracle policy document Hard Partitioning with Oracle VM. It means that a virtual processor in an EC2 instance is assigned to a specific physical core on the backend server. In this case each virtual processor is equivalent to a physical core, and the standard Oracle Processor metric definition applies.

This article was published on 12-06-2015