knowledge & insights

Beware of Licensing Pitfalls When Running an Oracle Database on Amazon RDS: A 2-Part Blog Post by LicenseFortress

As a (if not “the”) pioneer of reliable cloud services, AWS has earned its exalted position as a trusted leader in the ongoing cloud wars. As such, AWS has a certain amount of cache when it promotes its Amazon Remote Database Service (“Amazon RDS”) as an opportunity for its customers to “set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud” that “frees you to focus on your applications so you can give them the fast performance, high availability, security and compatibility they need.” However, things invariably get more complicated when Oracle gets put into the mix.

AWS offers Amazon RDS customers a choice from “six familiar database engines” including Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Oracle Database and SQL Server. And, as we are seeing more and more from our clients, those AWS customers that chose Oracle Database must be eternally vigilant to avoid unnecessary and potentially very costly licensing traps.

Oracle Database Users Beware

Our partners at LicenseFortress recently shared a 2-part blog post addressing these issues. Specifically, Dean Bolton, chief architect at LicenseFortress, writes about how recent observations point to the fact that Oracle LMS auditors are taking more aggressive approaches to Amazon-RDS license-included instances, at times exploiting certain vagaries that accompany the ease of setting up Amazon RDS.

For example, Bolton warns of inconsistencies surrounding the size of cloud computing environments allowed. While Oracle’s policy document states that “under this cloud computing policy, Oracle Database Standard Edition may only be licensed on Authorized Cloud Environment instances up to 16 Amazon vCPUs or 16 Azure vCPUs”, the AWS console offers an option which would support up to 32vCPUs.

He writes:

Guess what happens with the Oracle License Management Services (LMS) rep comes knocking on the door? They claim that the SE, SE1 or SE2 license doesn’t cover this, and the instance must be licensed by Enterprise Edition. So instead of paying $17,500 for the SE2 RDS instance, you’re paying $380,000 instead!!!

Unfortunately, this type of bait and switch is nothing new to our Oracle licensee clients. Similarly, Bolton’s advice mirrors our standard recommendations blending knowledge and vigilance:

So quick, go check all of your AWS Oracle RDS instances to make sure they are in compliance. And if you have questions or are being audited for AWS usage, we’re here to help.

We would like to once again thank our partners at LicenseFortress for their tireless and informed efforts in helping level the playing field for Oracle licensees.

Have you had an unfortunate run-in with Oracle as a result of licensing on Amazon RDS? If so, click here and let us know – we’d love to hear about it.  Otherwise, we encourage you to click here and here to read the LiceneFortress posts in their entirety.

Published on 3/8/2021

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