Oracle Licensing

Oracle Licensing Models Explained for 2024

Oracle Licensing Models:

  • Perpetual Licensing: One-time purchase, indefinite use.
  • Subscription Licensing: Recurring fees for term use.
  • Cloud Licensing: Universal Cloud Credits, SaaS, BYOL.
  • Processor-Based Licensing: Based on a number of processors.
  • Named User Plus Licensing: Counts individual users.
  • Concurrent Device Licensing: The older model is no longer sold.
  • Application-Specific Licensing: Tailored for specific apps.
  • Enterprise Licensing Agreements: Comprehensive, large-scale.
  • Unlimited License Agreements (ULA): Unlimited deployment.
Table Of Contents
  1. Oracle Licensing Models
  2. Subscription Licensing Model
  3. Cloud Licensing Model
  4. Processor-Based Licensing
  5. Named User Plus Licensing
  6. Concurrent Device Licensing
  7. Application-Specific Licensing
  8. Enterprise Licensing Agreement
  9. Unlimited License Agreement (ULA)
  10. Licensing for Development and Test Environments
  11. Oracle BYOL (Bring Your Own License)
  12. Licensing for Virtualized Environments
  13. Licensing for Containers
  14. Public Cloud Licensing
  15. Private Cloud Licensing
  16. Hybrid Cloud Licensing
  17. Oracle Licensing for SaaS Products
  18. Oracle Licensing in Mergers and Acquisitions
  19. Oracle Licensing for Resellers

Oracle Licensing Models

Detailed Guide to Oracle’s Perpetual Licensing Model

Detailed Guide to Oracle's Perpetual Licensing Model

Oracle’s perpetual licensing model involves a one-time purchase that grants indefinite usage rights.

This model is particularly beneficial for organizations that prefer to make a single, upfront investment in software without recurring subscription fees.

This section will provide an overview of the perpetual licensing model, detail its cost structure, and offer best practices for managing and optimizing these licenses.


The perpetual licensing model allows organizations to use Oracle software indefinitely after a one-time purchase.

Unlike subscription models, which require ongoing payments, perpetual licenses provide a stable, long-term solution without continuous renewal.

  • Indefinite Use: Once purchased, the software can be used perpetually.
  • No Recurring Fees: This avoids the need for annual or monthly subscription payments.
  • Ownership: Provides a sense of ownership over the software.

Perpetual licenses are ideal for businesses with stable, long-term needs that prefer managing their software investments through capital rather than operational expenditures.

Cost Structure

Understanding the cost structure of perpetual licensing is crucial for effective budgeting and financial planning.

The primary costs of perpetual licenses include the initial purchase and annual support fees.

  • Initial Purchase Fee: This is the one-time cost of acquiring the perpetual license. The amount varies depending on the Oracle product and the number of licensed processors or users.
    • Product Type: Different Oracle products have different pricing.
    • Scale of Use: Costs increase with the number of processors or users.
  • Annual Support Fee: Even though the license is perpetual, Oracle charges an annual support fee, typically around 22% of the net license fee (after any negotiated discounts). This fee covers access to updates, patches, and technical support.
    • Support Services: Includes software updates, security patches, and technical support.
    • Discounted Rates: The support fee is calculated based on the discounted license fee, providing compounded savings if discounts were negotiated during the initial purchase.

Best Practices

Effectively managing perpetual licenses involves strategic planning, regular reviews, and leveraging Oracle’s support services.

Here are some best practices to optimize the use and value of perpetual licenses:

  • Initial Negotiation: Negotiate the best possible discount when purchasing the perpetual license. Since the support fee is a percentage of the net license fee, a higher discount on the initial purchase results in lower annual support costs.
    • Volume Discounts: Leverage volume purchases to secure better discounts.
    • Future-Proofing: Consider future growth and include terms that allow for scalable expansion.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular internal audits to ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing terms and to avoid any unexpected compliance issues.
    • Usage Monitoring: Monitor software usage to ensure it aligns with the licensed terms.
    • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all licenses, usage metrics, and compliance checks.
  • Utilize Support Services: Take full advantage of Oracle’s support services. Regular updates and patches are crucial for maintaining the software’s security and performance.
    • Update Implementation: Regularly implement updates and patches to keep the software secure and functional.
    • Technical Support: Utilize Oracle’s technical support for troubleshooting and optimization.
  • Long-Term Planning: Incorporate perpetual licenses into long-term IT and financial planning. Given the license’s indefinite nature, aligning the software with the organization’s long-term strategic goals is essential.
    • Strategic Integration: Ensure the software integrates well with existing and future IT infrastructure.
    • Budget Allocation: Plan for the annual support fees in the long-term budget to avoid financial surprises.
  • Expert Consultation: Work with Oracle licensing experts or consultants to ensure you get the most out of your perpetual licenses. These experts can provide valuable insights into optimizing costs and ensuring compliance.
    • Professional Advice: Seek advice on license optimization and cost management.
    • Compliance Assurance: Ensure all licensing practices meet Oracle’s compliance standards.

By following these best practices, organizations can effectively manage their Oracle perpetual licenses, ensuring compliance, optimizing costs, and maximizing the value of their software investments.

Subscription Licensing Model

Understanding Oracle’s Subscription-Based Licensing Model

Understanding Oracle's Subscription-Based Licensing Model

Oracle offers a flexible subscription-based licensing model designed to meet the evolving needs of modern businesses.

This model includes term licenses and subscriptions for various Oracle products, allowing organizations to access the latest technologies with predictable, recurring costs.


Oracle’s subscription licensing model allows organizations to use Oracle software and services for a specified period, typically one to five years.

Unlike perpetual licenses, which involve a one-time purchase, subscription licenses require ongoing payments, providing flexibility and reducing initial capital expenditures.

