Oracle Database – Wearing a heavy crown without knowing

Customers are king, but they may wear a heavy crown, that means carry the burden of legal responsibilities, without even knowing. Take Oracle’s licensing model which is very flexible and non-restrictive. It is based on the company’s philosophy that Oracle software should be readily available for everyone, at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Anyone who wants to use any Oracle software program can visit the website and download whatever they are interested in. The full responsibility to obtain the appropriate software licenses is the end user’s. You need to contact Oracle or one of its resellers to obtain the appropriate licenses before installing and using the software. On top of that, the end user in almost all cases will download more (related) functionalities/features than the software he or she intends to install and/or use. For example,  in case the end user wants to download Oracle Database Enterprise Edition 12c Release 1, 16 database options and 7 database management packs will land on the computer as well. All these database options and database management packs require separate licensing in case they are going to be used.

No restrictions, no keys!              
The software itself does not contain any license key that needs to be entered for the download process or installation to start. In addition, there is no counter or technical restriction in the software that prevents you from ending up with more users than you are actually entitled to. In case a specific piece of Oracle software does require a license key – which for example applies to some of the software programs acquired by Oracle during one of its many acquisitions (e.g. Siebel CRM) – the license keys to install and/or use the software can be downloaded without any restrictions through the Oracle License Codes website.

Complexity follows convenience            
Although undoubtedly such ease of use is very convenient for the end user, it also results in more complexity and difficulty while keeping track of software programs, users, and rights, which you are definitely required to do. In many organizations, multiple (internal and external) people in different roles and with different levels of expertise download and install Oracle Database software programs, without being aware of what they were doing and using in what capacity. This typically results in large non-compliance issues and financial exposure.

So, dear Oracle customer, wear your crown with grace and be aware of the consequences! All common Oracle Database license compliance issues we experienced at clients over the last years -are presented in our new white paper.