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AWS license included model - what you need to know about it

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Lawsuits are not an uncommon way for Oracle to defend its intellectual property rights. Some lawsuits might be more known than others, but the fact is that they are chosen very carefully by Oracle because the impact such a lawsuit might have on Oracle’s image and other customers´ behavior can be significant. The chance to win the lawsuit, the country and its jurisdiction and the specific case and message that will be sent to the market are all well evaluated by Oracle before any lawsuit is filed.

This article describes a recent lawsuit between Oracle and Envisage, a customer that is making use of Oracle’s software programs deployed on Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) Cloud platform, in which Envisage used the “License Included” option from Amazon.

Oracle vs. Envisage

Envisage Technologies (Envisage) is a US-based company, considered to be the leader in unified public safety training, compliance and performance software. Oracle started a lawsuit against Envisage in May 2021. Based on the Complaint for Copyright Infringement, Oracle’s position is that Envisage does not own enough licenses to host their applications for the estimated “2 million public safety professionals and 11,000 agencies.”

More specifically, in 2006, Envisage procured 2 Processor licenses for Standard Edition One with “hosting rights,” meaning that Oracle Database could be used as the underlying database platform for the proprietarily developed and owned application of Envisage to service its end-users through a SaaS subscription model.

Oracle claims that Envisage runs its environment on the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), a platform hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Referring to the AWS Service Terms, Section 10.3. “Using Oracle Software” indicates that Oracle Software can be deployed on AWS based on two alternative models:

  • License Included applicable for those customers that do not have Oracle licenses to cover their usage and therefore are willing to include them within their AWS cloud subscription. The significant limitation here is that this could be used only for the company’s internal business operation. In other words, hosting the Oracle software as part of a “subscription” model is not allowed.
  • Bring Your Own Licenses (BYOL) applicable for the customers leveraging their existing licenses. Here the license terms contractually agreed upon with Oracle apply, as well as Oracle’s current policies for licensing Oracle Database software in the cloud computing environment.

Additionally, only Oracle Database Standard Edition One (SE1) and Standard Edition Two (SE2) are allowed to be used as part of the “License Included” option; Oracle Database Enterprise Edition can only be used as part of the Bring Your Own License Model (BYOL).

Our analysis

Based on the information included in Oracle’s filing, Envisage does not comply with the AWS Service Terms. This is because the AWS Service Terms specify that the Oracle Database software can only be used for the internal business operations of Envisage itself (and cannot be used for the business operations of any third-party like Envisage’s end-users in a “hosting” model).

With this lawsuit, Oracle wants to send a clear message to all customers deploying Oracle software on a cloud hyper-scaler, specifically AWS. Customers worldwide are moving to the cloud to enjoy flexibility and scalability and to empower their businesses. But this example shows once more that licensing rules and restrictions are still relevant in a scalable and flexible cloud environment, even if companies do not have an existing contractual relationship with Oracle.


Interested to know how the lawsuit is going? On July 21st, Envisage sued Oracle by filing a counterclaim and shifting the responsibility to AWS.

Envisage “relied in good faith on representations made by AWS regarding the scope of the license to Oracle Database provided under AWS's "License Included" service model for Amazon RDS for Oracle."

The future will tell what the outcome will be, but we expect that this will most likely be commercially settled before the court will make a ruling. In order to avoid ending up in these kind of situations, a complete and accurate understanding of the actual terms and conditions under which you are entitled to make use of Oracle’s software programs is key. SoftwareONE’s Oracle Advisory Services are specifically designed to enable you to understand what is allowed (and what is not allowed), to determine your compliance position on a regular basis and to continuously avoid and save costs.

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