New Oracle DR Licensing Policy

oracle dr environment

As per the terms and conditions of any license agreement, Oracle requires its on-premise software to be licensed once the software is “installed and/or running”. In other words, if the software is installed, regardless of whether the software is actually used/running, Oracle requires the software to be licensed. This “basis” licensing rule as applied by Oracle is often misunderstood by end-users installing the software for disaster/data recovery purposes. During multiple audits as executed on behalf of Oracle or internal audits as performed for our customers, it has become quite often clear that this concept of DR-licensing has been misunderstood, causing big financial issues. On July 28th, 2020, Oracle released a new “Licensing Data Recovery Environment” policy document, to further clarify its position.

Oracle classifies the different DR scenarios for many years into different categories, including:

  • Failover
  • Standby & Remote Mirroring
  • Testing of Back-Ups

This article has the objective to provide you an overview of the changes made by Oracle in its ” Licensing Data Recovery Environments” policy which can be found here:

Changes in Oracle’s Licensing

The below provides an overview of what the current policy document states and what changed. The bold text shows what is “new”,strike-through shows what has been removed.

The failover data recovery method is an example of a clustered deployment, where multiple nodes/servers have access to one Single Storage/SAN. In such cases your license for the programs listed on the US Oracle Technology Price List which may be accessed at ( is eligible for the 10-day rule, which includes the right to run the licensed program(s) on an unlicensed spare computer in a failover environment for up to a total of ten separate days 24-hour periods in any given calendar year (for example, if a failover node is down for two hours on Tuesday and three hours on Friday, it counts as two days 24-hour periods). The above right only applies when a number of machines physical or logical machines as defined in Oracle’s Partitioning Policy (detailed in are arranged in a cluster and share one disk array one logical disk array located in a single data center. When the primary node fails, the failover node acts as the primary node. Once the primary node is repaired, you must either switch back to the primary node or designate that repaired server as the failover node. Once the failover period has exceeded ten days 24-hour periods, the failover node must be licensed. In addition, only one failover node per clustered environment is at no charge for up to ten seperate days even if multiple nodes are configured as failover. Downtime for maintenance purposes counts towards the ten separate days 24-hour periods limitation. When licensing options on a failover environment, the options must match the number of licenses of the associated database. Additionally, when licensing by Named User Plus, the user minimums are waived on one failover node only. Any use beyond the right granted in this section must be licensed separately. In a failover environment, the same license metric must be used for the production and failover nodes when licensing a given clustered configuration

Data Recovery Environments using Copying, Synchronizing or Mirroring

Standby and Remote Mirroring are commonly used terms to describe these methods of deploying Data Recovery environments. In these Data Recovery deployments, the data, and optionally the Oracle binaries, are copied to another storage device. In these Data Recovery deployments all Oracle programs that are installed and/or running must be licensed per standard policies documented in the Oracle Licensing and Services Agreement (OLSA) Agreement. This includes installing Oracle programs on the DR server(s) to test the DR scenario. Licensing metrics and program options on Production and Data Recovery/Secondary servers must match. Data Recovery servers must match with two exceptions:

1) Real Application Clusters (RAC) – Oracle RAC does not need to be licensed on the Data Recovery server unless used on the Data Recovery server;

2) For Production servers licensed using one of the Oracle Data Management Cloud Services listed in this document ( only program options in use on the Production server must be licensed on the Data Recovery server.”


For the purpose of testing physical copies of backups, your license for the Oracle Database (Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition or Standard Edition One) includes the right to run the database on an unlicensed computer for up to four times, not exceeding 2 days per testing, in any given calendar year. The aforementioned right does not cover any other data recovery method – such as remote mirroring – where the Oracle program binary files are copied or synchronized.

What does this mean in practice for me?

In my next article which will be published next week I will further explain what these changes actually mean in practice for you as an end-user. Should you already have any urgent questions before hand, don’t hesitate to reach out at

This article was published on 18-08-2020