by: Jeff Jones
I recently completed a few engagements with Oracle Unlimited License Agreements (ULA) customers. While performing these implementations, I noticed that while these customers were originally interested in working with Flexera Software to help them determine the physical usage count (of CPU’s or users) for their ULA products, in an effort to maximize the value of their ULA (which they all did), they also found considerably more value in implementing an ongoing license management program than they had originally planned.
For those of you familiar with Oracle ULA’s, you know they typically take the form of a time-based (2-3 year), unlimited use right license for a subset of Oracle technology or applications. At the end of the term, these customers then “certify” (provide a count) software usage to Oracle, and are granted that number of licenses for the products covered by the ULA. Since the ongoing maintenance for these products is tied to the upfront ULA license cost, it behooves the customer to implement as much of the Oracle covered technology as possible during the term of the software license agreement; which results in a lower per-unit cost of maintenance for every CPU or user covered.
Many customers enter into ULA’s because they simply make counting software usage less important in the short term. But customers still need to count the licenses at the end of the term to “certify”. Moreover, even if they enter into another ULA at the end of the original term (and thus don’t have to “certify”) they still like to perform a physical count so they can measure the derived value of the original ULA. And equally important, it is necessary to count the usage of products outside the scope of the original ULA to determine if there is any software compliance risk or if they would like to add additional products to a future agreement with Oracle.
During this process of entering and managing a ULA (or most other Oracle software license agreements, for that matter), it becomes very important to be able to manage and track, in a central and accurate way, the entire Oracle estate. The process that most Oracle customers undertake to count and report Oracle software usage is a very manual, time-consuming and, in most cases, inaccurate process. When the customers I worked with recently saw their “License Repository” get populated with all of the Oracle product usage, accurate CPU counts, and additional license information, they quickly came to the conclusion that this solution would greatly reduce the time it would take to track and update their Oracle usage the next time they needed to do it. And most customers decided that they would now perform this task more frequently because they saw the economic impact of closely monitoring their Oracle usage.
So while doing a point-in-time evaluation of your Oracle software usage is important, there is tremendous value in performing this process more regularly using an automated solution. As Oracle and other enterprise software vendors continue to evolve their software license metrics and business practices, it is becoming even more important for organizations to implement these types of software license optimization best practices.
As part of this blog, please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding Oracle licensing and license optimization.