java licensing

ORACLE Java Licensing costs increase by 700%

Java licensing costs vary depending on the subscription and number of employees:

  • 1-999 employees: $15 per employee per month
  • 1,000-2,999 employees: $12 per employee per month
  • 3,000-9,999 employees: $10.50 per employee per month
  • 10,000-19,999 employees: $8.25 per employee per month
  • 20,000+ employees: Contact Oracle for pricing

Overview of Oracle Java Licensing

Oracle’s approach to Java licensing has evolved significantly, reflecting its commitment to meeting enterprise needs while accommodating a variety of operational scales and technologies.

With the introduction of the Java SE Universal Subscription, Oracle has streamlined the licensing experience, providing a singular, comprehensive licensing option that replaces previous models.

Java SE Universal Subscription Explained

Java SE Universal Subscription Explained

Oracle introduced the Java SE Universal Subscription to change how organizations license Java.

Key features include:

  • Universal Application: The subscription is valid across all platforms, including servers, desktops, and cloud environments.
  • Simplified Management: This model eases the administrative burden of tracking Java installations and updates.
  • Inclusive Support: Subscribers receive full support, including patches, updates, and Oracle Premier Support services.

Long-Term Support and Enterprise Features

The Java SE Universal Subscription incorporates long-term support (LTS) and enterprise features to bolster critical enterprise applications:

  • Regular Updates: New feature releases are available every six months, with LTS releases receiving updates for at least eight years.
  • Enterprise Security: Oracle provides robust security updates, ensuring enterprise applications remain secure against evolving threats.
  • Performance Optimization: Tools and support are available to enhance application performance and optimize resource utilization.

Cost Structure of Oracle Java Licenses

Cost Structure of Oracle Java Licenses

Oracle has adopted a new pricing model for its Java SE Universal Subscription based on the number of employees.

Breakdown of the Pricing Model

The Java SE Universal Subscription operates on a per-employee basis, with costs varying by company size:

  • 1-999 employees: $15 per employee per month
  • 1,000-2,999 employees: $12 per employee per month
  • 3,000-9,999 employees: $10.50 per employee per month
  • 10,000-19,999 employees: $8.25 per employee per month
  • 20,000-29,999 employees: $6.75 per employee per month
  • 30,000-39,999 employees: $5.70 per employee per month
  • 40,000-49,999 employees: $5.25 per employee per month

Organizations with more than 50,000 employees need to negotiate directly with Oracle for pricing.

Comparison of Costs Based on Employee Count

Comparison of Costs Based on Employee Count

The tiered pricing system highlights how Oracle accommodates various business sizes:

  • Scalability: The pricing structure is designed to scale with the organization’s size, providing cost-effective solutions for larger enterprises.
  • Predictability: Businesses can forecast their licensing expenses more accurately, aiding in budget management.
  • Flexibility: Companies can adjust their subscriptions as their workforce changes, ensuring they only pay for what they need.
  • Navigating Oracle Java Licensing Changes

Changes in the Licensing Model

Oracle has shifted from traditional licensing metrics, such as per-processor or per-server models, to a more simplified subscription-based model, the Java SE Universal Subscription. Here’s what has changed:

  • From Per-Processor to Per-Employee: The new model calculates costs based on the number of employees rather than the number of processors or servers used.
  • All-Inclusive Subscription: One subscription now covers all required licenses, support, and updates.

Impact of Licensing Changes

Impact of Licensing Changes

The move to a subscription-based model has significant implications:

  • Predictable Costs: Businesses can now predict their Java licensing costs more effectively, as they are directly tied to employee counts.
  • Increased Costs for Some: Smaller companies or those with high numbers of devices might see their costs rise, as they now pay per employee rather than per device or processor.
  • Simplified Operations: Less time and resources are needed to track and manage licenses across multiple deployments.

Oracle’s Licensing Enforcement and Compliance

As Oracle transitions to the new licensing model, they have also intensified their compliance checks.

Predictions from Gartner

  • Increased Audits: Gartner predicts that by 2026, one in five organizations using Java might face Oracle audits, which could lead to potential noncompliance fees.
  • Compliance Challenges: Many organizations will likely be non-compliant due to misunderstood or overlooked license requirements.

