End of Oracle ULA

What Are Your Options?

Oracle ULA – What Options Do I Have At The End Of The ULA?

  • 03 December 2020
  • 7.51 minutes to read

A while back, we published a series of articles explaining what Oracle ULA means, what are the most common clauses included in such agreement and how you can certify your Oracle programs on public cloud. We continue now with another series providing details on the options you have at the end of your ULA, the certification process and the Oracle ULA 2 Cloud program.

To quickly refresh the memory, an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) offers end users the right to unlimitedly deploy a limited amount of Oracle programs, for a limited amount of legal entities, for a limited period of time. When this period ends, you’ll be confronted with a number of questions: What options do I have at the end of the ULA? Should I certify and convert my current deployment of Oracle programs into perpetual licenses? Should I renew my ULA as is for another period of time? Should I certify parts of the Oracle programs included in my ULA, convert them into perpetual licenses and partly renew the ULA for a subset of the initial Oracle programs? Or should I add other Oracle programs to a new ULA?

It can seem overwhelming and time consuming to go through all the scenarios and consider all the options. Though, if you don’t invest time in that, you might end up investing money in Oracle licenses. Oracle sales representatives will urge you to renew your ULA, but if that’s not what you need, you’ll be caught in a quite expensive agreement for a few years. A good preparation is therefore essential and it should start early. Based on our experience with other customers, in order to assess your situation and address the above questions, you’ll need about 6 months. Only then you can make informed business decisions.

This article provides you with an overview of the different options available at the end of the ULA and the things you should take into account to choose the most suitable option for you.

ULA Certification

Every ULA customer has the option to count the deployment and use of the different Oracle programs included in their ULA at the end of its term. A detailed overview of how such certification process works will be explained in an upcoming article. It is recommended to certify your ULA when you had decided to phase out all of your Oracle programs over the next 2-3 years or you’re not expecting any additional license requirements for the next 2-3 years.

You should, however, keep in mind that there are some circumstances that may result in additional license requirements. These include – among others – situations in which:

  • your organization is planning to acquire a company that is not allowed to make use of the Oracle ULA programs but will be required to make use of your IT infrastructure
  • your organization is planning to merge with another company, which will result in a situation in which the new legal entities require access to the Oracle ULA programs but are contractually not allowed to do so
  • your organization is replacing its hardware infrastructure with servers and/or virtualization technologies that require a larger number of physical cores to be licensed
  • your organization will be migrating its current on premises infrastructure to a (public) cloud provider and requires - for a certain period of time - the Oracle software to be installed on both infrastructures, thus requiring double licensing
  • your organization is planning to make use in the next 2-3 years of other, currently not licensed, Oracle programs (either on premises or in the public cloud) for which licensing on a per Processor or a per Named User Plus licensing may not be the most cost-effective option.
  • your organization is still using older versions of the Oracle programs (e.g. Oracle Database Enterprise Edition 11cR2) which are currently out of Oracle’s Premier Support offering and your organization requires Extended Support for such deployments against an additional cost

The examples above don’t represent a complete list of all the different scenarios that may contribute to an additional Oracle license and/or support cost, but provide an overview of the most common triggers for additional demand. Before you decide to certify your ULA, it is at all times recommended to assess if there is an additional license, cloud, hardware, and/or support cost need expected in the next 2-3 years. You should also quantify the financial fees related to such expansion under Oracle’s different pricing and licensing models. If there is no clear view of the future license requirements for the next 2-3 years, it is recommended to certify your ULA. You will be able to enter again into a ULA at a later stage, when you do have clarity on your future demand, even though Oracle will always want you to renew your ULA upon expiration.

ULA Renewal

It is not a surprise that Oracle’s objective is to have you renew your ULA agreement. The renewal of a ULA agreement requires you to make a new license and/or cloud and support investment on top of your recurrent annual support fees. In case of a ULA renewal, there are different options that you should consider: Full ULA Renewal, Partial ULA Renewal, ULA to Cloud Renewal (full or partial).

Full ULA Renewal

A full ULA renewal is taking place, when you decide to renew the Unlimited Deployment Right for all the Oracle programs included in the initial ULA. The period of time can be different than the one in the initial ULA (e.g. the initial ULA was for 3 years whilst the ULA Renewal is for 1 year) but includes the same Bill of Materials. This option is typically chosen by end users who expect a certain growth in their deployment of the Oracle programs after the initial ULA ends, while the required functionality of the Oracle programs remains the same as in the initial ULA. It is rather common though that the Oracle program functionalities required initially turn out to not be needed over time, either because of a change in the architectural designs or because of the fact that a number of Oracle programs have initially been added to the ULA by Oracle, to “sweeten the deal”. The number of end users that consider a full ULA renewal is rather limited and less than 5%.

Partial ULA Renewal

In case of a ULA renewal, it is rather common that a growth is expected for a limited number of the Oracle programs included in the initial ULA, while other programs are deployed in a stable environment. For the last category, no additional licenses are expected in the period after the initial ULA expires. In this kind of situations, end users often choose to count, certify and convert a number of the Oracle programs in perpetual licenses going forward and to renew the unlimited deployment right for those Oracle programs for which additional growth is expected. As an example, you may still expect significant growth and will want to renew your ULA only for the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition and its most common used database options (e.g. Partitioning, Advanced Compression) and database management packs (Diagnostics Pack, Tuning Pack) but would certify its other database options and database management packs which are only being used in a limited number of environments. The benefit of a partial renewal (compared to a full renewal) is that the net license fees and net support fees can typically be negotiated to a lower amount.

In general, the price for either a new ULA or a ULA renewal will be higher if:

  • The term is longer
  • There are more Oracle programs included
  • There are more legal entities included

ULA to Cloud Renewal (full or partial)

Apart from doing a full or partial ULA renewal, Oracle will also present you the option to make use of the “ULA 2 Cloud” program. Oracle offers this option because this program provides the opportunity to repurpose parts of the technical support fees associated with the ULA and to convert these into Cloud Credits. This program is created by Oracle to make it (financially) more attractive for end users to start making use of Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS Cloud Services instead of its competitors (Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2 or RDS, Google Cloud and others). A detailed explanation of how this “ULA 2 Cloud” program works will be described in an upcoming article.


An Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) offers the right to unlimitedly deploy a limited amount of Oracle programs, for a limited amount of legal entities, for a limited period of time. At the end of a ULA, you typically ask yourself: ”What should I do?”. In order to answer this question, it is important to determine what your current Oracle programs consumption is. How much are you currently using from the different Oracle programs included in your ULA? Are you not making use of unlicensed software programs? Do you require any additional licenses, cloud, hardware, and/or support from Oracle in the next 2-3 years? And if so, what would this cost if you would obtain these programs or solutions under different pricing and licensing models – next to just renewing your ULA? Doing a proper assessment of your current and future license requirements helps you take the best decision and price going forward.

Let’s Have a Talk

If your ULA agreement will expire and you’re not sure what you should do, get in touch and we’ll help you assess your current situation, as well as your future plans.

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