Have you ever had, or are you currently engaged in an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (ULA)?

The Independent Oracle licensing experts at Version 1 regularly speak to customers who have Unlimited License Agreements (ULAs) or even Perpetual Unlimited License Agreements (PULAs) who have stated their objective of denouncing Oracle or having a strategy of non-Oracle platforms as a “last resort”.

Coupled with a generally very strong desire to reduce annual support costs, this leads to an interesting situation. What should one do with their ULA and its associated support costs?

The following post discusses seven critical points of ULA ownership and reiterates some of the essential elements to be considered.

If any of the critical points below are of concern to you, please get in touch for a consultation with Version 1’s independent Oracle Licensing Consultants today.

1. No True ‘Up’

If you have a ULA, you should deploy as much of those unlimited Oracle products as you need during the unlimited deployment period. There is no true ‘up’ or adjustment of support costs on declaration and it makes sense to ensure your deployment is maximised. This cannot be stressed enough. The number of organisations Version 1 Licensing Consultants see with Oracle ULAs who misunderstand this rule is bewildering. Not using your ULA to its fullest extent is a waste of your investment. The more you deploy, the more value you obtain from the ULA.

2. No Reduction in Support Costs

Your support costs are consolidated and fixed into a single stream on agreement of the ULA. You will pay this Total Support Stream indefinitely unless something very significant happens to your estate. This Support Stream combines all previous support costs associated with limited quantity license with the new support element for the unlimited deployment right. Combined with the previous point, you can see why it makes sense to ensure you get the best declaration possible out of a ULA.

3. Be Careful with ‘ULA Renewals’

Towards the end of an unlimited deployment period, many organisations enter into discussions with Oracle for a ‘ULA renewal’, essentially increasing the term of unlimited deployment and perhaps adding some extra products to the list of unlimited deployment programs. In certain circumstances, ‘renewal’ does make sense – however, we urge you to carefully assess your situation and to treat ‘renewal’ as an exceptional circumstance. The norm should be for declaration or ‘exit’ of the ULA at the end of the initial term.

4. No Easy Way Out

Contrary to what you may think, Oracle doesn’t discourage ULAs. The creation of a perpetually guaranteed and indivisible support stream protects all-important annual revenues. This is supported by the contractual language that creates the support stream and explains why it is often extremely hard for organisations to reduce their support costs post-ULA.

5. Embrace the ULA

The ‘Oracle as a last resort’ policy we are seeing a number of customers adopting makes no sense when you have a fixed support stream and unlimited usage. Agreement of a ULA should mean large-scale adoption and migration to the Oracle products covered by the ULA. You will pay no more for using Oracle and potentially large savings can be made against other vendors.

6. Unlimited Deployment Programs Doesn’t Mean Unlimited Oracle Products

This may seem like an obvious point but we still see organisations being exposed by it. A ULA is for a defined set of Oracle products. It covers these defined products only, however, the ability to maximise deployment creates a risky situation. What if you have deployed unlimited deployment products en-masse but have inadvertently used or deployed a limited or unlicensed product in the same way?

This can mean hundreds or thousands of Processor licenses-worth of product exposure, often without awareness until an audit by Oracle. Such situations are common and cause significant risk to licensees. Education and independent verification of your ULA declaration and on-going Software Asset Management is critical.

7. All is Not Lost

Even if you have or have previously had a ULA, there are still likely to be many optimisation steps which can be taken to improve your utilisation of Oracle licensing and perhaps reduce your support costs.

If any of the above points or other issues relating to Oracle Unlimited License Agreements are of concern to you, let the Independent Oracle Licensing Experts help you and contact Version 1 today.