Oracle ULAs – Miscounting processors may cost you dearly
Oracle ULAs are limited to a specific period of time, usually 2, 3, or 4 years. The terms typically state that you need to certify the number of processors on which the software programs as included in the ULA are deployed, within 30 days after the contractual expiration date. A C-level executive of your organization needs to sign this off to ensure accurate certification. Incorrect certification by a C-level representative is considered fraud, under international law and IP laws in most countries.
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Miscounting environments can lead to huge financial exposure and other noncompliance consequences. Missing only 1 server with a total of 4 processors on which only the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition is deployed would already result in a financial exposure of 160,000 USD. Hiring a software license management company to help you perform a proper hardware and software inventory is a sound investment compared to the financial risks you may face if you forget to include certain environments, let alone complete data centres.
A processor is explicitly defined in your Oracle ULA, with many factors that impact the way you have to count the number of processors on which the software is deployed, including:
Number of CPUs
Number of Cores per CPU
Type of CPU
Purchase date of the hardware
Configuration of the hardware itself (e.g. virtualization, logical partitioning)
Not applying the right methodology, licensing rules and calculations on the number of Processors can lead to an incorrect ULA certification and can result in large compliance issues.
For example, in the case of 50 servers with one single-core Intel processor each running Oracle’s Database Enterprise Edition, for which you apply an Oracle Processor Core Factor of 0.5 for the Intel processors, you would certify: 50 servers x 1 processor x 1 core x 0.5 = 25 Processors. However, because the servers use single-core processors, you would need to apply an Oracle Processor Core factor of 1.0 (instead of 0.5 which is only applicable for multi-core processors). Therefore, you would need to certify: 50 servers x 1 core x 1.0 = 50 Processors. Wrongly applying this single Core Factor would result (after the ULA is certified) in noncompliance of 25 Oracle Database Enterprise Edition processor licenses, leading to a list license fee exposure of 1,000,000 USD.
This article was published on 09-04-2015
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.