Oracle PULA is Real but Why?

It is not always clear what rumors about Oracle licensing are true. With regard to the new Perpetual User License Agreement (PULA), some you hear is probably true. The best advice I keep in mind is that anything which was ever once negotiable remains negotiable. Oracle prices are not set in stone (or gold) as Oracle would like them to be.

The existing ULA spans one thru five years. At the end of the ULA the customer certifies their usage to Oracle and pays for any extra used. This means that if your license was for some number of Standard Editions, and you used twice that number of Enterprise Editions, plus extra cost options and the various packs only available in Enterprise Edition, that you pay for it all at the end.

Oracle database licenses are purchased with support. It is 22% per year, each year. Licenses have been cancelled when support was not paid, so it is mandatory. With My Oracle Support (MOS) comes connectivity back to Oracle for diagnostic reasons. While connectivity is not mandatory, it is obviosly beneficial, unless you’re stealing Oracle. They have the right to come in and inventory it, too.

Let the customer use options and features. If they use it, they will pay. There are no keys to Oracle code. Go ahead. Install it all! Use extra cost advanced features. Forget as a developer that these features multiply license costs. Embed that code.

The new PULA removes the time requirement, instead it is priced as a yearly fee according to an estimated usage. It is speculation to think that estimated usage removes the bump at the end. There is no indication that prices are going to come down. No price reduction has been announced. It is possibly a move to clarify; but, it still has flaws.

Oracle has twelve commercially available price lists today. Revenue from database licenses is down while application license revenue is up. Oracle has no incentive in making the database cheaper, and to my knowledge, the new pricing does not do so.

Oracle is expensive. Their licenses are confusing on top of complex. Legal departments don’t always agree on interpretations. The new PULA attempts to address some issues and it raises others. It will remain complicated.

I believe this is an attempt to tighten up the prices and guarantee that Oracle databases are used across the board… making it harder to leave Oracle for other products. Under the skin, it is harder for Oracle to track history with virtual databases in any one of many clouds. They exist. They multiply. They disappear.

Agreeing to a flat rate might resolve things in Oracle’s eyes; but paying for more than you need shouldn’t be the agenda. And don’t think for a minute that it will eliminate the fact that if you cheat, you will pay.

Amazon has a different price philosophy. See what I wrote on that in 2013 here.

I have written several posts on Oracle, Options, Packs, licenses in general, and I will be writing more. The price differences between Oracle SE on AWS and Oracle SE from Oracle are not representative of a true value.

The real test case will be AWS RDS license included for Oracle Enterprise Edition. In my eyes, the only Oracle database to own.

30 year career in data, analysis, architecture, transformations, migrations, replication, using Oracle, Sybase, SQL Server, DB/2, XDB, Informix, Ingres, Seed, SQL DB/4381, and others. Nobody buys a database. People buy solutions. AWS is my network.

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