Oracle ULAs - Miscounting Processors May Cost You Dearly!

09 apr '15 - Richard Spithoven

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.

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Oracle Database and Hardware Infrastructure

The required number of licenses for Oracle’s Database programs are (almost) at all times related to the hardware infrastructure on which the software is installed. Incorrect interpretation or understanding of whether the software is deemed to be installed and how the installed software should be licensed in a certain specific hardware infrastructure is by far the number 1 license compliance issue. 

Oracle Database and Hardware Infrastructure