Oracle VirtualBox – Do I need to license it?

oracle virtualbox

VirtualBox is an open source virtualization software initially developed under a proprietary software license, by a German company called Innotek. In 2008, Innotek was acquired by Sun Microsystems which later was acquired by Oracle (in 2010). Since then, Oracle rebranded the product as Oracle VirtualBox. The software is designed for developing, testing, demonstrating and deploying solutions across multiple platforms on one machine while supporting a wide range of guest operating systems.

Representatives from Oracle have been reaching out to multiple end users claiming that a license and/or support agreement would be needed as a result of downloading Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack software. But do you actually need to license this product? And if so, under what conditions. This article provides insight on when you do and when you do not need to license the use of Oracle VirtualBox software.

Why VirtualBox

VirtualBox’s popularity mainly comes from the fact that its base edition is free of charge but based on user reviews there are other reasons as well:

  • it is simple to install, and you don’t need advanced knowledge before building virtual computers
  • adding new VMs or moving them from one host to another is also straight-forward and simple
  • you can suspend current VM machine state and even save states, so that you can login to the previous state easily
  • you can install and run as many VMs as you like – the only practical limitations are disk space and memory

The only restricted part is the Extension Pack which is only free to be used for personal, educational or evaluation use. In case your organization is making use of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack software for production or commercial purposes, then such use is required to be licensed through a commercial license.

Licensing

As long as you are not doing anything that would benefit your company, you can make use of the VirtualBox Enterprise without paying for a license. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to wording like personal use, educational use or evaluation as Oracle defines them in the Personal Use and Evaluation License agreement (PUEL). If you are using the Enterprise edition in the benefit of your business or if you need additional features, then such use is considered commercial use and you will need to purchase licenses.

Pricing

Any use of the VirtualBox software programs which cannot be licensed by the Personal Use and Evaluation License requires a commercial license for the Oracle VM VirtualBox Enterprise with the following licensing models and associated pricing:

Named User Plus:

  • List License:                                  50 USD per Named User Plus
  • List Support:                                 11 USD per Named User Plus

Minimum number of required licenses: 100 Named User Plus licenses

Socket:

  • List License:                                 1.000 USD per Socket
  • List Support:                                220 USD per Socket

 As with many software licensing matters, the devil is typically in the details. Do you have a specific licensing question you require support on? We are here to help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Since 2015, Roxana is a Software Entitlement Specialist focused on educating clients on licensing issues with Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. In her role, she works with customers to assist them in understanding and improving their software environment by reviewing their software license agreements and provide them advice regarding legal and financial risks. With a legal background, she also helps customers identify legal weaknesses in their contracts and optimize them.