Oracle ULA

Oracle ULA Certification – Oracle Will Try To Stop You

What is Oracle ULA Certification?

Oracle ULA Certification is the process an organization follows at the end of its Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) with Oracle. It involves:

  • Review and document how many Oracle products they’ve used.
  • Reporting these numbers to Oracle.
  • Receiving perpetual licenses for the reported amount once Oracle verifies and approves it.

What You Should Know

  • Unpreparedness Can Be Costly: If you’re unprepared for the Oracle ULA certification, you might end up paying for unlicensed software that Oracle discovers during the audit.
  • Virtualization and Cloud Policies: Oracle’s licensing policies around virtualization and cloud often pose challenges for organizations.
  • Importance of Preparation and Management: Organizations must effectively prepare and manage the Oracle ULA certification process to avoid paying for software they don’t need or have mistakenly used. Read our 10-step guide for how to succeed in the certification.
Oracle ULA Certification - 3 actions you should take

Introduction to Oracle ULA Certification

Oracle ULA (Unlimited License Agreement) Certification is pivotal for organizations utilizing Oracle products under a ULA.

This certification plays a critical role in the following:

  • Defining Usage Rights determines how many licenses an organization will retain post-ULA.
  • Ensuring Compliance: Proper certification is key to staying compliant with Oracle’s licensing agreements.
  • Financial Planning: It impacts future financial obligations towards Oracle products.

Understanding the ULA Certification Process

The ULA certification process involves a series of steps to accurately declare Oracle product usage. It includes:

  • C-Level Executive Involvement: A high-level executive must verify the number of processors for the Oracle products.
  • Deployment Assessment: Organizations must count the deployed number of processors or application user licenses.
  • Documentation and Verification: The process involves completing and submitting detailed reports, like the Global Deployment Report, for Oracle’s assessment.

Pitfalls to Avoid During the Oracle ULA Certification Process

oracle ula certification pitfalls
  • Incorrectly counting licenses is one of the main pitfalls to avoid during the Oracle ULA certification process. This can lead to over- or under-licensing, resulting in unnecessary costs and non-compliance issues. It’s essential for companies to accurately identify and document all Oracle deployments and licenses to avoid this pitfall.
  • Deploying non-Oracle ULA software is another pitfall to avoid. This can also lead to non-compliance issues and costly penalties. Companies should ensure they only deploy Oracle software covered under their ULA agreement.
  • Failing to plan for the certification process is also a common pitfall. The certification process can be complex and time-consuming, and companies need to plan and budget to minimize potential risks and costs. This includes identifying and documenting all Oracle deployments and licenses and seeking assistance from experts in the field if necessary.

Challenges in Oracle ULA Management

Managing an Oracle ULA involves navigating various risks and complexities:

  • Under-Deployment Risks: This occurs when the forecasted growth or product usage does not materialize, leading to surplus licenses.
  • Compliance Management: Ensuring compliance with Oracle’s licensing terms throughout the ULA term is crucial to avoid potential audits and penalties.

Strategies for Effective ULA Management:

  • Early and Continuous Assessment: Regularly assess and document the usage of Oracle products to stay ahead of compliance requirements.
  • Proactive Planning for ULA Expiry: Strategize the next steps well in advance of the ULA term ending, considering options like renewal or transitioning to different agreement types.
  • Engaging with Oracle License Experts: Seek guidance from professionals who specialize in Oracle licensing to navigate the complexities of ULA management effectively.

Best Practices for Oracle ULA Certification

  1. Start Early: Begin preparations 6-12 months before the ULA term ends.
  2. Accurate Counting: Use Oracle-approved tools or seek expert assistance for precise counting of licenses.
  3. Review Oracle’s Compliance Rules: Stay informed about Oracle’s licensing policies and updates.
  4. Negotiate Effectively: Engage in informed negotiations with Oracle for favorable terms.
  5. Plan for Cloud Deployments: Ensure compliance with Oracle’s cloud licensing rules for deployments in public clouds like AWS or Azure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (Oracle ULA)?

