What is an Oracle ESL – Embedded Software License?

Short Answer

ESL is the most restrictive license model for Oracle software whereby no administrative or direct access is allowed to the database.

In-Depth Answer

Did you ever install TurboTax or QuickBooks on your desktop prior to them as cloud-based solutions? There was undoubtedly a database running underneath unbeknownst to you. Such is the purpose of Oracle’s ESL model to make the database install and run transparently under an application such that the end-user has no idea Oracle is there.

For all but the most simple of on-premise applications, it is difficult to make a database solution as complex and powerful as Oracle install, run, and be managed transparently. Hence, most software vendors and customers should be leery of embedded licensing. This is not to say it’s impossible as Database Standard Edition is inherently less complex than Enterprise.

This FAQ is one of the more low-volume internet searches we’ve written a response for, but its important. Any software publisher participating as an Oracle sub-licensor under the ESL model should assume the end-user installs are not living within ESL boundaries and reach out to us.

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