Oracle ULA Exit – Avoid paying more for Oracle



Oracle ULA Exit – Why you should care

Oracle ULA exit is another name for when an Oracle ULA is certified. An Oracle ULA (Unlimited License Agreement) is a contractual arrangement for the unrestricted usage of a designated set of Oracle products over a specified period. Despite its appeal as an “all you can eat” deal, many organizations pay more for their Oracle licensing than anticipated, leading to awkward discussions with finance and senior management.

Oracle ULAs typically last for three years. At the start of the agreement, organizations must convert any perpetual licenses they possess and pay an annual “total support stream” fee, which may increase each year and is defined in the contract.

Due to the nature of the ULA, organizations may believe they have unlimited access to all the Oracle software covered in the agreement once the fee has been paid. However, this is often not the case, and organizations end up paying high “total support stream” costs that don’t align with their products.

The clauses govern the restrictions of a ULA in the agreement. Some clauses relate to product and usage, while others refer to the organization or the term of the ULA. At the end of the ULA term, organizations have two options: certify their usage to Oracle or extend the agreement for an additional three years or more.

Certifying involves declaring the usage of Oracle products and adhering to Oracle’s certification clause in the ULA. Oracle will then use this information to determine the number of software licenses to grant the organization. Extending the ULA is usually done when a business realizes the complexity of its Oracle estate and opts to avoid having to declare all usage by extending the agreement instead. However, this means facing the same choices and potential issues at the end of the extended term but on a larger scale.

The main risks associated with the Oracle ULA include a failure to control the Oracle estate and to determine the value of the ULA before entering into one. A failure to determine the value of the ULA can result in overpaying for licenses if consumption decreases. In contrast, toxic consumption of Oracle products outside the ULA can lead to unexpected bills or breach of deployment terms. Leaving the Oracle estate unmanaged can result in difficulty in accurately declaring usage, leading to a cycle of never-ending ULAs and potential financial and legal complications.

To avoid a ULA disaster, it is recommended to commission an Oracle Effective License Position before entering into a ULA or to procure the necessary tools and skills to achieve full visibility and control of the software assets if already in a ULA. This will help determine the cost-benefit of a ULA, identify toxic consumption outside the scope of the agreement, and make informed decisions on whether to certify or extend the agreement. Not waiting until the last minute is important, as a proactive management approach is key to avoiding significant cost increases.

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