An Oracle ULA is an enterprise software license agreement from Oracle that gives unlimited deployment rights to deploy Oracle software.

However, these rights are only for a subset of products, and the unlimited period will expire, usually after three years.

What happens when the Oracle ULA expires?

When an Oracle ULA expires, Oracle will ask the customer if they want to renew the agreement.

The customer can then negotiate commercial contracts to re-negotiate contract terms and products. If the customer chooses to exit the ULA, the ULA certification process will begin.

What is the Oracle ULA certification process?

The certification process includes an Oracle license audit where the customer and Oracle must count and calculate the number of Oracle licenses deployed when the ULA ends.

These numbers will then be converted into a fixed number of licenses, and the Oracle ULA will be certified.

What are the challenges with ULA certification?

Some challenges include certifying Oracle ULAs in public cloud environments such as AWS and Azure, as there are special rules and restrictions for counting Oracle licenses in these environments.

Another challenge is calculating Oracle licensing in virtual deployments, as Oracle licensing policies can be vague for licensing Oracle on VMware.

Customers may also be using and deploying non-Oracle ULA software, which can lead to non-compliance issues if discovered by Oracle.

When should companies start planning for ULA certification?

Companies should start planning for certification at least six months before the Oracle ULA term expires, ideally 9-12 months in advance.

This will give them enough time to investigate Oracle licensing deployments and ULA agreement terms and increase their chances of success. Many companies work with expert firms to ensure success in their ULA certification.

Can you sign a Java unlimited license agreement?

Yes, it is possible to sign a Java unlimited license agreement. However, it is essential to note that you will not receive any perpetual licenses at the end of the Java ULA.

What are the most common mistakes companies make with ULA agreements?

Some common mistakes include not including the correct products before signing the Oracle ULA, focusing too much on price and not enough on contract terms, over-deploying Oracle ULA software, or not being prepared for the license audit at the end of the ULA, resulting in higher costs.

Where can I read about the certification process?

Information about the certification process can be found in the ULA contract under the Ordering Document and Certification Clause.

This will provide information on the timing, data requirements, and cooperation needed during the exit phase and whether the company needs to accept an Oracle license audit.

Companies should work with an experienced firm that has reviewed many Oracle ULAs and can help interpret the agreement and negotiate terms.

How can I be non-compliant with my ULA?

t is common for companies to accidentally deploy or use non-ULA software, making them non-compliant with their ULA.

This can result in significant financial risks, often in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Working with an Oracle license expert who can analyze Oracle audit scripts and simulate a license audit to ensure compliance is strongly recommended.

Will my support costs increase once I exit my Oracle Unlimited license agreement?

No, support costs will not increase once you exit your Oracle ULA. However, there are some exceptions.

If you are running older versions of Oracle software, you may have to pay an additional 10-20% for extended support. Additionally, you may face a 4-8% increase in technical support.

How does Oracle ULA certification work in Public Cloud?

Older Oracle ULAs did not allow counting any deployments in a public cloud.

However, newer ULAs have a standard clause that allows counting an average deployment during 12 months, reducing the risk of not counting public cloud deployments.

Can I deploy Oracle on VMware while in the unlimited agreement?

Yes, deploying Oracle on VMware during the unlimited agreement period will allow you to count all physical hosts in all VMware environments, which can help maximize deployment counts.

Is deploying Oracle on VMware the best way to maximize my ULA? 

Yes, deploying Oracle on VMware is a recommended strategy to maximize your ULA.

Will Oracle be upset if we exit our unlimited license agreement with 5000-15000 processor licenses?

Oracle may have difficulty explaining the numbers to its management, but there is little it can do.

However, you may face resistance from Oracle when declaring all physical hosts in VMware. It is essential to stand your ground and declare all numbers.

What is the Post Oracle ULA strategy, how do I deal with VMware environment growth?

