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Oracle Insight: Preparing yourself for a ULA offering by Oracle

How to make the best decision for your organization.

Oracle offers enterprise-sized companies the option to purchase a ULA (unlimited license agreement), which gives the company unlimited licenses usually for between 2 and 5 years.

Shortly before the unlimited period expires, the company must count its actual used processors. If the ULA is uncapped, they will receive the number of licenses required at no additional charge (for licenses or annual support fees).

Is buying an Oracle ULA a smart decision?

The ULA concept is an appealing prospect. As always though, it comes down to cost.

The price that Oracle quotes is mainly based on assumptions, such as the size of your current Oracle environment for each product and the expected growth percentages. Even though ULA agreements offer significant contractual and budgetary advantages, many organizations find it difficult to determine if the financial offer represents a fair value.

It is only once you quantify the financial impact of other licensing strategies (such as an alternative licensing model), interpret information about the actual deployment of Oracle products and assess what other database installations can be migrated to Oracle, that you can determine if ULA is financially viable.

So companies really need to prepare for such a negotiation. The most important activity is to assess an alternative license strategy and its associated costs.

One alternative is a Transparent Licensing Model.

Transparent Licensing Model

This allocation system is based on the following principles:

  • Development servers can be licensed with iDS if they are only used with Oracle iDS tooling and no third-party tooling. One license is required for each developer
  • Test and staging servers are to be licensed per Oracle’s minimum requirements. For example, the minimum requirement for Oracle Database Enterprise Edition is 25 named users plus per processor
  • Production servers are to be licensed per processor license. Applying a transparent license allocation system will result in a simplified Oracle license management process.

Following this model, even a global implementation is easy to maintain, while maintaining a license pool for all subsidiaries on a central level. If any purchases are deemed necessary, they can be accumulated and purchased from a centralized location.

This simplifies the license compliance management, cost management and purchasing process and will keep your existing investments in Oracle software licenses intact. The Transparent Licensing Model also reduces questions about external use and non-human operated devices, as production servers are licensed for an unlimited number of users or devices.

If your organization is preparing for a ULA negotiation, doing this exercise and considering existing investments into Oracle licenses will help you to evaluate the true value of an ULA offering.

In our experience, many organizations find that the ULA offering is not financially viable, and a better option is to license themselves in accordance with the Transparent Licensing Model we described above: Organizations will find it much easier to renegotiate the annual support costs, which can be very difficult for (certified) ULA agreements. An added benefit is the status quo to maintain this model, having already made an initial inventory. From that point, you can easily and frequently assess your own situation.

To work out whether a ULA is the right decision for your organization, speak to our Oracle expert, to find out how ITAA can help.

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