Oracle Licensing

Oracle Partitioning Policy – Do you need follow it?

Oracle Partitioning Policy Document

  • Outlines licensing requirements for physical processor cores in certain virtualization environments.
  • Applies to all Oracle products, including “soft partitioning” technologies like VMware.
  • It is not explicitly part of Oracle’s license agreements or referenced in the Master Agreement.
  • Aggressively enforced by Oracle’s License Management Services during audits.
  • Companies should work with legal counsel to resist unsupported audit findings and ensure compliance.
Table Of Contents
  1. Introduction to Oracle Partitioning Policy
  2. What is the Oracle Partitioning Policy?
  3. Legal and Contractual Context
  4. Challenges and Controversies
  5. Arguments Against Oracle's Partitioning Policy
  6. Challenges and Controversies
  7. Arguments Against Oracle's Partitioning Policy
  8. Practical Steps for Companies
  9. Six Arguments Oracle, Customers, Can Make
  10. FAQ on Oracle Partitioning Policy

Introduction to Oracle Partitioning Policy

Introduction to Oracle Partitioning Policy

The Oracle Partitioning Policy is a critical document for organizations using Oracle software. It outlines the requirements for licensing physical processor cores in various virtualization environments.

Understanding this policy is crucial for ensuring compliance and managing costs effectively, especially during Oracle License Management Services (LMS) audits.

What is the Oracle Partitioning Policy?

What is the Oracle Partitioning Policy?

The Oracle Partitioning Policy details the licensing requirements for physical processor cores when using Oracle software in virtualized environments.

It applies to all Oracle products and includes specific guidelines for “soft partitioning” technologies like VMware. Here’s a comprehensive look at its scope and application:

  • Scope and Application: The policy applies universally to all Oracle software products. It mandates that all physical processor cores in specific virtualization setups, such as VMware, must be licensed if Oracle software is used within those environments.
  • Soft Partitioning Technologies: The policy includes “soft partitioning” methods like VMware, which divide physical servers into smaller virtual servers. Oracle’s policy requires that all physical cores of the physical servers, connected through shared storage or within the same vCenter, be licensed, regardless of whether the Oracle software is running on every core.

Understanding these details can help organizations navigate the complexities of Oracle licensing, particularly in virtualized environments, and prepare for potential audits by Oracle LMS.

Legal and Contractual Context

Legal and Contractual Context

Absence from Official Oracle License Agreement

The Oracle Partitioning Policy is not officially included in the Oracle license agreement. It is not explicitly mentioned in the Master Agreement or any Ordering Documents.

Clarification of the Master Agreement and Its Terms

The Master Agreement, which forms the basis of Oracle license agreements, allows for the non-exclusive, perpetual use of Oracle programs for internal business operations. This agreement includes terms in the program user and installation manuals but does not reference the Partitioning Policy.

Legal Boundaries of Oracle’s Ability to Amend the Agreement via Website Policies

Oracle does not have the unilateral right to amend the license agreement by publishing policies on its website. Any such amendments must be explicitly included in the official contractual documents agreed upon by both parties.

Companies can argue that website policies, like the Partitioning Policy, do not hold contractual authority unless explicitly incorporated into their license agreements.

Challenges and Controversies

Challenges and Controversies

Common Issues Faced During Oracle LMS Audits

Many companies face significant challenges during Oracle LMS audits, including unclear licensing requirements and the aggressive application of the Partitioning Policy. This can lead to large settlement demands and substantial compliance costs.

Strategies to Resist Unsupported Audit Findings

Companies should resist providing information about virtualization environments where Oracle software is not deployed and object to any audit findings that lack support in the applicable license agreements. Clear documentation and a proactive defense strategy are essential.

Importance of Legal Counsel During the Audit Process

Engaging legal counsel throughout the audit process is crucial. Legal experts can help interpret complex licensing agreements, challenge unsupported audit findings, and ensure that Oracle does not enforce non-contractual policies.

Arguments Against Oracle’s Partitioning Policy

Arguments Against Oracle's Partitioning Policy

Lack of Explicit Mention in the Master Agreement or Ordering Documents

The Oracle Partitioning Policy is not explicitly mentioned or referenced in the Master Agreement or any Ordering Documents, weakening Oracle’s position during audits.

Definition of a Processor in the Master Agreement

The Master Agreement defines a Processor as “all processors where the Oracle Programs are installed and/or running.” This definition does not reference the Partitioning Policy, suggesting that it should not apply if programs are not actively running on all processors.

Difficulty in Locating the Partitioning Policy Within Oracle’s Documentation

The Partitioning Policy is not easily found within Oracle’s official documentation, which indicates that it may not be a binding part of the license agreements.

Strategies for Companies to Object to Oracle’s Audit Findings

Companies should challenge Oracle’s assumptions about program usage on systems without deploying Oracle software.

They should emphasize that the Partitioning Policy is not part of the official agreement and work with legal counsel to defend their position.

Challenges and Controversies

Common Issues Faced During Oracle LMS Audits

Many companies face significant challenges during Oracle LMS audits, including unclear licensing requirements and the aggressive application of the Partitioning Policy. This can lead to large settlement demands and substantial compliance costs.

Strategies to Resist Unsupported Audit Findings

Companies should resist providing information about virtualization environments where Oracle software is not deployed and object to any audit findings that lack support in the applicable license agreements.

Clear documentation and a proactive defense strategy are essential.

Importance of Legal Counsel During the Audit Process

Engaging legal counsel throughout the audit process is crucial. Legal experts can help interpret complex licensing agreements, challenge unsupported audit findings, and ensure that Oracle does not enforce non-contractual policies.

