Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment

James Peck 17-Feb-2022 10:12:48

Oracle Licensing is Complex – Fact!

Historically Oracle licensing has been a complex thing to understand. Taking into account the NUP or CPU metric, what is the core factor, is it soft or hard partitioned (Oracle’s terminology for virtualisation), all things to be understood when qualifying the license requirements for an on-premise Oracle Database deployment – amongst many others! Many customers have fallen foul of the Oracle licensing policies over the years, and you may have your experiences of an Oracle audit or heard the stories. Nobody has the time, inclination or often budget to get involved in a protracted and often expensive Oracle audit. Therefore staying on top of your Oracle licensing position has always been critical.

This was very much the case in the on-premise world, but equally, as more clients are already deployed or are looking at moving Oracle database workloads to the cloud it pays to ensure you know the rules and policies for deploying in Azure, AWS and Oracle’s own cloud – Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. For note Oracle does not currently have any licensing model for deploying on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – and whether this changes in the future we have no current guidance.

Oracle Licensing in Oracle Cloud

I'll start with Oracle's own public cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). They have two main licensing models that can be used when deploying database instances in OCI.

1. Oracle Bring Your Own License (BYOL)

BYOL allows you to re-deploy your existing licenses in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. This protects the investment you have made in Oracle Database licenses, and re-uses the asset but in either an IaaS or PaaS deployment. As with all things Oracle licensing there are specific rules and limitations, depending on the database edition, the specification of the cloud instance, and the licenses you currently own.

Let's assume you have Oracle Standard Edition CPU Licenses and you are looking to migrate to OCI.
For each supported processor license you may activate up to 4 OCPUs* in the hosted environment of the BYOL Cloud Service. The maximum number of OCPU’s is 8 per Oracle Standard Edition 2 database. So if you currently have 2 x CPU licenses for Oracle Standard Edition, then this would allow you to deploy up to 8 OCPUs in OCI. 

*OCPU is Oracle's licensing metric in OCI

Furthermore, should you have Oracle Enterprise Edition CPU licenses, then for each supported processor license you may activate up to 2 OCPUs of the BYOL Cloud Service.

So as you can see, if you are migrating existing licenses to Oracle Cloud, your existing licenses will dictate the size of the instance you can deploy on, without incurring any additional license costs. Obviously, if the size of the instance dictates additional licenses are required then you must buy the correct number of licenses.

2. License Included

This model includes the subscriptions for the underlying cloud infrastructure services, be they IaaS or PaaS services, but also includes the database license costs. This has numerous benefits such as:

  • Remove complex licensing models, and having to ensure you meet compliance rules – you can only ever consume the database cloud services you have licensed
  • Remove the threat of an audit
  • Remove ongoing expensive annual support bills – which only ever increase

If you have Oracle database workloads on-premise and want to explore what an OCI solution would look like from technical architecture and commercial point of view, the DSP-Explorer offer free no-obligation cloud assessment workshops.

Oracle Licensing in Azure and AWS

Again, Oracle has specific policies that allow you to redeploy your existing licenses in Azure and AWS or 'Authorised Cloud Environments' to use Oracle’s terminology. This protects the investment you have made in Oracle licenses, but understanding those policies, and the limitations is key. These policies also apply to new license purchases with the intention of deploying in AWS or Azure.

When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One, Standard Edition 2, or Standard Edition in the product name, the pricing is based on the size of the instance. Authorized Cloud Environment instances with four or fewer Amazon vCPUs, or four or fewer Azure vCPUs, are counted as 1 socket, which is considered equivalent to a single Oracle processor license. For Authorized Cloud Environment instances with more than four Amazon vCPUs, or more than four Azure vCPUs, every four Amazon vCPUs used (rounded up to the nearest multiple of four), and every four Azure vCPUs used (rounded up to the nearest multiple of four) equate to a licensing requirement of one socket.

So 4 vCPU = 1 CPU License
8 vCPU = 2 CPU Licenses

Under this cloud computing policy, Oracle Database Standard Edition may only be licensed on Authorized Cloud Environment instances up to 16 Amazon vCPUs or 16 Azure vCPUs. Oracle Standard Edition One and Standard Edition 2 may only be licensed on Authorized Cloud Environment instances up to 8 Amazon vCPUs or 8 Azure vCPUs. If licensing Database Standard Edition 2 by Named User Plus metric, the minimums are 10 NUP licenses per 8 Amazon vCPUs or 8 Azure vCPUs.

So be aware of the edition of the database you have licenses for, if you have existing licenses on-premise and you are redeploying those is AWS or Azure. If you are buying new licenses then you can only buy SE2 now.

For the purposes of licensing Oracle Enterprise Edition Database programs in an AWS or Azure, customers are required to count the maximum available vCPUs of an instance type as follows:

Licensing Oracle Enterprise Edition in AWS

  • 1 CPU license is required for every 2 vCPUs where hyper-threading is enabled
  • 1 CPU license is required for every 1 vCPU where hyper-threading is not enabled

Licensing Oracle Enterprise Edition in Azure

  • 1 CPU license is required for every 2 vCPUs where hyper-threading is enabled
  • 1 CPU license is required for every 1 vCPU where hyper-threading is not enabled

Nice and simple!

The DSP-Explorer Difference

The best-recommended course of action when deploying environments in public cloud is to speak to DSP-Explorer. We have years of licensing experience, and significant skills in terms of architecting your chosen cloud platform solution. In fact, we're 1 of only 3 accredited partners by Oracle UK to offer certified licensing support. We can run through the various options open to you, based on your current licenses, required performance from your cloud platform and architect a solution that is as cost-effective as possible, and leaves you in a compliant position when it comes to Oracle licensing.

You can get in touch with me directly at james.peck@dsp-explorer.com or you can reach the wider team at enquiries@dsp-explorer.com

For further reading, check out our Oracle Licensing content, which includes our very popular Oracle Licensing On-Demand Webinar.