Industry Blog

The Truth About Running Oracle in VMware

16th Aug 2020

Oracle’s longstanding policy remains that customers must license entire VMware clusters. Recent articles suggest customers may ignore Oracle’s non-contractual, online policy documents, specifically the one on server partitioning.

It is NOT true that customers may ignore Oracle’s policy on VMware. Besides, Oracle has many (other) options for forcing commercial resolution somewhere down the road.

Customers are still experiencing the financial leverage Oracle builds during audits based on how servers are virtualized. Rather than rehash the technical and contractual merits—or flaws—of Oracle’s position, we’ll present your options for interacting with Oracle.

  1. Live by Oracle’s Rules

    There are many ways to deploy Oracle software. Despite being over 90% of the virtualization market, VMware is not Oracle’s preference. It is true that Oracle may approve architectures that demonstrate physical segmentation at the network and storage layers. However, these nonstandard contractual terms will expire as VMware innovates and you upgrade. From a technical perspective, these terms introduce limitations that erode of running Oracle in VMware to begin with.

  2. Execute an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA)

    ULAs are typically deemed the most expensive option, where customers spend millions to deploy Oracle in any manner they want. Perpetual ULAs (or PULAs) extend this contractual concept by eliminating Oracle’s requirement to certify after a specified term. For those placing high value on being left alone, a well-negotiated ULA is advisable. The catch is the single, irreducible and perpetual (i.e., forever) payment to Oracle.

  3. Lawyer-up, Fight and Settle

    Articles written about Mars’ 2015 dispute with Oracle led many to believe it is possible to out-maneuver Oracle. Few companies, however, are prepared for the anxiety-ridden, costly distraction such an approach requires. While legal escalation may play a role within a well-negotiated outcome, the associated fortitude, budget and timing must be internally committed from the beginning.

  4. Feed the Beast

    This approach focuses Oracle on incremental purchases of products and services the account team is especially motivated to sell, e.g., cloud subscriptions. Few at Oracle will admit this anecdotal approach holds merit; however, most know that audits jeopardize the buying cycle of what is otherwise a quota-retiring customer. While such an approach does not absolve you of compliance infractions, it does honor Oracle with revenue along the way.


If you are running Oracle in VMware, then the strategy and associated cost must be considered in advance. Remend’s goal is to take uncertainty off the table, develop a workable solution and enable customers to focus on core competencies.

Contact us to learn how.