Licensing, Oracle,

What is an Oracle ULA – Unlimited License Agreement?

Short Answer

An Oracle ULA empowers infinite installations of software for pre-negotiated license and support fees with no true-up at the end.

In-Depth Answer

ULAs are a contract structure initiated by negotiating a net license figure with Oracle based on estimated usage, for a specific set of products, over a multi-year period. Annual support is set in perpetuity (forever) as a percentage of net license between 18% and 22%. The annual support fee will not change regardless of much software you certify.

As good as this may sound, if you are considering a ULA, then STOP!

Signing a ULA pours the Oracle concrete up your neck by rolling all legacy support contracts together. Whatever flexibility you had to cancel poorly-discounted support prior to the ULA will be forfeited.

But, if you’ve already signed a ULA, then install and certify so much software you won’t need to license more for many years to come. Certification is the requirement to report to Oracle’s audit organization how much software was deployed during the term as signed off by an executive of your company.

A ULA, the certification process, and the ensuing months and years of haggling with Oracle play out in a myriad of ways. Oracle Sales is often dis-incentivized to see a customer’s certification accepted; in fact, Oracle is not contractually-obligated to do so. Worse yet, many customers are ill-informed and either extend their ULA or roll into another one.

We can tell when a customer has had a ULA in the past because, for example, all database products are on a single support contract, falling prey to re-pricing, matching service levels, etc. Current administrations may even blame their predecessors for executing such an expensive and inflexible contract that no one can figure out how to optimize.

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