We recently published a blog article and video on whether Oracle is still relevant given today’s rapidly changing technology landscape. One way to measure relevancy is to understand whether Oracle customers are renewing, or exiting, their unlimited license agreements with Oracle. If Oracle’s customers are truly going to continue deploying Oracle technology through their digital transformations, then it is logical to assume that those customers would be renewing their Oracle ULAs to set the stage for future growth. However, if those Oracle customers are looking to create some distance between themselves and Oracle, then those customers would be exiting those ULAs in a process we call certification.

What are Oracle customers doing today?

Before we answer that question, let’s take a step back in time. When I started Palisade Compliance in 2011, the Oracle ULA push was in full force. That push to the ULA is still there today, but with an Oracle cloud twist for added cost and lock-in. At that time, 2011-2015, Oracle customers were coming to us for help with their ULAs. They would typically ask for help renewing the ULA. We actually had to educate many organizations on the benefits of not renewing the ULA and doing something different. Having said that, Oracle customers were keen on signing up for the next ULA.

Beginning around 2015 and lasting until 2019, Oracle customers were being more critical with their end of ULA decisions. In this period the typical request from Oracle customers was “We don’t know what to do with this ULA. Help us make a good decision.” These customers were now aware there was an escape route for the ULA. They wanted to know all the facts and make the right decision. However, there was still some fear of Oracle that was holding them back from certification. During this time, certifying out of a ULA was still a very big deal for Oracle customers.

Things dramatically changed in 2019. Today Oracle customers are now coming to us with one goal: they want out of their Oracle ULA. they want to certify. For the most part, they are no longer asking us to help them renew these ULAs. Nor do they typically come to us asking for help making a decision. In the vast majority of cases, the Oracle customers who come to us have already made the decision to get out of their Oracle ULA contract. They need our help creating a plan and executing on their vision.

As you can see, there has been a dramatic switch for Oracle customers in their ULA decision making. From “help me renew” to “help me decide”, to “help me get out and certify!”, Oracle’s customers are on a mission.

Why do Oracle’s customers want out of their ULAs?

We see three basic reasons why Oracle customers want out of their ULAs.

ULAs costs are astronomical

The first is cost. Renewing an Oracle ULA can cost millions of dollars (even hundreds of millions of dollars). Certifying your ULA costs almost nothing. Given today’s difficult economic conditions, companies are looking to cut costs. You can’t cut your Oracle costs if you renew your ULA.

There’s more to technology than just Oracle

The second reason is customers now have alternative to Oracle technologies and they are looking to use them and move away from Oracle. The ULA provides a company with a way to gain a tremendous number of database licenses. A savvy company can maximize their Oracle deployments, certify out of their ULA, and then adopt new technologies for their legacy systems and new projects. Managing your Oracle licenses this way allows you to continue to grow your business while avoiding the Oracle Tax.

You’re not limited to Oracle cloud (despite what Oracle says)

The final reason companies are getting out of the Oracle ULA is because of cloud. Oracle has tried to make their licensing so anti-non-Oracle-cloud that companies are balking at these terms and getting out while they still can. ULAs are not unlimited and customers see that when they want to move to AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, IBM, etc. Often Oracle customers have to leave the ULA before they can go to the cloud. Alternatively, they have to give Oracle a lot more money to change the terms of their existing ULAs. As we said above, that’s a non-starter as cost reduction is often the biggest reason why companies are getting out of their ULAs.

The trends are clear, and Oracle’s customers are making the decisions to leave their Oracle ULA contracts and chart a different path. The problem for these companies is that Oracle has a very different goal. Not only does Oracle want you to renew that ULA, they want you to sign a more expensive Perpetual ULA (PULA) that has a way for you to give Oracle even more money by nudging you to Oracle’s cloud. In this respect Oracle and their customers have very different goals. Oracle customers must be precise and not make a mistake during their ULA certification or Oracle will use that against their own customers.

Get help from us!

Fortunately, Palisade Compliance has a suite of services to help Oracle customers throughout the entire lifecycle of their ULA. For information on how Palisade Compliance can help you with your Oracle ULA, please reach out to us.

You can also find ULA education material with our Resources, as well as videos and blog articles to give you more information on what to do if you have an Oracle ULA.