Licensing, Oracle, Technology Advisory,

What is Oracle’s policy for licensing high availability and disaster recovery?

Short Answer

The better question: What is a good faith, defensible position on the value associated with a given HA/DR strategy?

In-Depth Answer

Oracle’s Licensing Data Recovery Environments document highlights three basic scenarios that have been around for decades and written about ad nauseam: a) clustering, b) copying, synchronizing, or mirroring, and c) tape. Even so, customers routinely confuse the 10-day rule with the 4 by 2-day annual free allowances among all three scenarios.

Thus, to clarify, 10-day applies only to active-passive clustering and 4 by 2-day only to testing tape backups, and neither apply to copying, synchronizing, or mirroring whatsoever. Also, Oracle has no concept of an unlicensed cold standby.

The nuances of copying, synchronizing or mirroring are especially problematic.

There is a vast range of solutions in this category, including standby databases and array mirrors that most understand to require licensing for the servers designated as failover. To Oracle, a virtual machine image is no different. It is a copy of Oracle software and the associated data files that are actively maintained and faster to deploy than (re)installing the database, restoring from tape, and mounting for production. The difference in recovery point and time is why Oracle seeks compensation.

Nothing described in the last paragraph falls within either of the free allowances. Rather, Oracle seeks licensing for the physical servers utilized to test–even if only once–the virtual machine images or whatever technology is being used to copy, synchronize, or mirror.

Of course, Remend doesn’t exist to help Oracle enforce its polices. Customers ultimately decide what to share and how to compensate Oracle. We certainly maintain strong opinions.

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