Oracle Partitioning Policy Document – Do you follow it?

Oracle Partitioning Policy Document – Explained

The Oracle Partitioning Policy is a document that outlines Oracle’s requirements for licensing physical processor cores in certain virtualization environments.

  • The policy applies to all Oracle products and includes “soft partitioning” technologies such as VMware.
  • Oracle’s License Management Services division has been known to aggressively apply this policy during audits, resulting in large settlement demands for non-compliant companies.
  • The Partitioning Policy is not officially part of the Oracle license agreement and is not explicitly referenced in the Master Agreement.
  • Companies facing audits by Oracle LMS should resist requests for information about virtualization environments where Oracle programs have not been deployed and object to any proposed audit findings that are not supported by the terms of the applicable license agreements.
  • It is advisable for these companies to work closely with legal counsel throughout the audit process to protect their rights and ensure that Oracle is not seeking to enforce unsupported audit findings.

What is Oracle Partitioning Policy Document? – Longer answer.

Oracle’s software products, including WebLogic and Database, are widely used. However, their license agreements and compliance practices can be complex and lead to unexpected expenses if not followed carefully. These issues may be discovered during an audit by Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) division.

One source of exposure during Oracle LMS audits is the “Oracle Partitioning Policy | Topic: Server/Hardware Partitioning” document, which can be found at: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf. This policy requires that all physical processor cores in certain virtualization environments must be licensed for any Oracle product used within those environments. This includes “soft partitioning” technologies such as VMware. Oracle’s LMS division has been known to aggressively apply this policy during audits, resulting in large settlement demands for companies that are found to be non-compliant. However, it is not clear what gives Oracle the right to impose these demands on their customers, and there may be ways for audited companies to challenge the use of this policy.

The Oracle Partitioning Policy is not officially part of the Oracle license agreement. The Master Agreement, which forms the basis of Oracle license agreements, does not reference or incorporate the Partitioning Policy. Additionally, the Master Agreement does not allow Oracle to unilaterally amend the agreement by publishing policies on its website. The grant of license in the Master Agreement only allows for the non-exclusive, perpetual use of Oracle programs for internal business operations, subject to the terms of the Master Agreement and any Program Documentation, which is defined as the program user manual and installation manual. It is not clear where the Partitioning Policy can be found within the Oracle Help Center’s documentation.

At best, the Partitioning Policy might be interpreted as Oracle’s statement about which virtualization technologies will not result in a further inquiry regarding processors where Oracle programs are “installed and/or running” – a kind of safe harbor for the Oracle-approved “hard partitioning” technologies. However, this does not give Oracle LMS the right to assume that all processors within a vCenter have been used to install and run Oracle programs, as they often do during audits of companies using Oracle programs within VMware environments.

Companies facing audits by Oracle LMS should resist requests for information about virtualization environments where Oracle programs have not been deployed and object to any proposed audit findings that are not supported by the terms of the applicable license agreements. It is advisable for these companies to work closely with legal counsel throughout the audit process to protect their rights and ensure that Oracle is not seeking to enforce unsupported audit findings.

Six arguments Oracle customers can make to Oracle

  • Companies can argue that the Partitioning Policy is not explicitly mentioned in the Master Agreement or any of the Ordering Documents and therefore is not part of the official license agreement.
  • The definition of a Processor in the Master Agreement as “all processors where the Oracle Programs are installed and/or running” is clear and does not require further interpretation or reference to the Partitioning Policy.
  • The Master Agreement does not allow Oracle to unilaterally amend the agreement by publishing policies on its website.
  • The Partitioning Policy is not easy to locate within Oracle’s documentation and may not be readily accessible to licensees.
  • If Oracle LMS proposes audit findings that assume program usage on systems where those programs have not run, companies should object to these findings early and often.
  • Companies should work closely with legal counsel to protect their rights and challenge any unsupported audit findings.

FAQ about Oracle Partitioning Policy Document

  1. What is the Oracle Partitioning Policy? The Oracle Partitioning Policy is a document that outlines Oracle’s requirements for licensing physical processor cores in certain virtualization environments. It applies to all Oracle products and includes “soft partitioning” technologies such as VMware.
  2. Is the Partitioning Policy officially part of the Oracle license agreement? No, the Partitioning Policy is not mentioned or referenced in the Oracle Master Agreement or any of the Ordering Documents. It is not clear where it can be found within Oracle’s documentation.
  3. How does Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) division enforce the Partitioning Policy? LMS has been known to aggressively apply the Partitioning Policy during audits, resulting in large settlement demands for non-compliant companies.
  4. Can companies challenge the use of the Partitioning Policy? Yes, companies can argue that the Partitioning Policy is not part of the official license agreement and is not explicitly mentioned in the Master Agreement. They can also object to any proposed audit findings that are not supported by the terms of the applicable license agreements and work closely with legal counsel to protect their rights.
  5. What should companies do to avoid issues with the Partitioning Policy during an audit? Companies should ensure that they are compliant with the terms of their Oracle license agreement and be prepared to provide documentation demonstrating their compliance. They should also resist requests for information about virtualization environments where Oracle programs have not been deployed and object to any proposed audit findings that are not supported by the terms of the applicable license agreements. It may also be advisable to work with legal counsel throughout the audit process.

How we can help your company

  • Assessing the current Oracle licensing arrangements and identifying any potential issues or areas of non-compliance.
  • Providing guidance on how to bring the company into compliance with Oracle’s licensing requirements.
  • Assisting with the preparation and submission of documentation to support the company’s compliance.
  • Negotiating with Oracle on behalf of the company to resolve any disputes or issues related to the Partitioning Policy or other Oracle licensing matters.
  • Advising the company on how to best respond to requests for information or proposed audit findings from Oracle’s License Management Services division.
  • Providing ongoing support and guidance to help the company maintain compliance with Oracle’s licensing requirements.