  • Term-Based Use: Access to software for a defined period.
  • Ongoing Costs: Regular, predictable payments instead of a large upfront fee.
  • Flexibility: Easier to scale up or down based on changing needs.

Products Covered

Oracle offers subscription licenses for a range of products, including but not limited to:

  • Java: Oracle provides subscriptions for Java SE, ensuring access to updates, security patches, and support.
  • MySQL: Subscriptions for MySQL include various editions, offering advanced features and technical support.
  • Linux: Oracle Linux subscriptions provide access to enterprise-level features, updates, and support.
  • Term Licenses: Known as subscriptions, these apply to various Oracle software solutions, offering flexible usage terms.

Cost Structure

Understanding the cost structure of Oracle’s subscription licensing model is essential for budgeting and financial planning.

  • Subscription Fees: Regular payments are made throughout the subscription term. The fee depends on the product, the number of users, and the level of support required.
  • Support and Maintenance: Included in the subscription fee, ensuring access to updates, patches, and technical assistance.
  • Scalability: Ability to adjust the number of licenses as business needs change, impacting overall costs.

Best Practices

  • Assess Needs: Evaluate your organization’s current and future software needs to choose the right subscription plan.
  • Negotiate Terms: Work with Oracle to negotiate the best possible terms, including pricing and support levels.
  • Regular Reviews: Periodically review your subscription usage to ensure it aligns with your organization’s needs and to make necessary adjustments.

Cloud Licensing Model

How Oracle Licenses Its Cloud Services and Solutions

How Oracle Licenses Its Cloud Services and Solutions

Oracle provides a range of cloud licensing models tailored to meet the diverse needs of organizations adopting cloud technologies. This includes Universal Cloud Credits (UCCs), SaaS applications, and the Bring Your License (BYOL) program.


Oracle’s cloud licensing model offers flexible options for efficiently leveraging cloud services.

Depending on their specific requirements, organizations can choose from various licensing approaches, such as pay-as-you-go models or pre-paid cloud credits.

  • Flexibility: Various models are suitable for different cloud adoption strategies.
  • Scalability: Easily scale resources up or down based on demand.
  • Cost Management: Different pricing structures to manage costs effectively.

Universal Cloud Credits (UCCs)

Universal Cloud Credits provide a versatile way to consume Oracle Cloud services.

  • Pre-Paid Credits: Purchase a set amount of cloud credits for any Oracle Cloud service.
  • Flexibility: Use credits as needed, allowing for dynamic resource allocation.
  • Cost Efficiency: Potential cost savings through bulk purchase and flexible usage.

SaaS Licensing

Oracle’s Software as a Service (SaaS) licensing model covers various ERP, HCM, and CRM applications.

  • Subscription-Based: Pay a recurring fee for access to Oracle’s SaaS applications.
  • Integrated Services: Access a suite of integrated applications that streamline business processes.
  • Support and Updates: Technical support, regular updates, and new features.

Bring Your Own License (BYOL)

The BYOL program allows organizations to apply their existing Oracle licenses to Oracle Cloud services, maximizing their investment.

  • License Reuse: Use existing on-premises licenses in the cloud without purchasing new ones.
  • Cost Savings: Reduce cloud migration costs by leveraging current licenses.
  • Flexibility: Apply licenses to Oracle Cloud services, including IaaS and PaaS.

Best Practices

  • Evaluate Options: Assess which cloud licensing model aligns best with your organization’s goals and workloads.
  • Plan for Growth: Consider future needs when purchasing UCCs or SaaS subscriptions.
  • Leverage BYOL: Use existing licenses to save on cloud migration costs.
  • Monitor Usage: Regularly review cloud resource usage to optimize costs and adjust plans as necessary.

Organizations can effectively manage their software investments by understanding and implementing these best practices for Oracle’s subscription and cloud licensing models. This ensures they meet operational needs while optimizing costs and maintaining compliance.

Processor-Based Licensing

Guide to Oracle’s Processor-Based Licensing Approach

Guide to Oracle's Processor-Based Licensing Approach

Processor-based licensing is a fundamental approach Oracle uses, particularly suitable for production environments requiring robust performance and scalability.

This model licenses software based on the number of processors or cores used, making it ideal for high-demand applications where tracking individual users is impractical.


Processor-based licensing, also known as Processor License or Processor Core License, allows organizations to license Oracle software by the number of physical or virtual processors in the servers running the software.

This model is especially beneficial for large-scale deployments where many users access the system, such as in data centers or enterprise applications.

  • Production Environments: Ideal for environments where high performance and reliability are critical.
  • Scalability: Scales can be easily scaled by adding processors or cores.
  • User Agnostic: It is not dependent on the number of users, making it suitable for applications with fluctuating user counts.


The cost of processor-based licenses is calculated based on the number of processors or cores, with specific factors applied depending on the processor architecture.

  • Processor Count: The basic unit for licensing is the processor, but Oracle often uses a core factor table to adjust for different types of processors. For example, multi-core processors may count as more than one processor, depending on their core factor.
  • Core Factor: Oracle’s core factor table assigns a multiplier to each processor type, reflecting its computational power. For instance, a processor with a core factor of 0.5 means that each core is counted as half a processor.
  • Total Cost: The total cost is determined by multiplying the number of processors (adjusted by the core factor) by the license cost per processor.

Best Practices

Managing processor-based licenses effectively requires strategic planning and regular monitoring to ensure compliance and cost optimization.

  • Assess Needs: Evaluate your production environment’s current and future needs to determine the appropriate number of processors to be licensed.
  • Use Core Factor Table: Always refer to Oracle’s core factor table to calculate the required licenses accurately.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular internal audits to ensure the number of processors used aligns with the licenses purchased.
  • Optimize Usage: Monitor and optimize processor use to avoid over- or under-licensing, which can lead to additional costs or compliance issues.
  • Negotiate Discounts: During the purchasing phase, discounts based on volume and long-term commitments are negotiated to reduce overall costs.

