Oracle Database Licensing in Oracle Cloud Made Easy

Introduction

What comes into your mind first when you hear the term “licensing”? Boring? Complex? Well, I can’t promise you to make it fun, but what I definitely promise you is to make it easy to understand, at least in Oracle Cloud.

In this blog post, we will explain what database options can be used in every Oracle Database Cloud Service for each licensing model. Pricing in full detail and conversion ratios are out of scope here. For more information, check the Oracle PaaS and IaaS Universal Credits Service Descriptions.

Licensing Models

There are two licensing models:

  • License Included: you just pay for what you use and don’t worry about anything else. You are eligible to use all the database options that are included in your service.
  • Bring Your Own License (BYOL): you pay a reduced price for what you use, but additionally continue paying the support stream. You have to take care of using only the database options that you are eligible for.

It is possible to switch from License Included to BYOL and vice versa without downtime. For example, you are using BYOL, but need more OCPUs for a specif period of time that you cannot cover with your existing licenses, then you switch to License Included, scale-up (without downtime in Autonomous and Exadata Cloud Services), use more resources, scale down when not needed anymore, and finally switch back to BYOL.

It is always worth it to do the math and see what licensing model is the most cost-effective for you. Due to the competitive pricing in Oracle Cloud, you’ll often be surprised, positively, about the outcome.

Database Cloud Service Virtual Machines (DBCS VM)

License Included

On-premises, you chose SE or EE, and then add the desired database options on top of EE that you want to use.

In Oracle Cloud, you have standardization and simplicity. You choose one of the following editions (I informally also call them “packages”) and use all database options included in that “package”:

Each Edition includes all database options and features from the previous ones.

EE High Performance (EE-HP) and EE Extreme Performance (EE-EP) do not provide you higher performance in terms of more CPU power and more bandwidth on the hardware level but provide you the database options that you take advantage of to achieve higher performance. E.g. you would use Multitenant and Partitioning with EE-HP, and additionally In-Memory and RAC with EE-EP to achieve higher performance.

BYOL

For SE, it is very straightforward: you choose SE when provisioning your VM DB System and that’s it. One thing you benefit from is having TDE Tablespace Encryption enabled by default for free.

For EE, it becomes a bit tricky. As all Editions have the same pricing ($0.09675 vCPU/h), it doesn’t matter what edition to choose from the pricing perspective. At the end of the day, you are only allowed to use database options you have supported licenses for.

Technically, you should consider different scenarios:

Choose just the right edition

For example, if you don’t have licenses for In-Memory, ADG, and RAC, but you have licenses for Multitenant and Partitioning, then you’ll go with EE-HP. At the same time, you need to make sure not to use other database options like Database Vault if you don’t have the licenses for that.

However, when time passes, and you want to add one of the EE-EP database options (In-Memory, ADG, or RAC), then you’ll need to migrate to a new VM DB System that is provisioned with EE-EP.

Choose EE-EP

The benefit here is that you have the flexibility to add database options as needed without migrating your database to a new VM DB System. However, you have to make sure that your developers and DBAs only use those database options you are eligible for as you usually do on-premises.

Another thing to consider is building a DR environment with EE-EP when using BYOL. EE-EP will always build an Active Data Guard when using Cloud Automation as of today. So, if you don’t have an Active Data Guard option license, you’d need to build your Data Guard environment manually as of today. Oracle is aware of that and is working on an enhancement to provide a choice whether to build Data Guard or Active Data Guard when using Cloud Automation in EE-EP.

When using EE or EE-HP, the Cloud Automation will build a Data Guard environment (not Active Data Guard).

Database Options and Features included for free in BYOL

In EE, EE-HP, EE-EP you may use the following database options and features even if you do not have the corresponding licenses:

  • Transparent Database Encryption
  • Data Masking & Subsetting Pack
  • Diagnostics & Tuning Pack
  • Real Application Testing

Q: We have EE supported license and only a license for the RAC option, do we need to purchase licenses for all other database options to use EE-EP with BYOL?

