Back it up! Oracle policy changes

As officially stated by Oracle, any on-premise Oracle software needs to be licensed when the software is “installed and/or running”.

TIP #66 November 2020: We have highlighted the most important content from the updated Oracle Data Recovery Licensing Policy for you.

So, a license must be obtained regardless of whether the software is being used or not. While in some cases this statement is at least arguable, it still poses a risk that needs to be managed. When it comes to Oracle’s disaster recovery (or data recovery) solutions, things can get even more complicated. 

As a quick reminder, Oracle identifies three different flavours when it comes to data recovery:

  • Failover solutions;
  • Standby- and Mirror solutions (synchronisation);
  • Test- and Back-Up solutions.

For each of these flavours, we have highlighted the most important content from the updated Oracle Data Recovery Licensing Policy. At all times we recommend to read the entire Oracle policy documents very carefully.

Failover solutions

Basically, a failover solution relates to a clustered infrastructure where multiple nodes access one single SAN Storage facility. When a failover (a switch from primary to the failover node) takes place, the failover node can only be used for 10 periods of 24 hours without an additional license for the software installed and/or running on this failover node. If this amount is exceeded, the failover node needs its own license. Even when the failover node is being used for only a few hours within one day, it still counts as one 24 hour period. At all times, the same license metric is applicable for software installed on both primary and failover node and only one failover node is free of charge within a clustered environment. Also, the Oracle Partitioning Policy remains valid for every licensable node.

Standby- or mirroring solutions

When data (including binaries) is copied to or synchronised with another device, we are referring to standby- or mirroring solutions. In this case both devices need to be licensed according to the relevant Oracle policies. These types of Data Recovery nodes need to match the primary node, unless either RAC (Real Application Clusters) is being used or the Oracle Data management Cloud option is being used. Both options do not require the recovery server to be licensed for installed Oracle software. 

Test- and Back-Up solutions

Testing physical copies of backups is allowed within the Oracle Database license. That includes the right to run the database on an unlicensed computer for up to four times within any given calendar year, not exceeding 2 days per test. The aforementioned right does not cover any other data recovery method - such as mirroring - where the Oracle program binary files are copied or synchronised.

Partitioning Policy

Besides the updates for data recovery, Oracle has made another important update. Be aware of the fact that Oracle also added a separate section to their Partitioning Policy. This section describes how Oracle Programs are licensed when using Container and/or Kubernetes Cluster solutions.