Named User Plus Licensing

Explanation of the Named User Plus Licensing Model

Explanation of the Named User Plus Licensing Model

User Plus (NUP) licensing is a flexible model designed for environments where the number of users can be accurately controlled and monitored.

This model is often used in non-production environments, such as development and testing, where specific users access the software.


Named User Plus licensing requires organizations to license Oracle software based on the number of named users. A named user is authorized to use the software, regardless of whether they are actively using it at any given time.

  • Controlled User Base: Ideal for environments where the user base is stable and easily tracked.
  • Non-Production Use: Commonly used in development, testing, and other non-critical environments.
  • User-Based Cost: Licensing cost is directly related to the number of users, making it easier to manage costs for smaller, defined user groups.

User Counting

Accurately counting users is crucial for compliance and cost management in a Named User Plus licensing model.

  • Named Users: Everyone authorized to use the Oracle software must be counted as a named user. This includes employees, contractors, and other individuals who access the system.
  • Minimum Requirements: Oracle often sets minimum user requirements per processor, ensuring a baseline number of licensed users. For instance, certain users must be licensed per processor or site.
  • User Definition: Clearly define who qualifies as a named user in your organization to avoid compliance issues. This includes part-time users, remote employees, and other potential user categories.

Best Practices

Effective management of Named User Plus licenses involves accurate user tracking, regular reviews, and strategic planning.

  • Accurate Tracking: Implement systems to accurately track and document all named users. Use access logs and user management tools to account for all users.
  • Regular Reviews: Review user counts and access patterns regularly to adjust licenses as needed. This helps identify inactive users who can be removed from the license count.
  • Compliance Checks: Perform compliance checks periodically to ensure the number of named users matches the license amount. Address any discrepancies promptly to avoid penalties.
  • Negotiate Terms: During the purchasing process, negotiate terms that allow flexibility in user counts, such as adding or removing users as needed, without significant penalties.
  • Optimize User Allocation: Allocate licenses efficiently by ensuring that only those who genuinely need access to the software are counted as named users. This can help in reducing unnecessary licensing costs.

By understanding and applying these best practices for processor-based and Named User Plus licensing models, organizations can manage their Oracle licenses more effectively, ensuring compliance, optimizing costs, and maximizing the value of their Oracle investments.

Concurrent Device Licensing

How Oracle Manages Concurrent Device Licensing

How Oracle Manages Concurrent Device Licensing

Concurrent device licensing is an older Oracle licensing model that is no longer sold but remains in use for some existing customers.

This model licenses Oracle software based on the number of devices that can concurrently access the software rather than the number of individual users or processors.


Concurrent device licensing allows a set number of devices to access Oracle software simultaneously. This model was particularly useful in environments where multiple users shared a limited number of devices to access the software.

  • Concurrent Access: Licenses are based on the number of devices that can concurrently access the software.
  • Shared Usage: Ideal for scenarios where many users share fewer devices.
  • Legacy Model: No longer sold to new customers but maintained for existing agreements.

Historical Use

Concurrent device licensing was widely used in earlier computing environments where individual user licensing was impractical or unnecessary.

  • Prevalence: Common in educational institutions, libraries, and businesses with shared computer resources.
  • Transition: As their IT environments evolved, many organizations have transitioned to other licensing models, such as Named User Plus or Processor-Based licensing.
  • Support: Oracle continues to support this model for existing customers, providing necessary updates and support.

Managing Existing Licenses

Organizations still using concurrent device licensing must manage these licenses carefully to ensure compliance and optimize usage.

  • Inventory Management: Keep a detailed inventory of all devices authorized to access Oracle software concurrently. Update this inventory regularly to reflect any changes in device allocation.
  • Usage Monitoring: Implement monitoring tools to track concurrent usage and ensure that the number of devices accessing the software does not exceed the licensed limit.
  • Compliance Audits: Conduct regular audits to verify that concurrent usage aligns with the licensing terms. Address any discrepancies promptly to avoid potential penalties.
  • Planning for Transition: Consider transitioning to more current licensing models if the organization’s IT environment and usage patterns have changed significantly. Engage with Oracle or licensing experts to explore suitable options.

Application-Specific Licensing

Licensing Models Specific to Oracle Applications

Oracle offers various licensing models tailored to specific applications, providing flexibility to meet diverse organizational needs.

These models often include application user licensing, enterprise metrics like per employee or revenue, and custom bundles.


Application-specific licensing allows organizations to choose licensing models that align with the unique requirements of different Oracle applications. These models are designed to optimize costs and usage efficiency for specific business applications.

  • Tailored Licensing: Customized licensing options based on the specific application.
  • Flexibility: Various metrics and models to match different business needs.
  • Cost Optimization: Helps in managing costs by aligning licensing with application usage.

Application Examples

Oracle applications have specific licensing models catering to their unique functionalities and user bases.

  • Oracle E-Business Suite: Often licensed based on the number of application users or through enterprise metrics such as the number of employees or revenue.
  • Oracle Fusion Applications are typically available through subscription licensing models, which can include bundles with other Oracle cloud services.
  • Oracle JD Edwards: Depending on the specific modules and functionalities, licensing can be based on named users, concurrent users, or other enterprise metrics.

Licensing Details

Understanding the details of each licensing model helps select the best option for your organization and ensure compliance.

