fbpx

What is an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (ULA)?

An Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) is a contractual agreement with Oracle that provides a customer with (typically) an unlimited volume of licenses for a specified set of Oracle products and for a fixed duration, typically for a 3-year period.

For Oracle, it is a way of securing reoccurring revenue, as maintenance becomes fixed and historic perpetual licenses are generally consolidated into a single agreement, making it challenging to extract and terminate licenses after everything has been effectively bundled together.

Is an Oracle ULA really “unlimited”

A common misconception of an Oracle ULA license is that you can deploy as much of any Oracle software as you wish, and that you have mitigated any risk of an official audit.

In reality, an Oracle ULA is only for specified products and some volumes may still be capped, whilst others are ‘unlimited’… (up to a potential limit of 100,000). An example would be where database products and options are unlimited, but Real Application Clusters (RAC) or Advanced Security are restricted to an agreed volume.

What are the advantages of an Oracle ULA?

Benefits of an Oracle ULA include financial predictability and freedom to increase your usage of the products at a time to suit you, as a fixed price is negotiated for the deployment of the specified products, for the agreement term.

Oracle cloud customers can also take advantage of Bring Your Own License (BYOL), to save ~33% on support through the Oracle Support Rewards program. Allowing them to save money on their cloud deployments.

ULAs can also provide great flexibility to deploy products in a controlled way within virtualized environments, without having to worry about license compliance.

A ULA can therefore support agility, but the timing, lifespan and eventual exit of the agreement requires careful consideration, planning and execution.

When a customer signs a ULA then the best day to consider the implications of the exit is the day after purchasing it.

Customers could reduce 3rd party spend by replacing the use of the existing software with oracle products included within the ULA. This can make a ULA financially attractive as the investment in oracle can reduce other 3rd party spend.

What are the disadvantages of an Oracle ULA?

Oracle ULA’s suit organizations in a pattern of growth, where they want the flexibility to deploy what they need at a time that suits them. But it’s a long-term commitment, so what happens if business takes a downturn? or if the business is sold or acquired by another company? Or there is a change in the products required within the business.

The reality is that you’re not in a flexible position if your requirements change or diminish and the ULA is no longer fit for purpose.

For example, your support costs are fixed at the point that the ULA agreement is made. This means that the cost is fixed regardless of the volume of products deployed throughout the ULA term. This can be beneficial, particularly if more software is deployed than initially expected, and you pay a premium for this privilege. The maintenance costs are often fixed within the ULA for the period after a ULA expires.

However – when you sign up to a ULA, typically your existing licenses will generally be terminated and incorporated into the new ULA. This means that the existing maintenance spend will be incorporated into the new ULA maintenance costs.

This consolidation can make it challenging to break the single support agreement if you need to downsize and products are no longer needed at a later stage. Therefore, it can be a better strategic option to not merge your existing licenses into the ULA, especially if it is possible that you’d want to down-size and eliminate support costs in future.

An Oracle ULA should therefore be considered as a ‘strategic’ purchase, when the benefits can be realized throughout the term and you can commit to the on-going maintenance costs after the ULA period.

What are the common mistakes with an Oracle ULA?

One of the biggest mistakes Oracle ULA customers make, is failing to appreciate the boundaries of the agreement and falling into the trap of deploying Oracle software that is not covered under their agreement.

This non-compliance is inevitably identified when the certification process is carried out at the end of the ULA term and the resulting penalties can make it so expensive that the best option is to renew the ULA at an inflated price, even if that is not your desired strategy.

Is it possible to cancel an Oracle ULA?

Generally, a ULA is a non-cancellable agreement for the term, however the ULA may have it written in to your terms and conditions that your may be able to cancel under specific conditions (For example, the ULA may require you to give Oracle a certain amount of notice before canceling, or it may allow you to cancel only for certain reasons, such as if Oracle breaches the agreement). If the agreement allows it, then customers should consider the following implications:

  • There may be fees associated with canceling the ULA. These fees could be based on the length of time remaining on the agreement, the number of licenses you have deployed, or other factors.
  • You may still be required to pay for licenses or services that you have already received.
  • You will no longer be entitled to the benefits of the agreement, such as access to Oracle’s software and support services.
  • You may have to pay a termination fee. The amount of the termination fee will depend on the terms of the agreement.

What happens to your licenses at the end of the ULA?

When you exit the ULA, you are contractually obliged to declare what Oracle software you have deployed via an Oracle ULA Certification – this is essentially an Oracle audit and needs careful preparation.

Hopefully, Oracle agree with your measurement and declaration, but be prepared for Oracle to question your data (therefore its recommended to use an Oracle LMS verified solution like Certero for Oracle).

Once the certification is completed, Oracle will convert the licenses into standard perpetual licenses.

Deploying Oracle products to certain virtualization platforms during the ULA period can cause problems at certification time if insufficient licenses have been allocated to meet with oracles partitioning policies for the specific hardware / software partitioned environments (e.g: VMware) so you should ensure you have allocated sufficient in declarations.

