I recently consulted for a customer who was in the process of deploying a new Oracle instance for their production ERP system.

When they brought up the fact that they had an organizational directive to only deploy new solutions on their VMware Infrastructure the Oracle Sales Rep and Sales Engineer promptly said “YOU CAN’T DO THAT, Licensing will burn through your entire budget! You have to license ALL THE THINGS! (Things in this case being every core in the cluster)”

Yea, that’s not only false, it’s a downright lie. Any Oracle employee and even most resellers you come across will tell you that in order to run Oracle DB on a virtual infrastructure other than Oracle’s own, you’ll need to license every core in a cluster because Oracle cannot guarantee where the processing for a virtual machine running their software is.

In actuality, there is NOTHING in an Oracle License and Service Agreement (OLSA) that indicates you have to license their software that way.

Per Michael Webster’s blog

Ask your Oracle contact the following and get a response in writing.

Is the contract that we have signed for Oracle Software Legally Binding on both of us?
Does the contract supersede all prior agreements both verbal and written?
Can the contract be modified or altered in any way, other than in writing, and being agreed to and signed by both of our authorized representatives?
Does the contract form the complete agreement?
Where in the contract does it state we must license processors that are not running Oracle software?
Where in the contract does it state anything with regards to Hypervisor, VMware, vCenter, Cluster, Live Migration or vMotion?

After you get your answers to these questions in writing and Oracle admits that you don’t owe them a dime more in licensing for any servers that do not and have not run Oracle software, go on about your daily business. You are now assured that there is no way Oracle can charge you for anything more than what you’re actually using. They can’t charge you a penny more for licenses other than where Oracle software is installed and/or running. There is no mention of Hypervisor, VMware, vCenter, Cluster (except referring to Oracle RAC), Live Migration or vMotion anywhere in your OLSA contract. So that simply can’t be applicable to you, as clearly, the contract and it’s explicitly referred to documents, are all that matter.

So, next time you or your customer is interested in virtualizing Oracle on non Oracle hardware / software remember you have every right to!