Arguments Against Oracle’s Partitioning Policy

Lack of Explicit Mention in the Master Agreement or Ordering Documents

The Oracle Partitioning Policy is not explicitly mentioned or referenced in the Master Agreement or any Ordering Documents, weakening Oracle’s position during audits.

Definition of a Processor in the Master Agreement

The Master Agreement defines a Processor as “all processors where the Oracle Programs are installed and/or running.” This definition does not reference the Partitioning Policy, suggesting that it should not apply if programs are not actively running on all processors.

Difficulty in Locating the Partitioning Policy Within Oracle’s Documentation

The Partitioning Policy is not easily found within Oracle’s official documentation, which indicates that it may not be a binding part of the license agreements.

Strategies for Companies to Object to Oracle’s Audit Findings

Companies should challenge Oracle’s assumptions about program usage on systems without deploying Oracle software.

They should emphasize that the Partitioning Policy is not part of the official agreement and work with legal counsel to defend their position.

Practical Steps for Companies

Practical Steps for Companies

How to Prepare for an Oracle LMS Audit

Preparation for an Oracle LMS audit involves understanding your Oracle licensing agreements, maintaining thorough documentation, and tracking all Oracle software deployments.

Regular internal audits can help ensure compliance and identify potential issues before they arise.

Documenting Compliance and Resisting Unnecessary Information Requests

Ensure all Oracle software usage is well-documented. Maintain records of installations, usage metrics, and compliance with licensing terms.

During an audit, provide only the information explicitly required by the license agreement and resist sharing details about environments where Oracle software is not deployed.

Working with Legal Counsel to Challenge Unsupported Findings

Engage legal counsel experienced in Oracle licensing to help interpret your agreements and challenge any unsupported findings from the audit.

Legal support can ensure Oracle adheres to the terms of the Master Agreement and does not enforce non-contractual policies.

Six Arguments Oracle, Customers, Can Make

Six Arguments Oracle, Customers, Can Make
  1. Partitioning Policy Not Mentioned in Official Agreements The Oracle Partitioning Policy is not explicitly included in the Master Agreement or Ordering Documents and, therefore, should not be enforceable as part of the license terms.
  2. Clear Definition of Processor in the Master Agreement The Master Agreement defines a Processor as “all processors where the Oracle Programs are installed and/or running,” which should exclude processors where the programs are not actively running.
  3. No Unilateral Amendment Rights for Oracle Oracle cannot unilaterally amend the licensing agreement by publishing policies on its website. Any changes to the agreement must be mutually agreed upon.
  4. Accessibility Issues of the Partitioning Policy The Partitioning Policy is not easily found within Oracle’s official documentation, raising questions about its enforceability and legitimacy.
  5. Objecting to Assumptions of Program Usage on Non-Deployed Systems Companies should challenge Oracle LMS assumptions that all processors within a vCenter are running Oracle software if they are not. Documentation should clearly show where Oracle software is deployed.
  6. Importance of Legal Support to Protect Company Rights Engaging legal counsel is crucial to navigating audits, interpreting complex licensing terms, and protecting the company’s rights against unsupported or overly broad audit findings by Oracle LMS.

FAQ on Oracle Partitioning Policy

What is the Oracle Partitioning Policy? The Oracle Partitioning Policy details Oracle’s requirements for licensing physical processor cores in certain virtualization environments, including “soft partitioning” technologies like VMware.

Is the Partitioning Policy officially part of the Oracle license agreement? No, it is not explicitly mentioned in the Oracle Master Agreement or Ordering Documents.

How does Oracle enforce the Partitioning Policy during audits? Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) division aggressively applies the Partitioning Policy during audits, often resulting in large settlement demands for non-compliant companies.

Can companies challenge Oracle’s use of the Partitioning Policy in audits? Companies can argue that the Partitioning Policy is not part of the official license agreement and is not explicitly mentioned in the Master Agreement.

What should companies do if they are facing an Oracle LMS audit? Companies should document compliance thoroughly, resist unnecessary information requests about non-deployed environments, and work closely with legal counsel to challenge unsupported findings.

How does Oracle define a Processor in the Master Agreement? A Processor is defined as “all processors where the Oracle Programs are installed and/or running.”

Does Oracle have the right to unilaterally amend the license agreement? No, the Master Agreement does not allow Oracle to amend the agreement by unilaterally publishing policies on its website.

Why is the Partitioning Policy controversial? It is difficult to locate within Oracle’s documentation, raising questions about its enforceability and legitimacy.

What are the key components of the Partitioning Policy? The policy includes requirements for licensing physical processor cores in virtualization environments, particularly those using VMware, and varies based on VMware versions.

How can companies prepare for an Oracle LMS audit? They should maintain thorough documentation of Oracle software deployments, conduct internal audits regularly, and engage legal counsel to interpret licensing agreements.

What strategies can companies use to resist unsupported audit findings? Companies should object to assumptions of program usage on systems where Oracle software has not been deployed and challenge findings that are not supported by the license agreements.

What legal boundaries exist for Oracle’s ability to enforce the Partitioning Policy? Oracle’s Partitioning Policy is not part of the official license agreement, and its enforcement during audits can be legally challenged.

Why is it important to work with legal counsel during an Oracle audit? Legal counsel can help interpret licensing agreements, challenge unsupported findings, and ensure Oracle adheres to the terms of the Master Agreement.

What steps should companies take to document compliance? To provide clear documentation during an audit, companies should keep detailed records of installations, usage metrics, and adherence to licensing terms.

What are some arguments against Oracle’s Partitioning Policy? Some arguments include the policy not being mentioned in official agreements, the clear definition of Processor in the Master Agreement, Oracle’s no right to unilaterally amend the agreement, and the policy’s accessibility issues within Oracle’s documentation.

Author

  • 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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