  • Application User Licensing: This model licenses based on the number of users who access the application. Each user must be uniquely identified and counted.
    • Best For: Scenarios with a defined user base.
    • Management: Regularly update user counts to ensure compliance.
  • Enterprise Metrics: These models use broader organizational metrics such as the number of employees or total revenue.
    • Per Employee: Licensing costs are based on the total number of employees in the organization.
    • Per Revenue: Costs are tied to the organization’s total revenue, providing scalability as the business grows.
  • Custom Bundles: Oracle can create custom licensing bundles that combine metrics and products to meet specific business needs.
    • Flexibility: Customizable to fit unique requirements.
    • Cost Efficiency: Potentially lower costs through bundled pricing.

Best Practices

  • Assess Application Needs: Evaluate the specific requirements of each Oracle application to determine the most suitable licensing model.
  • Monitor Usage: Continuously monitor application usage to ensure compliance and optimize costs.
  • Regular Reviews: Periodically review licensing agreements and usage patterns to adjust licenses as needed.
  • Engage Experts: Work with Oracle licensing experts to navigate complex application-specific licensing models and secure the best terms.

By understanding and effectively managing concurrent device and application-specific licensing, organizations can optimize their Oracle investments, ensure compliance, and maximize the value derived from their software solutions.

Enterprise Licensing Agreement

Overview of Oracle’s Enterprise Licensing Agreements (ELA)

Overview of Oracle's Enterprise Licensing Agreements (ELA)

Oracle’s Enterprise Licensing Agreement (ELA) is designed to provide comprehensive coverage for large organizations, offering flexibility and predictability in licensing costs.

An ELA is essentially a capped version of an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA), with a maximum deployment limit set for the covered products.

Additionally, Oracle offers a “pool of funds” mechanism under an ELA, allowing customers to allocate funds to different Oracle products and services as needed.


An ELA encompasses multiple Oracle products under a single contract with predefined usage limits. This model helps organizations manage and predict their licensing costs more effectively, offering a broad scope of usage while capping the maximum deployment.

  • Capped ULA: An ELA is similar to a ULA but includes a maximum deployment number, limiting the software’s use.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Covers a wide range of Oracle products, enabling streamlined management and consolidated billing.
  • Pool of Funds: Allows allocation of funds across different Oracle products and services, offering flexibility in usage.


The ELA model offers several key benefits for large organizations, including cost predictability and flexibility in software deployment.

  • Cost Predictability: Provides a clear understanding of licensing costs over the term of the agreement, helping with budgeting and financial planning.
  • Flexibility: The pool of funds mechanism allows organizations to shift their investments between different Oracle products as their needs change.
  • Simplified Management: Consolidates multiple licenses into a single agreement, reducing administrative overhead and simplifying compliance tracking.

Best Practices

To maximize the benefits of an ELA, organizations should follow these best practices:

  • Assess Needs Carefully: Evaluate current and projected software usage to ensure the ELA covers all necessary products and services.
  • Negotiate Terms: Work with Oracle to negotiate favorable terms, including the pool of funds and maximum deployment limits.
  • Monitor Usage: Regularly monitor software usage to ensure it stays within the agreed limits and adjusts as needed.
  • Periodic Reviews: Conduct periodic reviews of the ELA to ensure it continues to meet organizational needs and consider renegotiation if requirements change.

Unlimited License Agreement (ULA)

Understanding Oracle’s Unlimited License Agreement

Understanding Oracle's Unlimited License Agreement

Oracle’s Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) allows organizations to deploy unlimited specified Oracle products over a fixed term.

This agreement particularly benefits organizations expecting significant growth or those needing extensive software deployment flexibility.

Oracle also offers variations of the ULA, including the Oracle Perpetual ULA and the Oracle Hybrid ULA.


A ULA allows unlimited deployment of specified Oracle products during the agreement term.

Organizations typically need to certify their usage at the end of the term and convert it to perpetual licenses. However, Oracle offers different types of ULAs to meet various organizational needs:

  • Standard ULA: Unlimited deployment for a fixed term, with certification required at the end.
  • Perpetual ULA: This is similar to a standard ULA but with no end date, providing perpetual usage rights without certification.
  • Hybrid ULA: Offers flexibility by allowing customers to choose not to certify at the end, with support fees reverting to the initial agreement level.


The ULA model provides significant benefits for organizations with large or growing Oracle deployments:

  • Unlimited Deployment: Enables extensive flexibility in deploying Oracle products without worrying about additional licensing costs during the term.
  • Cost Efficiency: This can be cost-effective for organizations with large-scale deployments, as it simplifies budgeting and potentially reduces overall licensing costs.
  • Simplified Management: Reduces the complexity of managing multiple licenses, as all usage is covered under a single agreement.

Best Practices

To effectively manage a ULA and maximize its benefits, organizations should consider the following best practices:

  • Strategic Planning: Assess the potential growth and deployment needs over the ULA term to ensure maximum benefit.
  • Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor software usage to track deployment and prepare for the certification process (if applicable).
  • Engage Experts: Work with Oracle licensing experts to understand ULA terms’ nuances and assist with the certification process.
  • Consider Variants: Evaluate the different ULA options (standard, perpetual, hybrid) to determine which best aligns with the organization’s long-term strategy.
  • Optimize Deployment: Ensure that the unlimited deployment capability is fully utilized to get the most value from the agreement.

By understanding and implementing these best practices for Oracle’s ELA and ULA models, organizations can effectively manage their software investments, ensure compliance, and optimize their Oracle licensing strategy for maximum benefit.

Licensing for Development and Test Environments

Oracle Licensing Considerations for Development and Testing

Oracle Licensing Considerations for Development and Testing

Licensing Oracle products in development and test environments is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.

Oracle requires that non-production environments, such as development and testing, be fully licensed just like production environments. However, there are specific best practices to optimize these licenses.


