Oracle’s New Data Recovery Requirements

Tuesday, 6 October, 2020

Dr. Michael J. Corey

On July 28, 2020, Oracle issued new guidance on licensing data recovery environments. It is important to take the time and review these policy statements from Oracle. It is possible for Oracle, through a policy, to extend to your organization additional rights with your Oracle software that is not in the contract. A key point here is that it’s not a contractual right. Which means Oracle can easily just take it away.

The Oracle Cloud Hyper-Threading Tax

A great example of this is “Licensing Oracle Software in a Cloud Computing Environment, issued January 23, 2018. Larry Ellison made public statements to the effect they would make Oracle Cloud Cheaper than other cloud environments. Then this policy was issued.

In the fine print of this Oracle policy statement, in Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and RDS, you must count two vCPU’s to one Oracle Processor License if Hyper-threading is enabled. Overnight, Oracle doubled the cost of running Oracle workloads in the other major public clouds, fulfilling Larry Ellison’s statement that they would make Oracle Cloud cheaper.

Since this was a policy and not a contractual right, you have very little recourse. When using rights given to you through a published Oracle policy statement and essential to your business, it’s essential to plan what you will do if the right extended via policy is suddenly taken away. At LicenseFortress, we have worked with clients on strategies to deal with this issue as part of the service.

In the fine print of Licensing Oracle Software in a Cloud Computing Environment document, Oracle makes it clear the policies in the document are subject to change without notice. If you are running your business using a particular Oracle policy, understand it’s not a contractual right.

Licensing Data Recovery Environments

On July 28, 2020, Oracle issued a new policy with guidance on Licensing Data Recovery Environments. You can get a copy of the policy at

The first observation I made was when I looked at the bottom of the page. The document is for educational purposes and may not be incorporated into the contract.

This document does extend to you a right you did not have in the past. To quote the document, “is eligible for the 10-day rule, which includes the right to run the licensed program(s) on an unlicensed spare computer in a failover environment for up to a total of ten separate 24-hour periods in any given calendar year (for example, if a failover node is down for two hours on Tuesday and three hours on Friday, it counts as two 24-hour periods).

In the past, if you had a failover that happened at 11:00 PM, then went into the next day, that would have counted as two days under the previous 10-day rule. With this new policy, you would only count that as one 24-hour period out of the 10.

This is now extending you the privilege that you did have in the past. That is a positive aspect of this new policy. To be clear, Oracle policies are subject to change without notice.

This document also references the Oracle Partitioning policy.

Oracle Partitioning Policy

The Oracle Partitioning Policy was issued on October 7, 2019, and is an excellent example of policies being used to take away contractual rights. In your Oracle contract, there is no mention of VMware or virtualization. It is entirely up to you, the customer, to control where your workloads are installed and/or running. However, with the Partitioning Policy, Oracle has listed VMware as a type of “soft partitioning,” and therefore, it may not be used to limit licenses required for a given server or cluster.

Now, if you rely on the 10-day rule from the Data Recovery policy, it may be very difficult to claim that you are not subject to the Partitioning policy. So, customers running Oracle and exercising their contractual rights in excess of policy guidelines should take care of.

Also, beware that portions of the data recovery policy are incorporated into the Oracle contract. As yet, we have not seen the 10-day rule contractually change but be on guard.

Oracle Enforces Policy Like it’s a Contract

During an Oracle License Management Services (LMS) audit, Oracle enforces policies like it’s part of your Oracle contract. Don’t take my word for it; if you’re a Gartner client, look at their research. 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.

If followed, many of these policies would cause you to spend substantially more in Oracle licensing than you are required to, according to the contract.

Check Your Oracle Contract

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

It is essential to read these policies. Since you may gain additional rights to use your software, those rights could work to your advantage. In this newest policy, Licensing Data Recovery Environments, how a 24-hour period is calculated works to your advantage; many aspects of policies don’t.

As long as you understand, Oracle has the right also to take it away a policy or modify a right it granted as they did with the hyper-threading tax.