Oracle Licensing 101: Oracle LMS is Still Making it Up

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020

LicenseFortress attended the RMOUG Training Days conference in February, an event known for featuring top-tier Oracle experts and high-quality technical content. During this conference, a director from Oracle License Management Services (LMS)presented a session titled Oracle Licensing 101.

Oracle Licensing 101 Session

The session aimed to help customers understand the basics of Oracle licensing. However, it underscored the reality that relying on the vendor to understand proper software licensing, especially with Oracle, can lead to overcharges.

To truly comprehend your obligations regarding Oracle software licensing, it’s crucial to look at the contract. This document becomes pivotal in the event of a license compliance dispute reaching court. The Oracle contract, for instance, defines a “Processor” as all processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running. This is a critical clause in licensing Oracle software properly.

Discrepancies and Confusions in Oracle Licensing

The Oracle Licensing 101 presentation included a safe harbor notice. The notice explicitly prohibits the reproduction of the presentation in any manner. This limitation seems counterproductive to the session’s stated goal of educating customers on correct licensing procedures.

One particular area of confusion arises around Oracle Technology Software Licensing in Data Recovery Environments. As noted in slide 12 of the Oracle LMS presentation, the information is “not applicable in a virtualized environment.” This implies Oracle LMS is formulating the licensing rules arbitrarily. Meanwhile, the published Data Recovery Policy document doesn’t even address this point and doesn’t allow reproduction without permission.

Importantly, your Oracle contract does not mention virtualization at all. This leaves a gap in guidance about controlling where the Oracle software is installed and/or running.

Oracle LMS and Contractual Obligations

The Oracle LMS often presents Oracle policy as if it’s a contractual obligation. This misrepresentation is evident in a 2019 Gartner research report titled “How to Minimize BYOL Risks and Costs When Moving Oracle On-Premise Perpetual Software to Public Cloud.” The report states, “Our Experience suggests that Oracle is interpreting the policy as if it were a contractual obligation from a pricing and compliance perspective.”

This approach frequently results in Oracle LMS making on-the-spot decisions and overcharging customers. Following Oracle LMS guidance may cause customers to pay more for their Oracle software than their contracts require.

LicenseFortress’s Role

At LicenseFortress, we’re staunch supporters of Oracle software and firmly believe in its potential to deliver significant value to organizations. We aim to help our customers realize the full benefits of the software without overpaying. Our financial guarantee ensures protection for customers from the risk of an Oracle LMS audit.