3 Common Myths about Oracle ULAs You Probably Believe

Monday, 27 July, 2020

And the truth

There are few things worse than thinking you understand something – a complex, multi-faceted historical event that’s easy to oversimplify, a movie with a nuanced ending, or your relationship with someone – only to discover you never got it. But these feelings of betrayal and confusion are even harder to grapple with when the misconception ends up costing you or your company money – especially if it’s an exceptionally large amount.

No one is arguing that Oracle unlimited licensing agreements don’t have their place, but there are many scenarios where the pay-as-you-go route is a better business decision. Here are some myths about these agreements that, when dispelled, can help you make the right choice for your organization.

Myth: If you have a ULA, you can do anything you want and it’s FREE!
Reality: Oracle expects you to log use very carefully – or else

This is probably the most common ULA myth. First, the ULA will only cover the products listed under the ULA, not all Oracle products. Second, as we’ve examined in this blog previously, IT departments need to carefully track use and hold themselves accountable for all permissions granted to employees. As this rarely happens, Oracle makes lots of money from organizations incorrectly accounting – or not being able to account at all for – permissions or seats granted. Should you fail to account for this properly, you can expect to be billed the normal rate plus 30% annually per improperly tracked seat for your troubles. So – if you’re going to go ULA, make sure you have a system in place to track which permissions you grant employees and when you revoke those permissions.

Myth: Getting a ULA will protect me from Oracle sunsetting the products I use
Reality: Sadly, no – and it won’t necessarily entitle you to a replacement, either

As frustrating as it is when a favorite tool reaches the end of its life, Oracle maintains the right to sunset products under your ULA. Oracle can also take existing products and merge them with other products to create a hybrid product. While this sounds benign, your ULA might not grant access to this new product, since it’s not specifically listed in the ULA.

One way to protect your investment is to have it written into your ULA that should a product covered under it be sunsetted, you must be granted access to a new product has similar functionality, assuming one exists. This is an option that is typically can be written into an Oracle ULA – but your sales rep definitely won’t tell you about.

Myth: All ULAs are the same
Reality: The details of a ULA can vary quite a bit

It’s said the Devil is in the details, and that’s absolutely true when it comes to ULAs. An IT veteran might be able to remember the days when Oracle ULAs weren’t customizable (up until about 15 years ago), but the products have become more flexible over the years, in addition to innovative agreements such as the Perpetual License Agreement (PUA) and the ULA-to-Platform-as-a-Service that enables PaaS adoption.

The downside of this flexibility, however, is that there are fewer rules Oracle needs to follow, and you need to check what you’re getting. Don’t depend on the ULA looking like the last one, like the one you had at a previous company you worked with, or even like what you and your sales rep discussed.

These are just three of the most common myths pertaining to ULAs. Week after next, the LicenseFortress blog will examine three more common myths and harsh truths about Oracle ULAs. Stay tuned!