Oracle Database – What terms and conditions should we manage?

Back in 1977, almost four decades ago, Oracle Corporation’s famous Database was the first piece of software produced and marketed by the company. The Oracle Database software has remained one of the most popular Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) used by many of the world’s larger enterprises.

Although the Oracle Database is one of the major components in the enterprise IT landscape, almost every company that uses the software struggles with managing the accompanying licenses in a complete and accurate manner. This can easily result in large operational, financial and/or legal risks.

Most of the time, end users don’t realize that a large amount of terms and conditions, as listed in many different documents, needs to be taken into account carefully for properly managing the licenses that govern the use of the Oracle Database software programs.

Involved are not only the Ordering Document – listing the amount of licenses purchased for a specific software program against a specific license metric – and the Oracle License Agreement itself – either an older Software License and Services Agreement (SLSA), an old Oracle Software License and Services Agreement (OLSA), or a current Oracle Master Agreement (OMA) – specifying the terms and conditions under which the software can be used.

Also included are Oracle’s Technical Support Policies – as referred to in the annual Support Maintenance Renewal; Oracle’s Program Documentation – as referred to in the license agreement; and many different Online Licensing Documents, e.g. Oracle’s Processor Core Factor Table and Oracle’s Application Licensing Table – as referred to in the license agreement.

In addition, many Online Guideline Licensing Documents are published by Oracle to clarify its position and/or to provide guidelines with regard to different licensing scenarios in case of virtualization (e.g. Oracle’s Server Partitioning Policy), in case of data transfer environment (e.g. Oracle’s Licensing Data Transfer Environment document), in case of disaster recovery environments (e.g. Oracle’s Licensing Data Recovery Environment document); and more…

Most organizations tend to underestimate the time, resources and knowledge needed to manage the specific license terms and conditions and remain up to date. Often, organizations don’t have a correct view of what they are actually entitled to do with the Oracle Database software, resulting in large compliance and financial issues.

Did you for example know that a database feature called “Advanced Replication” which was available in Oracle’s Database software 11gR2 is no longer available from Oracle’s Database software version 12c onward, and is only further developed in Oracle’s GoldenGate software programs? Only by carefully studying Oracle’s Program documentation you will be aware of this. The immediate next step would be to internally discuss the implications of this change with regard to future deployment of the Oracle software within your own organization.

All common Oracle Database license compliance issues we experienced at clients over the last years are presented in our white paper.

Richard is one of the managing partners at B-lay. He started to work in the license management industry in 2004 and worked for almost 10 years at Oracle as regional director of compliance. He uses his knowledge of enterprise software vendors (such as Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft) to educate, equip and enable software end users in their challenges regarding proper software license management. Richard holds a master’s degree in IT, from University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.