Dealing with VMware environment growth after ULA certification requires a different approach, as exceeding your entitlement of CPUs can result in non-compliance. It is recommended to seek the help of an Oracle license expert in this matter.

Contractually, where do most companies go wrong?

Companies often fail to include all legal entities or forget about worldwide usage. These are the main contract terms that form the foundation of a ULA license agreement.

What other questions should I ask myself about my ULA agreement?

Consider how the agreement works when acquiring other companies and if they can use the Oracle ULA software.

Include a clause to allow for the addition of companies, using either a percentage of company revenue or employees as a metric.

Is there a price list for Oracle ULA?

No, Oracle ULA pricing is based on an estimated business value that Oracle seeks to achieve.

This is why companies who sign a ULA at the end of a license audit often pay less and why non-compliant companies may pay twice as much for a new contract.

Oracle PULA vs. ULA, when should you sign a PULA and not a ULA?

A PULA should only be considered if you have not adequately managed your ULA.

If you manage your ULA correctly, there is no need for a PULA. However, if you are looking at a long ULA (4-5 years), you should consider a Perpetual ULA instead, but remember to include a self-exit clause.

When should you start to prepare for your certification?

Ideally, you should start preparing for certification 12 or 9 months before the exit. This will allow for three months to perform remediation and maximization.

Can we refuse to run Oracle audit scripts at the end of my Oracle ULA?

It depends on the certification clause in your agreement and understanding your rights during the exit process.

However, it is not recommended to refuse to run the Oracle audit scripts, as Oracle has the right to audit you at any time, and you do not want to exit your agreement and be out of compliance.

What should I do after I certify my Oracle ULA?

After Oracle has certified your ULA to a fixed quantity number, maximizing your ULA by deploying more on bigger servers or additional servers or using virtualization to boost ULA exit numbers is recommended.

Once certified, optimizing deployments by deploying Oracle on license-efficient platforms is also recommended.

What is the best Oracle licensing advice you can give me? My Oracle ULA is expiring.

The best Oracle licensing advice is to seek help from an Oracle licensing expert who has certified many Oracle ULAs previously.

Hiring the right consultant will be far less than the cost of Oracle software and penalties for non-compliance.

Additionally, it is essential to follow a guide, as many companies have successfully renewed or exited their Oracle ULAs with the help of experts.

Top 5 Recommendations for Oracle ULA Certification

  1. Early and Thorough Preparation: Begin the certification process 6-12 months before the end of the ULA term. This time frame allows for a comprehensive assessment of Oracle product deployment and usage.
  2. Accurate Inventory and Usage Tracking: Maintain a precise record of Oracle product deployment. Use Oracle’s tools or seek expert advice to ensure accurate counting and avoid under or over-reporting.
  3. Understand Oracle’s Compliance Rules: Stay informed about Oracle’s licensing policies. Regularly review official documentation and consider attending Oracle webinars or workshops to stay abreast of any changes or updates.
  4. Consider Future Business Changes: Anticipate how mergers, acquisitions, or expansions might impact your ULA. Proactive planning ensures that your ULA remains compliant as your business evolves.
  5. Seek Expert Assistance: Engaging with Oracle licensing specialists can provide valuable insights and guidance, helping you navigate the complexities of ULA certification effectively.

Negotiating and Exiting a ULA

Effective Negotiation with Oracle

  • Preparation: Understand your organization’s needs and have clear objectives before negotiating with Oracle. Be informed about your current usage and future requirements.
  • Multiple CSIs: Aim to negotiate for multiple Customer Support Identifiers (CSIs) within the ULA to retain flexibility in managing support costs and licensing.
  • Negotiation Skills: Leverage an understanding of Oracle’s internal approval structure to negotiate favorable terms.

Planning for ULA Exit

  • Exit Strategy: As your ULA term concludes, strategize whether to renew, exit, or transition to a different agreement type. This decision should align with your organization’s current and future needs.
  • Understanding Compliance Rules: Ensure you are updated with Oracle’s compliance rules, as this knowledge is crucial for a smooth transition post-ULA.