Remember – your ongoing support costs after the ULA expires are generally defined within the ULA irrespective of what quantity of licensed products you are actually using at the end of the ULA.

Summary:

An Oracle ULA can offer great advantages to customers but it is a strategic commitment that is not easily reversed.

License compliance must be maintained for the duration of the deployment period. Failure to manage the ULA correctly during the deployment period will often result in additional costs when existing the ULA.

Be sure to govern your ULA from the beginning and engage the help of independent Oracle licensing experts who can leverage Oracle LMS-Verified technology solutions to give you full visibility of your Oracle deployments and help to strategize and navigate the ULA and post-ULA process.

About Certero

Certero Professional Services allow you to easily expand your internal Software Asset Management team with Certero’s specialist global team of Software Asset Management (SAM) experts, all working in harmony with Certero technology to deliver a complete, unified, enterprise-class Software Asset Management service.

Certero’s dedicated Oracle licensing specialists use Certero’s own Oracle LMS-Verified Technology solutions to deliver advanced Technology-Led Services to customers, providing real-time visibility of Oracle software deployments across a full enterprise-scope.

The Certero for Oracle solution is formally verified by Oracle License Management Services (LMS) in all three categories: Database & Database Options, Fusion Middleware and Oracle Java SE.

Follow us on Linkedin for more SAM
updates

i

Read more like this from
Certero

Need help understanding your software use rights?

Certero’s [software-as-a-service] Solution

Certero help organizations transform their outdated operations and technologies in days and weeks not years. All of Certero’s solutions can be delivered as SaaS with no loss of functionality. 

Certero Unified Platform
Learn more about Certero’s truly unique ‘unified’ platform.

Digital Transformation Edition
Transform in days and weeks, not months and years, start your journey now.

Verified Oracle LMS/GLAS Solution
Verified LMS (License Management Services), now GLAS (Global Licensing & Advisory Services) solution.

Cloud Management
Manage Visibility, Cost and Governance of your Cloud Resources 

Enterprise Standard Edition – ITAM / SAM for Wintel
Default solution to manage ITAM/SAM for a Wintel environment. 

Enterprise Premium Edition – ITAM / SAM for Wintel
All you need in one place to manage your ITAM/SAM for a Wintel & Citrix environment. 

Datacenter
Stand-a-lone or holistic solutions for IBM, SAP and Oracle.

Software License Compliance
One Stop Shop, products and services for any solution – all in one

Business Intelligence Solution
See how to turn DATA into INFORMATION then transform into KNOWLEDGE, all in a few clicks. 

IT Asset Visibility
Find out: What do I own? Where is it located? Who is using it?

ITSM & CMDB Integration 
Populating the CMDB with ‘Quality’ asset information is more critical than ever

SaaS Subscription Management
Discover, manage and optimize your SaaS investments.

Everything in One place, True Unification

IT Hardware, Software, SaaS and Cloud Asset Management products that can run ‘stand-a-lone’ or ‘holistically’ and optimally together as a single solution, no dependencies. True unification across all asset and platforms and all delivered as SaaS. All of Certero’s products have the best TTV (Time to Value) by some distance.

Certero for Enterprise ITAM
Networks, printers, routers, Wintel, Mac, Linux, zLinux, Unix, all virtualizations and much more….

Certero for Enterprise SAM
Focused on Wintel software vendors, including automated solutions for Microsoft, Adobe and much more…

Certero App Centre 
Enterprise ‘Application Portal’ for Self-Service application provisioning.

Certero for Mobile
Go beyond standard MDM and deliver full management and security for your mobile workforce.

Certero SRDB (Software Recognition)
Transform raw software inventory data into actionable intelligence about application usage and licensing.

Certero for Oracle 
Optimize your Oracle Database, Middleware and E-Business Suite applications.

Certero for IBM
Discover and manage all IBM software & entitlements across the network. Dual Inventory, ILMT and Certero.

Certero for SAP Applications
Managing and automating the analysis of complex SAP named user and engine licenses across your estate. 

Passworks
An intuitive self-service password reset solution that can reduce service desk calls by 30%. 

PowerStudio
PC Power Management solution. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice

Rated #1 for SAM Customer Satisfaction year after year, after year

Blog
For the latest in ITAM, SAM, Cloud and SaaS Asset Management

White Papers and eBooks 
Download the latest white papers and eBooks for key insights and guides.

News
Read the latest news from Certero and the industry.

Events and Webinars
Keep up to date with Certero’s latest webinars and events.

 

Videos
View our range of product videos, webinars and customer case studies. 

Data Sheets
Download our datasheets which highlight the key benefits and features of our world class products and services. 

Case Studies 
See how organization around the globe change they way they [Do IT].

We think [and do] IT Differently

We don’t believe in claiming to be something we’re not. We will not do mediocre, average, indifferent, or outdated. We are different and will do it differently.

About Us
Get to know us more

Our Story
See how our approach is different

Our Journey
A timeline of events

Our Vision, Mission and Purpose
Mission, Purpose and Values

Careers
Browse our current roles

Locations
Find our nearest location