Spatial and Graph: now free with all Oracle Database Editions

On December 5th, 2019, Oracle announced that the Oracle Spatial and Graph functionalities will be as of that date included in all the Oracle Database Editions, for both on premise and cloud offerings, at no extra costs. To be more specific, the right to make use of Oracle Spatial & Graph is as of 5th of December 2019, for Database version 11.2 and higher, included in all the different Oracle Database on premise licenses (Oracle Database Personal Edition, Oracle Database Standard Edition (2), Oracle Database Enterprise Edition) and Oracle Database Cloud Services (Oracle Database Standard Edition Cloud Service, Oracle Database Cloud Service Enterprise Edition, Oracle Database Cloud Service Enterprise Edition – High Performance, Oracle Database Cloud Service Enterprise Edition – Extreme Performance). More information on this topic can be found as well in Oracle’s Database Licensing Information User Manual. But what is Oracle Spatial and what does this licensing change mean for you as an end user?

About Oracle Spatial & Graph

Oracle Spatial was introduced as a content management feature in Oracle Database 7 as part of the Oracle Spatial Option. It allows users and application developers to integrate their spatial (latitude and longitude) data into enterprise applications. Oracle Spatial facilitates analysis based on the relationships of associated spatial data, like the proximity of store locations to customers within a given distance and sales revenue per territory.

Spatial features available for development and deployment with Oracle Database includes today:

  • 2D and 3D geometry data types to represent locations, regions, and other geometries
  • All spatial functions and operators
  • Map authoring tools
  • Sensor and imagery data support with Point Cloud, LiDAR and GeoRaster data types and operators
  • Networks and parcel data management with Linear Referencing, Network and Topology data models
  • Geocoder, Routing Server, Tracking Server, Map Server
  • Open Geospatial Consortium web service APIs
  • Spatial Studio, a self-service, no-code/low-code map canvas and spatial analysis tools

Oracle Spatial and Graph includes a restricted use license for Oracle Partitioning. This restricted use is allowed for the sole purpose of support for the following Spatial, Property Graph, and RDF Graph Technologies (RDF/OWL) features: spatial topology, property graph schema, and RDF Semantic Graph. All other uses of Oracle Partitioning require license for the Oracle Partitioning option, where available.

Licensing & name changes over the years

Around 1984, Oracle firstly incorporated spatial-data capability with a modification to Oracle 4. Oracle’s Spatial technology was introduced in Oracle 7.2 under the name “Oracle MultiDimension (MD)”. Later, the name was changed to “Oracle Spatial Data Option (or SDO)” and to “Spatial Data Cartridge” in Oracle 8.  Together with scientists working at the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), a joint development team redesigned the Oracle kernel, resulting in the “Spatial Data Option” or “SDO” in Oracle 7. The “SDO_” prefix created then can still be found in Oracle Spatial implementations. With Oracle 8i, Oracle named the Oracle Spatial Data Option simply as  “Oracle Spatial”.  In Oracle Database 10g Release 1 the Network Data Model graph feature was introduced with and RDF Semantic Graph with Oracle Database 10g Release 2. As of Oracle Database version 11g, the licensable product was no longer called Oracle Spatial Option, but was renamed to “Oracle Spatial and Graph Option”,  to highlight the graph database capabilities in the product.

Licensing & pricing

Oracle sold its Oracle Spatial or Oracle Spatial & Graph licenses both on a Named User Plus and on a Processor based licensing model. As for any Oracle Database Enterprise Edition Option, Spatial is/was required to be licensed separately as per the associated Oracle Database Enterprise Edition itself. In other words, if the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition was licensed by a Processor metric, then the use of Spatial & Graph on such associated database, is/was required to be licensed on a Processor metric as well. If the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition was licensed by a Named User Plus metric, then the use of Spatial & Graph on such associated database is/was required to be licensed by Named User Plus licenses as well, taking into account the standard minimum of 25 Named User Plus licenses per Processor.

Note: If/when you would have surplus Processor licenses for Spatial, while the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition is licensed by Named User Plus licenses, then you are allowed to allocate such Processor license for Spatial to an Oracle Database Enterprise Edition licensed by Named User Plus. This, since you are in essence “overlicensing” your use of Spatial in such scenario.

The below table provides an overview of the list license and list support fees as historically applied by Oracle:

Oracle Program List License – per

Named User Plus

List Support –  per Named User Plus License License – per Processor List Support – Per Processor
Spatial and Graph 350 USD 77.00 USD 17,500 USD 3,850.00 USD

As of December 5th, 2019, Oracle no longer sells licenses for Spatial & Graph. In addition, it has retroactively granted the right to make use of Oracle Spatial to all end users using the Oracle Database version 11.2 or higher.

 

What does this mean for you?

Due to the changes announced by Oracle, a number of situations can be applicable:

  • You are licensed for Oracle Spatial & Graph and are making use of Spatial & Graph on an Oracle Database Enterprise Edition < 11.2. In this scenario, you continue to be required to license Spatial & Graph and pay associated support maintenance fees separately, on top of the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition licenses and support maintenance fees. You are recommended to upgrade to a higher version to achieve cost savings for the future; not only from a licensing perspective, but also from an Extended Support perspective.
  • You are licensed for Oracle Spatial & Graph and are making use of Spatial & Graph on the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition version 11.2 or higher. In this scenario, you are no longer required to be separately licensed for Spatial & Graph, since your use right is already included in your (supported) Oracle Database license. In this scenario, you are advised to work with software licensing expert firms to determine what options you have to reduce your annual support maintenance fees. Although Oracle Support will confront you with its “repricing” policy, this license change provides you the opportunity to avoid your support indexation of 3 – 4 % YoY.
  • You are licensed for Oracle Spatial & Graph through separate orders, but you are planning to enter into an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) for the Oracle Database. In this scenario, Oracle will convert and replace your existing Oracle Spatial & Graph licenses and add the associated support maintenance fee as paid for your Oracle Spatial & Graph licenses to the new “Total Support Stream” of your ULA. In this scenario, you are advised to work with software licensing expert firms to determine what options you have to reduce your annual support maintenance fees.
  • You are licensed for Oracle Spatial & Graph and you continue to use Oracle Spatial & Graph on the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition < 11.2. You do require additional Spatial & Graph licenses, but Oracle is no longer selling them. In this scenario, you are actually forced to migrate your database deployments to a higher database version.

Conclusion

All end users licensed to make use of the Oracle Database programs (either on premise or in the database cloud service) are now entitled to make use of the Spatial & Graph features without being required to license these features separately. The right to make use of Spatial & Graph without needing to license such use separately is retro-actively applied. This means that for all database editions as of version 11.2 and higher, no separate licenses and/or support maintenance is further required for Spatial & Graph. This changes provides opportunities for you as an end user to reduce your annual support maintenance fees for your existing licenses. Would you like to understand how you can also take advantage of the change? Reach out to us and we’ll help you determine what costs you can save.

This article was published on 09-01-2020