Oracle LMS is Still Making it Up
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This February, LicenseFortress sent a few people to the RMOUG Training Days conference. RMOUG Training Days (https://rmoug.org/training/) is an outstanding event loaded with top-tier Oracle experts and technical content. It’s well worth attending.

At this conference, a director at Oracle License Management Services (LMS), who had been with the company for over twenty years, gave a presentation. The session was titled Oracle Licensing 101.

Before I make a case for why Oracle LMS is still making it up the licensing rules, in the LMS director’s defense, he is most likely just stating the facts as he was taught them and may not even know better.

The session description stated, “Oracle Licensing 101 is a session for every customer that wants to understand the basics of Oracle licensing.” However, in practice, the session was a great example of why you shouldn’t go to the vendor to understand how to license its software properly. In Oracle’s case, you’ll end up overcharged.

When trying to understand your obligation regarding the proper way to license Oracle software, the most crucial document is the contract. The contract is what will be used by the judge if the license compliance dispute ever goes to court.

In the Oracle contract, “Processor: shall be defined as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running.” This clause is critical as it is the guiding principle to understanding how to license Oracle software in your environment properly.

Here is a link to an Oracle slide deck used in the Oracle LMS presentation dated January 2020: https://www.oracle.com/a/ocom/docs/corporate/oracle-software-licensing-basics.pdf

According to the safe harbor notice in the presentation deck of Oracle Licensing 101, I am not allowed to reproduce the presentation in any manner. I found this fact quite disturbing. The point of this presentation was to teach the correct way to license Oracle software, but the company does not allow it to be reproduced. Let that fact sink in.

Please go to slide 12 of the Oracle LMS presentation. This is the slide on Oracle Technology Software Licensing Data Recovery Environments. The slide almost copies the Oracle contract. It covers “Licensing Oracle Programs that are installed and/or running in Data Recovery,” giving the impression that it is contractual.

A sub-bullet states that the information is “not applicable in a virtualized environment.” This statement shows that Oracle LMS is making up the licensing rules as they go.

The point isn’t even in the published Data Recovery Policy document (https://www.oracle.com/assets/data-recovery-licensing-070587.pdf). This document can also not be reproduced without permission.

In fact, the published Data Recovery Policy document states, in the fine print, that it may not be incorporated into any contract or constitute a contract or a commitment.

“This document is for educational purposes only and provides guidelines regarding Oracle’s Data Recovery policies in effect as of March. 20th, 2014. It may not be incorporated into any contract and does not constitute a contract or a commitment to any specific terms.

Let’s be clear. Nowhere in your Oracle contract is virtualization even mentioned. Nowhere in the Oracle contract does it tell you how to control where the Oracle software is installed and/or running.

This presentation is an excellent example of how Oracle LMS is trying to act like Oracle policy is a contractual obligation. Again, Oracle policy is not a contractual obligation.

According to a Gartner research report, “Our Experience suggests that Oracle is interpreting the policy as if it were a Contractual obligation from a Pricing and compliance perspective.” The report, “How to Minimize BYOL Risks and Costs When Moving Oracle On-Premise Perpetual Software to Public Cloud,” was published on February 8, 2019.

This policy of “not applicable in a virtualized environment” shows that Oracle LMS is making it up as they go. The result is that Oracle customers are being overcharged. Customers who follow Oracle LMS guidance are paying more for their Oracle software than they are obligated to under the contract.

At LicenseFortress, we’re big fans of Oracle software. We feel that when utilized properly, it can bring real value to your organization. We make sure that our customers realize the full benefits of the software and never overpay, and with our financial guarantee, eliminate the risk of an Oracle LMS audit.

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