Declaring an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement – Part I

Paul Bullen, Senior License Consultant Rocela

Last time we took a very high-level view of what you need to consider if you are weighing up purchasing an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (ULA). Let’s now assume that your projections and the cost of a ULA make it worthwhile and you’ve gone ahead and entered into a ULA: well done! So what now?

Firstly, you must communicate the ULA purchase internally and what it allows the appropriate software users (anyone who can influence the amount of Oracle software your business will deploy) to do. It is important that full details of what the terms of the ULA and the products involved are passed on. Forwarding a copy of the Ordering Document to the DBAs is definitely not the best way to do this: DBAs generally won’t have the inclination to read the details of commercial documents! Instead, you must distil the content and tell people what products are available for unlimited deployment, and for how long they remain unlimited.

This seems obvious, but from our extensive experience working with customers who own ULAs, it is clear that often over 30 pages of ordering document can sometimes dangerously be interpreted as:

“Use as much Oracle software as you want!”

There’s a real danger that the actual allowance and detail of the ULA gets lost between those who negotiated it and those who ultimately use the software (this is a problem outside of ULAs as well, but the potential risk when the belief that all Oracle software is available for unlimited use is bigger).

So, assuming your staff know what products they can use and for how long, do you wait until a month before the ULA declaration date and then start preparing to declare? If anything, owning a ULA means you have to pay more attention to SAM and the amount of software you deploy and use: you need to know that you are following or exceeding your forecast – there is little point in having a ULA and not gaining the return you expected. In fact, there is a danger that you deploy far less of the software than forecast (e.g. change of product choice, cancellation of a project) and suddenly the whole business case for the ULA is no longer valid.

Your ULA is a massive investment for your company: it is worth putting effort and time into ensuring it is being used properly as well as having your methods and usage reviewed by an independent expert such as Rocela.

There have been a number of occasions where we have seen clients with a ULA who do not fully understand how to use them. I’ll keep repeating the same message:

A ULA allows you to deploy an unlimited amount of a set of products for a one-off upfront capital cost upon which the support is based. There is no true up; there is no change to the support fee (excluding RPI).

So, to summarise:

• Ensure your software users understand what the ULA allows them to use, and how

Track your Oracle software deployment: not just the ULA products but related products

• Ensure you compare your usage against your ULA business case

• ULAs are huge investments and should be properly managed and reviewed during their course

• Use your ULA: understand and take advantage of its features

Next time we’ll take a look at declaring your ULA in more detail. In the meantime, please ask any questions or leave any comments below.

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