Prepare for getting the best return on your Oracle ULA investment
What is an Oracle ULA?
- Oracle ULA is ‘the all you can eat option’ from Oracle.
- ULA stands for Unlimited License Agreement.
- Pay an upfront fee to Oracle and use as much of the identified products for a fixed period of time.
This licensing option, one of the most popular for Oracle customers, can be both beneficial and turn out to be very risky.
If you want to leave this FAQ and jump to the ULA Certification Process, you can do so from here
Key Features of Oracle ULA
The key points to remember about a Oracle Unlimited License Agreement are:
- The Oracle ULA is a contract in which the customer pays license fees upfront for future use.
- The customer can use only a defined set of products.
- There is a fixed time period (or term) during which the products can be deployed.
- Allows for unlimited use of these set of products during the term of the agreement/contract.
- The customer has the right to claim all the deployed products as ‘perpetual licenses’ at the end of the term.
Oracle ULA Myths
There are quite a few myths connected with the Oracle ULA. Some of these are propagated by sales people while quite a few are because of ‘misunderstanding’ the contract documents. Some of the myths are enumerated below:
Myth 1: Oracle ULA has no risks.
Truth: The Unlimited License Agreement has many legal and commercial risks. Some of these risks are detailed later in the ULA FAQ.
Myth 2: Oracle ULA contracts are drawn in favor of the customer
Truth: (We have heard this myth many times from our customers!). It is absolutely not true. The ULA contract document, like most other publisher created contract, is heavily slanted to benefit Oracle.
Myth 3: Oracle ULA provides flexibility.
Truth: The answer here is a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’. There is flexibility for certain points like deployment or unlimited usage during the term of the ULA. There is no flexibility at the end of the term, in the case of mergers/acquisitions/divestiture, usage of additional products, etc.
Myth 4: Oracle ULAs lower the TCO in the long run.
Truth: This is a misconception of many of our clients. While in the ‘long-run’ we are all dead, the Unlimited License Agreement is intended to be more expensive for customers.
Myth 5: Customers cannot exit the Oracle ULA.
Truth: This is not true though sales-reps try to seed this doubt in the mind of the customer. We have helped a very large number of our clients ‘certify or exit the Unlimited License Agreement’
If you want to know more myths about Oracle licensing, you can contact CEO Sheshagiri Anegondi (Sheshu). He is amongst the foremost Oracle License Experts globally.
Oracle ULA Glossary
Accelerated Certification Date
The Accelerated Certification Date is the preponed date of certification when the customer:
- Breaches any of the Unlimited Deployment Terms of the Oracle ULA.
- Gets acquired by another entity.
- The Certification Date is the date on which the customer has to submit the details of the ULA products installed before the end of the term of the ULA.
- The certification date is generally 30 days after the end of the ULA term
- The Certification Process is the set of actions to be taken on the certification date.
- The main activity is to submit the list of installations of the Oracle product.
The certification process also defines what can be certified and which installations cannot be certified.
The Certified Deployment is the number of licenses installed and certified by a C-level executive of the company.
Oracle will need to verify the numbers (either by discussion or by a formal audit). After verification, Oracle will grant perpetual license to the customer.
Converted and Replaced Licenses
- Converted and Replaced Licenses are the list of all the versions of the ULA products that had been procured by the customer before entering into the Unlimited License Agreement. These licenses are converted into the ULA product list.
- Oracle says that customers will not have the right to use these licenses & instead use only the licenses under the ULA. This has no material impact on usage (because these licenses are replaced by the same products in the ULA).
- Customers will need to continue to pay the support price they were paying for the Converted & Replaced Licenses.
- To sum up on the treatment of license & support for the converted & replaced licenses:
- The Converted & Replaced Licenses become null & void
- The support for converted & replaced will need to be continued to be paid.
- The Customer Definition Section defines the details of the legal entity(s) that can use the ULA programs. If there are subsidiaries or more than one entity, they will be listed under a separate exhibit. Reference to the exhibit will be made in the customer definition section.
- The customer definition will also provide details of the allowability of additional entities or re-organisation in the customers legal structure.
- Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures are generally mentioned in separate sections.
- Unless mentioned otherwise, the Effective Date is the date when the term of the ULA begins.
- The Effective Date can be various of
- Being explicitly mentioned
- The date of signing the ULA ordering document
- If there are multiple dates of signature, then the last signed date of the customer signature.
- The Fees section defines the details of how the Technical Support Fees are calculated.
- This section also informs the details of any amounts of unused support that will be credited back to the customer.
License Definitions & Rules (LDR)
- The License Definitions & Rules can either be in the form of a booklet or a sub-set of the booklet.
- This document defines the license metrics and rules used by different Oracle products.
- The LDR can either be included as an exhibit or referenced through a hyperlink.
- The Omitted License section informs the customer that if any license procured earlier are (inadvertently) missed out and not listed in the Converted & Replaced Licenses, they will be added later.
- The customer is also informed that the support for the Omitted Licenses will need to be paid.
- The Ordered Programs informs which programs are for use in unlimited numbers.
- The section references the initial list of programs.
- This section informs the customer that the Software Update License & Support must be renewed annually.
- Generally, the annual fee is maintained at the same price during the term of the ULA. This is also mentioned in the Technical Support section of the Ordering Document.
- The section defines the geographic territories ( country names, worldwide, regions etc.) where the programs can be
Total Support Stream
- This section defines the meaning of the total support stream as the total of
- The existing support for the earlier procured licenses (this is the Converted & Replaced licenses)
- The support for the licenses procured under the ULA.
- Any future licenses procured because of mergers or acquisitions.
Unlimited Deployment Period
- The Unlimited Deployment Period is the period starting from the effective date of the order and the number of years (or months) that defines the end of the ULA term.
- This is the period during which the customer can deploy the programs included in the ULA.
Unlimited Deployment Right
- The Unlimited Deployment Right is the right given to the customer to deploy and use the included programs in an unlimited number (of the corresponding license metric) during the unlimited deployment period.
- This right gets terminated on the end of the ULA term.
Waiver of Extended Support Fees
- It is possible that some of the programs included in the ULA might move out of Premier Support and move into Extended Support.
- Generally, Extended Support is provided at an additional support fee.
- When the product is included in a ULA, Oracle waives the collection of the extended support fee during the term of the ULA.