Oracle licenses and the cloud Cloud licensing

Oracle licenses and the cloud

Suppose the number of Oracle licenses you acquired in the past, is in line with the use. That is, you’re compliant with all the licensing rules Oracle come up with. The  license form you use is the so called ‘Full use’ license, this is the most common license form. Everybody happy. But will this change when moving servers, databases or middleware  to the public cloud?

Well , ‘It depends…’ :

1. Is the chosen cloud provider an ‘authorized cloud’ by Oracle

2. Are you going to use your own licenses (BYOL = ‘Bring Your Own License’) or is this included in the cloud solution

3. Is the use of the software the same as it ever was

I’ll try to explain this in chapters below.

1. Is the chosen cloud provider an ‘authorized cloud’ by Oracle.

Oracle has approved a few cloud-providers to run Oracle software at the same licensing-conditions as if it ran at your own company.

These cloud providers are at the moment of writing:

  • Amazon Web Services – Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • Microsoft Windows Azure Platform
  • Oracle Cloud

This means that running Oracle at a ‘not approved’ provider, such as, blue ocean etc. you’re at great risk, because of the – much battled – rule when running Oracle at VMware or other hypervisors. You’ll have to pay the physical cores in stead of the virtual cpu’s.

Counting of licenses in the above mentioned authorized cloud-environment:

  • Processor based: 1 virtual core = 1 physical core
  • Standard Edition (One) : 4 virtual cores = 1 socket (<= 16 virtual cores)
  • Standard named user plus licensing applies, including counting the minimums where applicable

What about Verizon? They claimed the following: “Verizon is an approved vendor of Oracle’s Authorized Cloud Environment (ACE) program”. In the meantime the stopped as a public cloud provider.

By the way, bare in mind that in general a development-, test- and acceptance- environment also needs to be licenses. ‘In general’, because there are exceptions.

 2. No licenses needed?

Within the authorized cloud-providers you can choose for a model which includes Oracle licensing. So you don’t need to  invest in licenses for a project that lasts a few months for example.

This is the case for

Amazon RDS (Remote Database Service)


The subscription model of Verizon.

This models can be cost-efficient when you’ve got short-term projects.

3. Is the use of the software the same as it ever was

Why is this important related to the cloud? Because it’s very tempting to publish services / software in the public of private cloud to be used by everyone. Not only by your own company.

When acquiring standard software from Oracle you buy a ‘full use’ license. In short a few characteristics of this license:

– Solely for your internal business operations

– You may not make the programs available in any manner to any third party for use in the third party’s business Operations


When you provide the software for other users than your own company you are using another license-model: ‘hosting’:

– Providing commercially available applications or services to multiple end users which includes access to Oracle programs and/or processing of customers data using the Oracle programs.

There are two types of hosting licenses:

– Embedded Software Licenses (ESL)  – Customer is owner of the license

– Propriarty Application Hosting (PAH) – The ISV is owner of the license

The prices of the latter, the PAH, are not fixed, and negotiable.


What kind of criteria does Oracle use to determine what sort of licenses you need:

  • Does the Customer/partner sells a pre-packaged, “commercially available applications / service
  • Are customizations required for end users
  • Do end users / customers expect to have access to the Oracle Programs to modify the data schema
  • Are all updates for the Oracle Programs delivered via updates to the customer / partner solution / application
  • Who provides technical support: Customer or Partner
  • Does Oracle assist the partner / customer with the end-user sale
  • What distribution model: one to many
  • Internal Use only




Approved cloud-providers:

Faq’s of running Oracle at Verizon:

Licensing Development and Test-environments:

Amazon RDS:

Oracle cloud:

Microsoft Azure:


One Response

  1. May 26, 2017