oracle database licensing

Oracle Failover Licensing – Oracle Disaster Recovery License

What Is Oracle Failover Licensing?

What is Oracle Failover Licensing exactly?

As a business, understanding Oracle disaster recovery (DR) licensing can be challenging.

Oracle’s licensing policies can be complex and confusing, even for the most experienced professionals!

Fret not, though; we’re here to help.

This comprehensive guide aims to answer common questions and clarify the process of Oracle DR licensing, allowing you to make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

Oracle Failover Licensing – The Essentials

The Foundation: Understanding “Installed and/or Running”

Before diving into the specifics of Oracle DR licensing, it’s crucial to comprehend the core licensing rule for Oracle software.

This rule applies to DR environments and dictates that all Oracle software considered “Installed and/or running” must be licensed.

Regardless of whether you actively use the software or not, a license is required if it is installed on your machines.

This applies to all environments: production, test, staging, and development.

However, Oracle offers a restricted-use development license. This means it cannot be employed for the test, production, failover, or any internal data processing and commercial activities.

Oracle licensing and Disaster Recovery

4 Key Oracle Disaster Recovery Methods

Oracle categorizes its DR methods into four main categories: Backup, Failover, Standby, and Remote Mirroring.

  1. Backup: Licensing is not required for database backups as long as they are not live copies (full install). Oracle permits the storage of backups without licensing, but it is important to note that a backup is not an actual running copy of the database software.
  2. Failover and the 10-Day Rule: Oracle allows you to operate its database software for up to 10 24-hour periods within a calendar year on one unlicensed spare server in a clustered environment with shared storage. Only one server per cluster can be unlicensed.
  3. Standby: In a standby configuration, both the primary server and any standby servers must be licensed, with licensing matching the primary server’s metrics and software.
  4. Remote Mirroring: Oracle must be fully licensed on the primary site, and if it is ever “installed and/or running” on the secondary site, all servers must be licensed.

Notable Exceptions and Questions

  • Oracle allows testing of backups on an unlicensed server four times a year, with each test not exceeding a two-day duration.
  • Synchronization or copying of binary files is not permitted during testing.
  • Backup solutions, including third-party solutions, do not require licensing as long as they adhere to the “installed and/or running” rule.
  • The 10-day rule only applies to clustered environments, as defined by Oracle, sharing one logical disk array in a single data center.
  • While Oracle Data Guard is included with the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, it does not permit running and maintaining a standby copy of the database for free. Active Data Guard, on the other hand, requires additional licensing.
  • In Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) licensing, RAC does not need to be licensed on the recovery server unless it has been used.
  • Some exceptions also apply to Oracle Data Management Cloud Services.

By understanding the intricacies of Oracle DR licensing and the various methods, businesses can better navigate this complex landscape and ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies.

Don’t risk non-compliance with Oracle’s Disaster Recovery Licensing policies!

Ensure you follow the correct licensing procedures by reviewing the 4 Key Disaster Recovery Methods outlined in this guide.

Contact us today at Redress Compliance to ensure you’re fully compliant with Oracle licensing and avoid costly mistakes.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson possesses 20 years of experience in Oracle license management. Having worked at Oracle for 9 years, he gained an additional 11 years of expertise in Oracle license consulting projects. Fredrik has provided assistance to over 150 organizations worldwide, ranging in size and tackling various Oracle licensing challenges, including Licensing Assessments, Oracle audits, Oracle ULAs, and more.