Development and test environments are essential for application development, quality assurance, and pre-production testing. Oracle mandates that these environments be licensed in the same way as production environments to ensure legal compliance.

  • Full Licensing Required: Non-production environments must be fully licensed.
  • Compliance: Ensures adherence to Oracle’s licensing policies and avoids potential legal issues.

Licensing Options

Organizations have two primary options for licensing development and test environments: Named User Plus (NUP) licensing and Processor-based licensing.

  • Named User Plus (NUP) Licensing: Licenses are based on the number of users accessing the Oracle software.
  • Processor-Based Licensing: Licenses are based on the number of processors or cores running the software. This type of licensing is typically used in high-performance environments and is typically only for production.

Best Practices

To optimize licensing costs and ensure compliance in development and test environments, consider the following best practices:

  • Use Named User Plus Licensing: For non-production environments, using Named User Plus licensing is more cost-effective than Processor-based licensing. This approach aligns with the typically lower number of users in these environments.
  • Accurate User Counting: Ensure accurate counting and documentation of all users accessing the development and test environments to maintain compliance.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular user access and licensing status audits to ensure ongoing compliance and identify discrepancies early.
  • Consult Experts: Work with Oracle licensing experts to develop a tailored licensing strategy that meets organizational needs while minimizing costs.

Oracle BYOL (Bring Your Own License)

How to Use Existing Licenses with Oracle’s BYOL Program

How to Use Existing Licenses with Oracle's BYOL Program

Oracle’s Bring Your Own License (BYOL) program allows organizations to leverage their existing Oracle software licenses in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This program offers flexibility and cost savings by enabling the use of on-premises licenses in the cloud.


The BYOL program is designed to help organizations maximize the value of their existing Oracle licenses by allowing them to be used in cloud environments.

This flexibility supports hybrid cloud strategies and reduces the need for additional cloud-specific licenses.

  • Flexibility: Use existing licenses in the cloud without purchasing new ones.
  • Cost Savings: Reduces cloud deployment costs by leveraging current investments in Oracle software.
  • Cloud Compatibility: Applicable to multiple cloud platforms, including Oracle OCI, Microsoft Azure, and AWS.

Eligible Products

All Oracle products are available under the BYOL program, providing extensive flexibility for various organizational needs.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Includes databases, middleware, applications, and other Oracle products.
  • Cloud Platforms: BYOL can be used with Oracle OCI, Microsoft Azure, and AWS, offering flexibility in cloud provider selection.
  • Licensing Metrics: Licenses can be used per Oracle CPU (OCPU) or virtual CPU (vCPU), depending on the cloud platform and specific product.

Best Practices

To effectively use the BYOL program, organizations should follow these best practices:

  • Inventory Management: Maintain an accurate inventory of all Oracle licenses eligible for BYOL. Ensure these licenses are current and have valid support agreements.
  • Evaluate Cloud Needs: Assess the organization’s cloud needs to determine the most efficient use of BYOL. Consider workload types, performance requirements, and cost implications.
  • Optimize License Usage: Align BYOL usage with the most appropriate cloud instances (OCPU or vCPU) to maximize cost efficiency and performance.
  • Regular Reviews: Review the use of BYOL licenses in the cloud to ensure compliance and optimize resource allocation.
  • Consult with Experts: Engage with Oracle licensing experts to navigate the complexities of BYOL, including migration strategies, compliance issues, and cost optimization.

Organizations can optimize their Oracle investments, ensure compliance, and achieve significant cost savings by understanding and applying these best practices for licensing development and test environments and leveraging the BYOL program.

Licensing for Virtualized Environments

Best Practices for Licensing Oracle in Virtualized Environments

Licensing Oracle products in virtualized environments requires a thorough understanding of Oracle’s licensing policies, especially concerning partitioning technologies and the specific platform used. VMware, in particular, presents significant challenges for Oracle customers due to its licensing complexities.


Virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run on a single physical machine, providing cost savings and flexibility.

However, licensing Oracle software in virtualized environments can be complex and requires careful attention to Oracle’s partitioning policies.

  • Soft Partitioning: Includes technologies such as VMware, which Oracle does not recognize for sub-capacity licensing. Therefore, all physical cores must be licensed.
  • Hard Partitioning includes technologies like Oracle VM Server, IBM LPAR, and Solaris Containers. Oracle allows for sub-capacity licensing, meaning only the cores allocated to the Oracle workloads must be licensed.


Licensing Oracle in virtualized environments presents several challenges, particularly with platforms like VMware that Oracle classifies under soft partitioning.

  • Full Capacity Licensing: For soft partitioning technologies like VMware, Oracle requires licensing all physical cores in the environment, regardless of how many Oracle software cores are used.
  • Complex Policies: Understanding and adhering to Oracle’s licensing policies can be challenging due to their complexity and the specific requirements for different partitioning technologies.
  • Compliance Risks: Misunderstanding the policies can lead to non-compliance, resulting in potential financial penalties.

Best Practices

To manage Oracle licensing effectively in virtualized environments, organizations should follow these best practices:

  • Understand Partitioning Policies: Differentiate between soft and hard partitioning technologies and their implications on licensing.
    • Soft Partitioning: Do not assume sub-capacity licensing is allowed; license all physical cores.
    • Hard Partitioning: Utilize hard partitioning technologies to take advantage of sub-capacity licensing.
  • Accurate Documentation: Maintain detailed documentation of your virtualized environment, including the configuration of VMs and the allocation of resources.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct internal audits to ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing requirements and identify potential issues early.
  • Consult Experts: Engage with Oracle licensing experts to navigate the complexities of virtualized environments and ensure compliance.
  • VMware Considerations: Pay particular attention to VMware deployments, as these require full capacity licensing, and regularly review your VMware environment to manage licensing costs effectively.