Strategies to Manage Compliance

To handle Oracle’s stringent compliance and avoid unexpected fees, organizations should consider these strategies:

  • Regular Audits and Documentation: Conduct regular self-audits of Java usage and maintain thorough documentation to dispute discrepancies during an Oracle audit.
  • Understand Licensing Terms: Be clear about the terms of your Java licenses. Knowing what is covered and what triggers additional costs can prevent disputes.
  • Engage with Oracle Proactively: Regular communication with Oracle about your licensing needs can help prevent compliance issues before they arise.

Overview of Third-Party Java Runtimes

Overview of Third-Party Java Runtimes

Many organizations turn to third-party Java runtimes as viable alternatives to Oracle JDK.

Here’s a look at some popular options:

  • OpenJDK: The open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition. It’s free to use and is the basis for many other distributions.
  • Amazon Corretto is a free, multiplatform, production-ready distribution of the Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK) with long-term support.
  • Azul Zulu: Another free-to-use OpenJDK build known for its performance enhancements and monitoring tools.
  • Eclipse Temurin: Provides prebuilt OpenJDK binaries from a fully open-source set of build scripts and infrastructure.

Financial and Technical Considerations

Switching to a third-party provider involves several considerations:

  • Cost Savings: Most alternatives offer significant reductions, especially for organizations requiring many licenses.
  • Support and Updates: While Oracle provides comprehensive support, third-party solutions often rely on community or paid third-party support services.
  • Compatibility: Most third-party runtimes aim for full compatibility with Oracle JDK, minimizing migration issues.

Future of Java Licensing

Trends and Predictions

  • Increased Adoption of Open Source: The trend towards open-source solutions will likely grow, reducing reliance on paid licenses.
  • Greater Flexibility: Licensing models are expected to become more flexible to accommodate the diverse needs of modern cloud and hybrid environments.

Oracle’s Evolving Strategy

  • Responsive Pricing Models: Oracle may adjust its pricing strategies to stay competitive with free alternatives.
  • Enhanced Services: Oracle might focus on offering value-added services and superior enterprise support to justify its premium pricing.

By staying informed on these trends and alternatives, organizations can make more informed decisions about their Java licensing strategies, ensuring they choose the best options for their needs and budget constraints.

FAQ on Oracle Java Licensing and Alternatives

1. What is the Java SE Universal Subscription?

The Java SE Universal Subscription is Oracle’s all-inclusive licensing model that covers all platforms, including desktops, servers, and cloud environments.

2. How does Oracle’s Java SE Universal Subscription pricing work?

Oracle’s Java SE Universal Subscription pricing is based on the number of employees within an organization. The cost varies by company size, with tiered pricing decreasing per employee as company size increases.

3. What alternatives are available to Oracle JDK? Alternatives include OpenJDK, Amazon Corretto, Azul Zulu, and Eclipse Temurin. These are all based on OpenJDK and offer various levels of support, often at lower or no cost.

4. Are there cost benefits to switching from Oracle JDK to alternatives like OpenJDK?

Switching to alternatives such as OpenJDK or Amazon Corretto can significantly reduce licensing costs, especially for organizations requiring many licenses.

5. What are the technical considerations when switching from Oracle JDK to another provider?

Organizations should consider compatibility, support options, and the technical features offered by the alternative. Most alternatives aim for compatibility with Oracle JDK, but support and additional features vary.

6. What does Oracle’s shift to a subscription-based model mean for businesses?

This shift means more predictable costs and simplified business license management, but depending on their previous licensing model and current needs, it could lead to higher expenses for some.

7. How can organizations prepare for potential Oracle audits on Java licensing?

Organizations should regularly audit their Java usage, understand their license terms, and maintain accurate documentation to manage compliance and minimize the risk of unexpected fees during Oracle audits.

8. How might Oracle’s Java licensing strategy change in the future?

Oracle might adjust its pricing models to remain competitive or enhance its services to add value beyond what is available through free alternatives, focusing on superior support and enterprise features.

9. What does including LTS and enterprise features in the Java SE Universal Subscription entail?

Long-term support (LTS) means that each LTS version receives updates for at least eight years, ensuring stability and security. Enterprise features might include advanced performance monitoring tools and enhanced security measures, providing robust support for critical applications.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.