Oracle offers enterprise-sized companies the option to purchase ULA agreements (‘Unlimited License Agreement’). In such an agreement, the amount of available licenses is set to ‘Unlimited’ for a limited period (2-5 years in general). However, a few months before the ‘Unlimited’ period has passed, the client will have to count the actual used Processors.In the event the ULA is uncapped, the client will receive the (then needed) amount of licenses at no additional charge (for licenses or annual support fees).
Is it smart to buy a ULA??
The ULA concept is very appealing to any client. However, it’s the price that matters. And the price that Oracle will quote, is mainly based on assumptions: The size of the current Oracle environment for each product and the expected growth percentages are key indicators used by Oracle to price it’s offering. Even though ULA agreements offer significant contractual and budgetary advantages, it is difficult for clients to determine if the financial offer represents a fair value. Only after the financial impact of other licensing strategies (such as an alternative licensing model) has been quantified, and information about the actual deployment of Oracle products has been collected and interpreted, and it has been assessed what other database installations (other than Oracle) can be migrated to Oracle, a client is able to determine if a ULA proposition made by Oracle is financially viable.
So, clients really need to prepare for such a negotiation. The most important thing is assessing an alternative license strategy, and analysing the costs of such a license strategy. Let’s call it a Transparent Licensing Model, as set forth below:
Transparent Licensing Model.
The allocation system will be based on the following principles:
- Development servers can (if they are only used with Oracle iDS tooling and no third-party tooling) be licensed with iDS: One license for each developer is required;
- Test and Staging servers are to be licensed per Oracle’s minimum requirements (For example, for Oracle Database Enterprise Edition this minimum requirement is 25 Named User Plus per Processor);
- Production Servers are to be licensed per Processor license. Applying a transparent license allocation system will result in a simplified Oracle License Management process.
Even a global implementation will be easy to maintain, while maintaining a license pool for all subsidiaries on a central level. Any purchases deemed necessary can then be accumulated and purchased from a centralized location. This will simplify the license compliance management, costs management as well as the purchasing process. Doing so will keep existing investments in Oracle software licenses intact. While applying this methodology, all license practices applied by Oracle must be considered. The Transparent Licensing Model will also eliminate any discussions about external use and non-human operated devices that may or may not be used, as Production servers are then licensed for an unlimited amount of users or devices.
Clients that prepare themselves for an ULA negotiation should ALL do this exercise, and also consider existing investments into Oracle licenses when making the equation.: If they don’t, they will never be able to evaluate the true value of an ULA offering. We expect many clients to find out that the ULA offering does not have a fair value, and it is better for them to license themselves in accordance with the Transparent Licensing Model we have set forth in this document. And, they’ll already have a Status Quo to maintain such a model, as an initial inventory has already been made. From that point onwards, they can easily self-assess their specific situation, and continue to do so on a frequent basis.