Licensing for Containers

Oracle’s Approach to Licensing in Containerized Environments

Oracle's Approach to Licensing in Containerized Environments

Licensing Oracle software in containerized environments presents unique challenges due to the lack of clear and detailed documentation from Oracle.

Generally, Oracle’s approach to container licensing follows principles similar to those applied to virtual environments, particularly soft partitioning policies.


Containerized environments, such as those using Docker or Kubernetes, provide a lightweight and efficient way to deploy applications.

However, Oracle’s licensing policies for these environments are somewhat ambiguous, requiring organizations to tread carefully.

  • Vague Documentation: Oracle’s policy document on container licensing is not explicit, making it challenging to determine the exact requirements.
  • Soft Partitioning Policies: In the absence of specific guidance, Oracle’s soft partitioning policies for virtual environments are generally applied to containers.

Licensing Options

When licensing Oracle software in containerized environments, the following options and considerations should be taken into account:

  • Full Capacity Licensing: Similar to soft partitioning in virtual environments, assume that all physical cores must be licensed unless Oracle explicitly states otherwise.
  • Instance-Based Licensing: For some Oracle products, licensing might be based on the number of instances or containers running the software.

Best Practices

To effectively manage Oracle licensing in containerized environments, organizations should adopt these best practices:

  • Adhere to Soft Partitioning Policies: Without clear guidance, follow Oracle’s soft partitioning policies, which typically require licensing all physical cores on the host.
  • Accurate Tracking: Implement robust tracking mechanisms to monitor the deployment of Oracle software across containers, ensuring all instances are accounted for.

Public Cloud Licensing

Oracle Licensing in Public Cloud Environments (AWS, Azure, etc.)

Licensing Oracle products in public cloud environments involves specific requirements and options, varying by cloud provider. Understanding these options is essential for optimizing costs and ensuring compliance.


Public cloud environments offer flexibility and scalability for deploying Oracle software. The licensing options for Oracle products in public clouds include Bring Your Own License (BYOL) and specific offerings from cloud providers.

  • Flexibility: Cloud environments provide on-demand resources and scalability.
  • Cost Management: Different licensing models can help manage costs effectively.

Cloud Providers

Different cloud providers offer distinct options for licensing Oracle products:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS supports Oracle BYOL for most products. Additionally, AWS offers RDS for Oracle, but only for Standard Edition 2 products.
    • RDS for Oracle: Simplified management but limited to Standard Edition 2.
    • BYOL: Allows the use of existing Oracle licenses on AWS infrastructure.
  • Microsoft Azure: Azure offers Oracle Database@Azure, providing a tailored solution for running Oracle databases.
    • Oracle Database@Azure: Seamless integration with Azure services.
    • BYOL: Utilize existing licenses for deployments on Azure.
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI): OCI supports Universal Cloud Credits (UCCs) and BYOL.
    • UCCs: Prepaid cloud credits for flexible use of Oracle Cloud services.
    • BYOL: Bring existing licenses to OCI, maximizing previous investments.

Best Practices

To optimize Oracle licensing in public cloud environments, follow these best practices:

  • Evaluate Licensing Options: Assess each cloud provider’s available licensing models (BYOL, RDS for Oracle, UCCs) to determine the most cost-effective option.
  • Leverage BYOL: To reduce costs, utilize existing on-premises licenses in the cloud. Ensure that these licenses are eligible for BYOL and properly documented.
  • Monitor Usage: Continuously monitor the usage of Oracle products in the cloud to ensure compliance and optimize resource allocation.
  • Regular Reviews: Conduct regular reviews of your cloud deployments to identify cost savings opportunities and ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies.

Private Cloud Licensing

Licensing Oracle Products in Private Cloud Setups

Licensing Oracle Products in Private Cloud Setups

Private cloud environments offer unique opportunities for optimizing Oracle licensing, especially when using high-performance clusters and consolidated infrastructure. Proper licensing in these setups can lead to significant cost savings.


Private cloud setups allow organizations to maintain control over their infrastructure while benefiting from cloud computing’s scalability and flexibility. Oracle licensing in private clouds typically follows on-premises licensing models.

  • Control and Customization: Full control over the hardware and software environment.
  • Optimization Potential: Opportunities to optimize licensing costs through efficient resource management.


Implementing Oracle licensing in private cloud environments involves several considerations:

  • On-Premises Licensing: Private clouds generally use the same licensing models as on-premises environments, such as processor-based or Named User Plus licensing.
  • High-Performance Clusters: Building high-performance clusters can significantly optimize licensing. Oracle-engineered systems, like Oracle Exadata, are designed for this purpose, offering high efficiency and scalability.
  • Consolidation: Consolidating multiple workloads onto fewer, more powerful servers can reduce the required licenses, leading to substantial cost savings.

Best Practices

To effectively manage Oracle licensing in private cloud environments, consider these best practices:

  • Evaluate Infrastructure Needs: To choose the appropriate licensing model to assess your current and future infrastructure needs. High-performance clusters may benefit more from processor-based licensing, while smaller setups prefer Named User Plus licensing.
  • Optimize Clusters: Use engineered systems like Oracle Exadata to consolidate workloads and optimize licensing. These systems are designed for high performance and can significantly reduce licensing costs by maximizing resource utilization.
  • Monitor Performance: Regularly monitor the performance and usage of your private cloud to ensure that resources are being used efficiently and that you remain compliant with Oracle’s licensing policies.
  • Periodic Audits: Conduct regular audits of your private cloud environment to verify compliance and identify potential areas for cost savings or efficiency improvements.
  • Consult with Experts: Engage with Oracle licensing experts to help navigate the complexities of private cloud licensing and to develop strategies for cost optimization and compliance.

