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Oracle ULA – certification process in a nutshell

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team
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Many companies entered into an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) with Oracle, and if you’re one of them, you might want to read on to learn what are your options at the end of the agreement. Although the name may make you believe that you can unlimitedly deploy Oracle software programs within your infrastructure, a ULA provides you with the unlimited deployment right for a limited amount of Oracle programs, for a limited amount of legal entities and for a limited period of time.

At the end of the ULA term (usually 1-5 years after the signature date), you’ll be faced with the option to renew the ULA for another period of time (e.g. 1 - 5 years or perpetual), for a different or the same number of legal entities and for less, the same or more Oracle programs than the original ULA. Alternatively, you can certify the ULA. More details about what that means and how the standard procedure that you have to follow during the ULA certification process looks like are covered in this article.

ULA certification process

The ordering document of each Oracle ULA includes the following standard certification clause:

" ... Certification process
On the Certification Date (or Accelerated Certification Date (as defined below), if applicable), You shall furnish Oracle with a certification signed by a C-level executive of Your company verifying the quantity of Processors on which the Unlimited Deployment Programs are installed and running by You and the locations by country where such Processors are installed and running (with the numbers of Processors of each Program per country specified). As of the date on which the Unlimited Deployment Period ends (such certified quantity, the “Certified Deployment”). On the date the Unlimited Deployment Period ends, Your quantity of Processor licenses of the Unlimited Deployment Programs above shall be fixed and limited as set forth in the Certified Deployment. ... "

As a result of this contractual clause, you should be aware of the fact that it is your responsibility to count the deployed number of Processors and/or Application User licenses (depending on the Oracle programs and their associated license metrics included in your ULA) at the end of your ULA term. It is important that you prepare the complete and accurate count of the deployment of your Oracle programs well in advance (we suggest 6 months before the expiration of your ULA) to make sure that you do it correctly.

An incorrect count of the deployed licenses will either mean that you counted too few licenses, resulting in a non-compliance situation upon certification, or that you counted too many deployed licenses, which is considered a breach of your agreement and fraud under international IP laws. Because mistakes can be easily made in counting the deployed licenses in a complete and accurate manner, Oracle requires a C-level representative of your organization to sign off on the number of licenses you are submitting for certification. If and when Oracle accepts the certified number of licenses, they will be granted as perpetual licenses against the same support maintenance fees as were paid for the ULA programs. Thus, in a standard ULA, there is no additional license and/or support fee to be paid at the end of the ULA, regardless of the number of certified licenses.

Collecting data

Oracle License Management Services (LMS) is the department that performs audits on behalf of Oracle. LMS typically starts to engage with a customer 3 months before the expiration of the ULA. During their engagement, Oracle LMS positions themselves as the friendly advisor supporting you in counting the deployment of your Oracle programs in a complete and accurate manner. In order to do so, Oracle LMS will use its LMS Collection Tool which includes a number of queries and scripts for gathering the deployment and usage information from your infrastructure.

Although such support may be handy to rely upon, you should be aware that this LMS Collection Tool will also gather deployment and usage information related to other Oracle programs which may NOT be part of your Unlimited License Agreement. It is very common that the use of the LMS Collection Tool will not only result in a certification of your ULA but a license compliance claim as well. 98% of technical measurements of the deployment and usage of the Oracle programs result in a non-compliance issue. Think for example about the unlicensed usage of database options and/or database management packs found to be deployed on your VMware infrastructure.

Once all the deployment and usage information related to the Oracle programs is collected, Oracle LMS will want you to complete an .xls file called “Global Deployment Report” or “GDR”. This excel sheet is completed manually by yourself or is populated by Oracle in case the LMS Collection tool is being used. GDR provides an overview of the deployed Oracle programs and the associated hardware infrastructure details. All the details included in this GDR are analyzed by Oracle LMS to validate the completeness and the accuracy of the information provided. This validation will either be continued until Oracle considers it has a complete and accurate understanding of your deployment, or it will be used to prove that you are unable to correctly manage your Oracle licenses. The latter scenario is typically chosen to convince an end user to enter into a new Unlimited License Agreement. This new ULA may or may not include the Oracle programs of the previous ULA as well as all additional programs found during the technical measurement.


Although you may think that you won’t have any compliance issues because you entered into an Unlimited License Agreement, many organizations with a ULA are found to be non-compliant during their ULA certification process. This is usually caused by the deployment of Oracle programs which are not part of the ULA, or deployment of Oracle programs by legal entities which aren’t included in the ULA. In case you decide to certify your ULA yourself, without involvement of Oracle LMS, you might notice that you’ll struggle with counting in a complete and accurate manner, which can result in an incorrect ULA certification. Having Oracle LMS involved may result in entering a new ULA, rather than certifying the expiring one.

We recommend our customers to perform an internal measurement and certification process well before the ULA expires. If your ULA will expire in the coming 6 months, you’ll want to start looking into your Oracle programs deployment situation.


Not sure where to start?

We can help. If you would like to know more about our ULA Services, please reach out to us.

Not sure where to start?

We can help. If you would like to know more about our ULA Services, please reach out to us.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.