10 years ago

Oracle Database Licensing Policies

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There are two ways to license the different editions of Oracle Database: User-based or the Processor-based licensing.

How does Oracle license Database?  Generally, the rule of thumb is that you can install any number of Oracle Database instances on your server or network.  You can even install multiple database instances on the same server.  But your users must be licensed.

To illustrate this further, you need to take a look at the different database environments we have now.  In today’s world where the Web is integrated in business operations, in a time of extranets and self-service apps, there are three different database environments:

  • Production Environment
  • Test Environment
  • Development Environment

Development Environment

Oracle allows customers to use its database in a development environment.  You only need to download the software you need from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and agree to the terms set forth in OTN Development License.

The OTN Development License allows a single user per downloaded product and you can only develop applications using the licensed products.  You cannot deploy the application!  If you want to deploy the application, you will need to obtain the right licenses.

The OTN Development License will not allow you to use the downloaded product for internal data processing, classroom instruction and other uses that are deemed to be commercial.

Test Environment

In a test environment, you would need to make sure that all programs and software you use are duly license.  This means that you are going to need an Oracle License and Services Agreement to use Oracle products when testing.

Production Environment

The production environment is simply the one used by your customers, employees and other end users.  As such, all Oracle software you use must be fully licensed.

The License Minimums

There are two ways to license the different editions of Oracle Database: User-based or the Processor-based licensing.

Named User

You can use the named user metric in all three database environments but you should observe a minimum.

  • Standard Edition One requires at least five named user licenses and only for servers with a maximum load of two sockets.
  • Standard Edition also requires at least five named user licenses, but these are used for servers with a four-socket maximum capacity.
  • The Enterprise Edition would require 25 named user licenses for every processor license you have.  So if you have a four-way box, you will need 100 named user licenses.


If you cannot count or identify your users, then you would need to opt for processor based licensing.  If you use your database for the Internet or if there are just too many users, you can save time, money and licensing worries with this method.

How do you know how many licenses you need?  You multiply the total number of cores of your processor by a licensing factor that Oracle sets forth in its Processor Core Factor Table. You can access the said table here: https://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contracts/index.html.

If you have a multi-chip module, you would need to count each chip as one socket.

These are just a broad overview of Oracle Database licensing policies.  To be really sure you have the adequate number of licenses and save cost, call Four Cornerstone today and get Oracle experts figure out your licensing requirements!

Photo courtesy of TechShowNetwork.

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