By understanding and applying these best practices for public and private cloud licensing, organizations can effectively manage their Oracle software investments, ensure compliance, and optimize costs across different cloud environments.

Hybrid Cloud Licensing

Managing Oracle Licenses in Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid cloud environments, which integrate public and private cloud infrastructures, require a strategic approach to Oracle licensing.

This strategy often involves a mix of Bring Your Own License (BYOL), Universal Cloud Credits (UCCs), and other cloud licensing models. Combining legacy licensing with new options can optimize costs and enhance flexibility.


Hybrid cloud environments leverage the benefits of both public and private clouds, allowing organizations to distribute workloads based on performance, security, and cost considerations.

Managing Oracle licenses in such an environment requires a comprehensive understanding of various licensing models and their strategic application.

  • Mixed Licensing Models: Utilizes a combination of BYOL, UCCs, and other licensing models.
  • Flexibility: Balances legacy and modern licensing options to maximize efficiency.
  • Cost Optimization: Strategically deploys resources to manage and reduce overall licensing costs.


Licensing in hybrid cloud environments presents several challenges due to the complexity of managing different models and ensuring compliance across diverse platforms.

  • Complex Management: Coordinating multiple licensing models across various environments can be complex.
  • Compliance Risks: Ensuring compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies across public and private clouds.
  • Cost Control: Managing costs effectively requires continuous monitoring and strategic planning.

Best Practices

To effectively manage Oracle licenses in hybrid cloud environments, follow these best practices:

  • Develop a Unified Strategy: Create a cohesive strategy that integrates BYOL, UCCs, and other licensing models to optimize cost and flexibility.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits to ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies and to identify areas for cost savings.
  • Leverage Cloud Credits: Use UCCs efficiently across Oracle Cloud services to maximize their value.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Monitor usage across public and private clouds, adjusting licensing strategies to maintain compliance and control costs.
  • Engage Experts: Work with Oracle licensing experts to navigate the complexities of hybrid cloud licensing and develop effective management strategies.

Oracle Licensing for SaaS Products

Specifics of Licensing Oracle’s Software as a Service (SaaS) Products

Specifics of Licensing Oracle's Software as a Service (SaaS) Products

Oracle’s Software as a Service (SaaS) products offer unique licensing models designed to cater to the needs of modern businesses.

These models are primarily based on hosted named user metrics but can include an employee metric.


Oracle SaaS products are licensed primarily through hosted named user metrics, which count individuals authorized to access a cloud service, regardless of active use.

Additionally, some modules may use an employee metric, requiring licensing based on the total number of employees.

  • Hosted Named User: Licenses individuals authorized to access the service, not necessarily those actively using it.
  • Employee Metric: Licenses entire employee populations for specific modules.

Licensing Options

Oracle offers several licensing options for its SaaS products to fit different business requirements:

  • Hosted Named User: Each individual authorized to use the SaaS service is counted, and licenses are allocated per module.
  • Employee Metric: Some SaaS products or modules require licensing based on the total number of employees in the organization, providing a broad usage scope.

Best Practices

To optimize the use of Oracle SaaS licensing, organizations should consider the following best practices:

  • Assess Usage Needs: Evaluate which SaaS modules are necessary for your organization and determine the best licensing metric (hosted named user vs. employee metric) based on your needs.
  • Monitor User Access: Regularly monitor who is authorized to use the SaaS services to ensure compliance and avoid over-licensing.
  • Review Employee Numbers: For modules using the employee metric, maintain accurate and up-to-date records of employee counts to ensure proper licensing.
  • Optimize Licensing: Adjust licensing periodically based on changes in user access and employee numbers to optimize costs.
  • Consult with Experts: Engage with Oracle licensing experts to navigate the specifics of SaaS licensing and develop strategies for cost-effective and compliant use.

By following these best practices for hybrid cloud and SaaS licensing, organizations can effectively manage their Oracle software investments, ensuring they are cost-efficient, compliant, and aligned with business needs.

Oracle Licensing in Mergers and Acquisitions

Handling Oracle Licenses During Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) present significant challenges for Oracle licensing due to the complexities of combining different licensing agreements and ensuring compliance. These challenges often arise from differing definitions of customers and potential mismatches in license surplus and deficit between the merging entities.


When two companies merge, they often combine two distinct sets of Oracle licenses. This can create complications in terms of customer definitions, as one entity may not legally use the other’s software licenses, leading to issues of compliance and optimization.

  • Customer Definition: Each entity involved in the merger has its licensing agreements, which may not be transferrable or shareable between the new combined entity.
  • License Surplus and Deficit: One entity might have excess licenses, while the other might face a shortage, complicating the consolidation of resources.

Transition Strategies

Effectively handling Oracle licenses during M&A requires comprehensive planning, negotiation with Oracle, and often additional investments.

  • Oracle Negotiation: Engage in discussions with Oracle to renegotiate licensing agreements that reflect the new organizational structure. This can help resolve conflicts and streamline the integration process.
  • License Consolidation: Assess the combined entity’s total licensing needs and look for ways to consolidate licenses to eliminate redundancy and address shortages.
  • Customized Solutions: Develop tailored solutions that address the merging entities’ specific licensing challenges. This may involve purchasing new licenses, reassigning existing ones, or seeking Oracle’s approval for specific adjustments.

Best Practices

To navigate the complexities of Oracle licensing during M&A, follow these best practices:

  • Early Assessment: Conduct a thorough assessment of both entities’ Oracle licenses early in the M&A process to identify potential conflicts and areas needing negotiation.
  • Expert Consultation: Work with Oracle licensing experts to understand the merger’s full implications for your licensing agreements and develop effective integration strategies.
  • Clear Communication: Maintain open communication with Oracle to ensure they are aware of the merger and to facilitate negotiations for any necessary changes to licensing agreements.
  • Compliance Monitoring: Implement robust compliance monitoring to ensure all Oracle software usage aligns with the new, combined licensing agreements.
  • Regular Reviews: Continuously review the licensing situation post-merger to address any emerging issues and to optimize license usage.