Staying Updated with Oracle’s Compliance Rules

  • Regular Reviews: Oracle’s licensing terms and conditions can change, so regularly review these to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • Engagement with Oracle: Maintain open lines of communication with Oracle to clarify any uncertainties regarding compliance rules and licensing terms.

By following these recommendations and guidance for negotiation and exit strategies, organizations can navigate the Oracle ULA certification process more effectively, ensuring they maximize the benefits while maintaining compliance and cost efficiency.

ULA Certification in Public Cloud Platforms

Handling Oracle Deployments in Public Clouds like AWS or Azure

  1. Compliance with Oracle’s Cloud Licensing Rules: When dealing with Oracle deployments in public clouds such as AWS or Azure, it’s crucial to understand and comply with Oracle’s specific cloud licensing rules. These rules can differ significantly from on-premises deployments.
  2. License Mapping and Counting: Accurately map and count your Oracle licenses as per the cloud platform’s structure. This might involve understanding how Oracle cores are counted in a virtualized environment in the cloud.
  3. Certification Documentation: Ensure all documentation regarding Oracle deployments in the cloud is accurate and complete. This includes details about the use of Oracle software in the cloud environment and how they comply with Oracle’s licensing terms.

Completing the ULA Certification Process

Finalizing Certification with Oracle

  1. Documentation Submission: Provide Oracle with all necessary documentation, including a comprehensive and accurate count of Oracle product usage and deployment.
  2. Addressing Discrepancies: Identify and promptly address any discrepancies or gaps in the deployment records. This may involve re-assessing certain areas of deployment or usage.
  3. Final Verification: Work with Oracle to finalize the verification process. This typically involves a review of the provided documentation and any necessary adjustments based on Oracle’s feedback.
  4. Maximizing ULA Value: Ensure that the certification process accurately reflects the full extent of Oracle product usage, maximizing the value obtained from the ULA.

Need Help with Your Oracle ULA Certification?

Oracle ULA License Optimization Service

We’re here to help you navigate the Oracle ULA Certification process.

Our service includes:

  1. Oracle Deployment Assessment: We’ll look at your current Oracle usage, identify all Oracle products and versions you’re using, and spot any non-Oracle ULA software deployments.
  2. ULA Agreement Review: We’ll go through your ULA agreement and certification clause. We aim to negotiate terms that reduce your risk of penalties and make the certification process as beneficial as possible.
  3. Exit Strategy Preparation: We’ll help you create a detailed exit strategy. This includes optimizing your Oracle deployments to maximize ULA exit numbers and minimize non-compliance risks.
  4. Oracle License Audit Assistance: We’ll support you during the Oracle license audit process. This includes helping with the counting and calculating Oracle license deployments and converting those deployments into a fixed number of licenses.
  5. Guidance for Cloud and Virtual Deployments: We’ll advise you on managing deployments in public cloud environments like AWS and Azure and virtual deployments like VMware. This ensures you comply with Oracle licensing policies.
  6. Ongoing Support: We’ll provide continuous support and advice throughout the certification process. We’ll guide you on how to handle any issues or challenges that may arise.
  7. Proactive Management: We’ll actively manage your Oracle deployments and usage to minimize non-compliance risks and maximize the benefits of the ULA certification process.
  8. Negotiation Assistance: If you decide to renew your ULA, we’ll help you negotiate a new ULA agreement with Oracle.
  9. Post-Certification Compliance: After completing the certification process, we’ll help ensure you continue to comply with Oracle software and license agreements.
  10. Mergers and Acquisitions Guidance: We’ll guide you on handling deployments in case of a company merger or acquisition.

Ready to Get Started?

If you need help with Oracle ULA Certification, don’t hesitate to contact us at Redress Compliance.

We’re here to make the process as smooth and beneficial as possible.

Contact us today and find out more about our Oracle ULA Certification Service.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.