The Oracle Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) is a common contract between Oracle and their customers. It allows a client to install and run a set of products on an unlimited set of processors for a specific period of time.
We published in our ULA white paper that ULAs are actually more limited than unlimited. However, the one constant that remained is how you could deploy on an “unlimited” number of processors. Of all the restrictions in a ULA contract, that was one word that was always unencumbered. Unlimited really meant unlimited when it came to the number you could deploy. Based on what we’ve seen over the last few months, Oracle may have a different interpretation of “unlimited.”
Oracle wants you to extend your ULA
Let’s take a step back. At Palisade Compliance we deal with Oracle ULAs everyday. One of our premiere services is our ULA optimization service where we help customers manage, certify, extend, negotiate, whatever with their Unlimited License Agreement. No one knows the Oracle ULA like we do. Oracle sees their biggest spike in work in May (the end of their fiscal year) and our work follows the same pattern. As we get closer to the end of Oracle’s fiscal year we have more of these engagements. What does all this mean? Well, it means that we are seeing more and more Oracle sales reps going to their clients to get them to extend their ULA in exchange for several million dollars plus a perpetual support fee.
There are many tactics an Oracle rep will use to get you to extend that ULA. Remember, Oracle loves it when customers sign a ULA. They really, really love it when customers renew those ULAs. There is a reason for that love affair. The ULA is a highly profitable contract for Oracle. Why else would they push it so hard?
Over deployed the ULA?
One tactic I’ve seen is telling a client that they “over deployed” their ULA. Huh? When I first saw that from an Oracle sales rep, I literally thought it was a mistake. I dismissed it as the overly aggressive nature of a junior Oracle rep. However, I’ve seen it over and over now. When customers manage their ULAs properly, Oracle tries to turn that around into a bad thing. We’ve seen all these recently (paraphrasing):
- When we signed this ULA we expected you would only deploy 200, now you have 1000! That is completely against the spirit of the agreement.
- Since you over deployed you now have so many processors that we have to charge you more for new products going forward!
- My manager will never approve this certification.
- You need to send all your backup information to LMS (the audit team) so they can confirm/approve these numbers.
- (And my favorite) You have way too many processors now. If you extend this ULA you can consolidate and have fewer processors. [This one is my favorite because the rep actually told the client that they can give Oracle more money for the right to use less stuff. I have this one on the Palisade Compliance bulletin board.]
Let’s be clear. Each one of the bullet points above is completely false. You cannot over deploy a ULA. The number of processors in a ULA is the only thing that is actually unlimited. Everything else has a limitation.
As the owner of a company, I appreciate more than ever the effort that sales people put into closing a deal. However, there are times when a rep flirts with the boundaries of reality. This is one of those instances. The most successful Oracle customers are the ones that know their rights and obligations under their contracts. Do you have a ULA that expires soon? Do you have a plan? Do you have the expertise and experience to execute on that plan? Get in touch with us.