Oracle Licensing for Resellers

Guidelines for Resellers on Oracle Licensing

Resellers play a critical role in the Oracle ecosystem by providing customers access to Oracle products and services at discounted rates. Oracle has specific guidelines for resellers to ensure compliance and optimal usage of their licensing agreements.


Oracle resellers benefit from a standard 30% discount on all purchases and resales, regardless of volume.

This discount allows resellers to offer competitive pricing to end customers, enabling them to obtain discounts that might not be available directly from Oracle.

  • Standard Discount: Resellers receive a consistent 30% discount on all Oracle purchases and resales.
  • Competitive Pricing: Enables end customers to benefit from discounted pricing on Oracle products.


To ensure compliance with Oracle’s guidelines, resellers must adhere to specific licensing models and agreements designed for their business models.

  • Hosting Licenses: Resellers who build their IP on Oracle products can use hosting licenses, which allow them to host Oracle software as part of their services.
  • Embedded Licensing: This model allows resellers to embed Oracle software into their solutions, providing a seamless experience for end users.
  • Application-Specific Full Use (ASFU) Licenses: ASFU licenses are designed for resellers who package Oracle software with their applications, offering a complete solution to customers.

Best Practices

Resellers should follow these best practices to maximize their benefits and ensure compliance with Oracle licensing policies:

  • Understand Licensing Models: Familiarize yourself with Oracle’s various licensing models, including hosting licenses, embedded licenses, and ASFU licenses, to choose the best fit for your business.
  • Negotiate Effectively: Leverage the 30% discount to offer competitive pricing to customers and negotiate favorable terms with Oracle.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with Oracle’s licensing policies and any changes that might affect resellers, ensuring ongoing compliance.
  • Optimize Sales Strategies: Use the standard discount to develop compelling sales strategies highlighting end customers’ value and cost savings.
  • Consult Oracle Experts: Work with Oracle licensing experts to navigate complex licensing scenarios and develop optimized solutions for your business and customers.

Organizations can ensure compliance, optimize their licensing costs, and achieve strategic business goals by understanding and implementing these guidelines for Oracle licensing during mergers and acquisitions and for resellers.

FAQ: Oracle Licensing Models

What is Oracle’s Perpetual Licensing Model?
Oracle’s perpetual licensing model involves a one-time purchase fee, granting indefinite usage rights for the software. While no recurring subscription costs exist, annual support fees are required for updates and support services.

How does the Subscription Licensing Model work?
Oracle’s subscription licensing model requires regular payments over a set term, such as one, three, or five years. This model includes access to updates and support services during the subscription period.

What are Oracle Universal Cloud Credits (UCCs)?
UCCs are prepaid credits that can be used across various Oracle Cloud services. They provide flexibility in resource allocation and can help manage cloud spending effectively.

What is BYOL in Oracle licensing?
BYOL (Bring Your Own License) allows customers to use their existing Oracle software licenses in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), licensed per OCPU or vCPU.

How does Oracle license its SaaS products?
Oracle SaaS products are primarily licensed based on the Hosted Named User metric, counting individuals authorized to access the cloud service. Some modules may use the Employee metric, requiring licenses for the total employee population.

What is the difference between soft and hard partitioning in Oracle licensing?
Soft partitioning, like VMware, is not recognized by Oracle for sub-capacity licensing, meaning all physical cores must be licensed. Hard partitioning, such as Oracle VM Server, allows for sub-capacity licensing, where only the allocated cores are licensed.

How does Oracle manage licensing in containerized environments?
Oracle’s policy for containerized environments is generally vague. However, it typically follows the soft partitioning policies used for virtual environments, requiring careful management to ensure compliance.

What are the main challenges with Oracle licensing during mergers and acquisitions?
M&A can complicate licensing due to different licensing sets, customer definition issues, and potential license surplus or deficit between the merging entities. Solutions often require negotiation with Oracle and additional investments.

How can resellers benefit from Oracle licensing?
Resellers receive a 30% discount on all Oracle purchases and resales, regardless of volume. This enables end customers to obtain discounts that might not be available directly from Oracle. Hosting, embedded, and ASFU licenses are also available for resellers.

What is a Hybrid Cloud Licensing strategy?
Hybrid cloud licensing combines BYOL, UCCs, and other cloud licensing models. It integrates legacy and new licensing options to optimize cost and flexibility across public and private clouds.

How are Oracle licenses managed in public cloud environments?
Oracle licenses can be managed through BYOL or cloud-specific offerings in public clouds like AWS, Azure, and OCI. AWS supports RDS for Oracle SE2, Azure has Oracle Database@Azure, and OCI offers UCCs and BYOL.

What are the best practices for licensing Oracle in private cloud setups?
Use on-premises licensing models for private clouds and optimize by building high-performance clusters. Consolidating workloads on fewer servers can save costs, especially with Oracle-engineered systems designed for high efficiency.

Why is it important to conduct regular audits of Oracle licenses?
Regular audits help ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies, identify discrepancies early, and optimize license usage to avoid unnecessary costs or legal issues.

What licensing options are available for Oracle in development and test environments?
Non-production environments must be fully licensed. To manage costs effectively in these environments, it is recommended that Named User Plus licensing rather than Processor-based licensing be used.

How does Oracle support different licensing metrics for application-specific needs?
Oracle offers application licensing models, including Application Users, enterprise metrics per employee or revenue, and custom bundles. This flexibility allows organizations to choose the best fit for their specific needs.


  • 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.

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