U-LA-La: 3 More Unlimited Licensing Agreement Myths

Monday, 10 August, 2020

So much of what we consider to be “general knowledge” is incorrect. A brief sampling:

  • The Great Wall of China is not, contrary to popular belief, easily visible from space
  • Lemmings do commit mass suicide when their population grows too high
  • The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosie is not, in fact, about the plague
  • Despite what Oracle might tell you, Oracle ULAs aren’t always a great idea.

Our last blog was about three of the most common myths surrounding Oracle Unlimited Licensing Agreements or ULAs – specifically, that ULAs allow organizations greater flexibility, that a ULA offers protection from products the organization uses being sunsetted, and that Oracle ULAs are all the same. Now, we would like to share three more common misconceptions many Oracle administrators and users might have about ULAs.

Myth: The ULA will be complete and won’t need any edits
Reality: ULAs are frequently missing information and need to be reviewed closely

Imagine that during negotiations, you mention a specific point you want to be written into the ULA – an exception to the technical support cap, for example – and your Oracle salesperson agrees. Cool, right? The following Monday, Oracle sends the paperwork over, you sign it, and everyone goes on with their lives. Then, three years later, when certifying out, your Oracle rep tells you that you exceeded your support cap multiple times and you’re going to be charged exorbitant fees.

You go over your agreement and notice that the exception to the support cap wasn’t listed anywhere, and your original salesperson is no longer at Oracle.

I don’t need to tell you that this scenario isn’t at all far-fetched, which is why it’s important to go over your ULA with a fine-tooth comb. While you should take a look yourself, it’s optimal to partner with an organization that has a robust legal department and can work with you to ensure you’re getting the contract you think you are (I know a good one). Additionally, it’s important to save everything from negotiations – whitepapers, brochures, notes you took during meetings – to show the information used during negotiations. If your Oracle sales rep handed you an old whitepaper detailing a plan Oracle declared dead the day before you scheduled his visit to your office, it’d be helpful if you have that on hand.

Myth: ULA non-renewal won’t trigger an audit
Reality: CYA on the way out

LicenseFortress finds that one of the most common triggers of an audit is ULA non-renewal. In other words, if you don’t want to continue giving Oracle the money you’ve been paying them, they want to try to find a way to force it out of you. ULA administrators that work at organizations that choose not to renew say that they are often audited within a few months of certifying out. Licenses are counted differently inside a ULA and outside a ULA, so don’t expect the thumbs up you got when certifying out to protect you.

Myth: A ULA solves everything
Reality: No, it really doesn’t

For some organizations (stable ones that don’t intend to move, make acquisitions/be acquired, or downsize in the near future), signing a ULA can help keep the bottom line low. But if your company’s relationship with Oracle was already strained or you felt the technology was difficult to manage, it’s unlikely a ULA will be a panacea. These are wise words to keep in mind as you evaluate how your organization plans to move forward.

Like the incorrect general knowledge we highlighted at the beginning of this blog, it’s easy to accept incorrect popular opinion as fact, but that doesn’t make it right or, in the case of an Oracle ULA, mean it’s going to solve the problem you hope it will. This is why it’s important to ask the right questions, review the ULA with a team that specializes in Oracle license review, and question everything you think is true before you sign that contract.