A: No! You will just provision a VM DB System with EE-EP, use RAC, and make sure you don’t use any other database option you are not eligible for.

Exadata Cloud Service (ExaCS) & Exadata Cloud at Customer (ExaCC)

On ExaCS and ExaCC you have only one choice: Enterprise Edition.

License Included

ALL Oracle Database options and features are included. $0.67205 vCPU/h.

BYOL

Similar to on-premises, you only need the EE supported license and you are allowed to use any database option that you have licenses for. $0.1613 vCPU/h.

Be aware that Cloud Tooling always builds an Active Data Guard environment. If you don’t have the ADG option license, you’ll need to build your Data Guard environment manually. Enhancement is on the way to provide a choice whether to enable Data Guard or Active Data Guard via Cloud Tooling.

Database Options and Features included for free in BYOL

In ExaCS and ExaCC, you may use the following database options and features even if you do not have the corresponding licenses:

  • Transparent Database Encryption
  • Data Masking & Subsetting Pack
  • Diagnostics & Tuning Pack
  • Real Application Testing

Q: Is the RAC option license mandatory in ExaCS and ExaCC with BYOL?

A: Legally, No! No one will force you to use RAC in ExaCS and ExaCC. However, all databases created via Cloud Tooling will be RAC databases. Furthermore, all Cloud Automation provided (patching, upgrade, automatic backups, one-click restore, etc.) are only available for RAC databases with instances across all Exadata VM Cluster.

So, if you don’t have the RAC option license:

  • You will need to maintain your single-instance databases manually.
  • You don’t benefit from the High Availability provided by Exadata and RAC encountering downtime during the quarterly patching of the Exadata Infrastructure by the Oracle Operation team. Additional downtime when you patch everything inside DomU (OS, GI, Database).

In short, it just does not make sense to me. You don’t move to the Cloud and continue doing everything manually.

Q: Is the Multitenant option license mandatory in ExaCS and ExaCC with BYOL?

A: Legally, No! No one will force you to use Multitenant in ExaCS and ExaCC. However, all databases created via Cloud Tooling will be Container Databases with one PDB, which does not require the Multitenant option license.

If you are on 19c, what you should be, then you are allowed to use 3 PDBs without the Multitenant option license.

In the end, the question is, how many databases do you want to run in your Exadata environment? If you only have a bunch of very large Data Warehouses, then it might be fine running them as Single-Tenant or even Non-CDBs (deprecated, not recommended, but supported) from the performance and manageability perspective.

Technically, you are able to run as many Single-Tenant or Non-CDBs as the available resources allow, but you’ll not be happy with that in the long term. At least, be on 19c and consider having 3 PDBs per CDB.

Autonomous Database (Shared, Dedicated on OCI, Dedicated on ExaCC)

License Included

You are eligible to use ALL Oracle Database options and features available on the service. $0.67205 vCPU/h.

  • TDE: all Autonomous Databases are encrypted by default.
  • Multitenant: all Autonomous Databases are PDBs.
  • RAC: all Autonomous Databases run on RAC.
  • Partitioning, Advanced Compression, Advanced Security, Label Security, Database Vault, and Autonomous Data Guard.
  • For Dedicated, additionally: Oracle OLAP, and Diagnostics & Tuning Pack

BYOL

You can bring your SE or EE supported licenses to be used with BYOL in Autonomous Database. $0.1613 vCPU/h.

Standard Edition: the only thing you need is your SE supported license.

  • You are eligible to use all database options and features as listed above in License Included.
  • Restriction: each Autonomous Database service instance is limited to run on a maximum of 8 OCPUs. The aggregate of all Autonomous Database service instances may exceed this limit.

Enterprise Edition: you need your EE supported license and the Multitenant option license.

  • When using 17 or more OCPUs per Autonomous Database service instance, additionally, the RAC option license.
  • When using Autonomous Data Guard, additionally, the Active Data Guard option license.

With that:

  • You are eligible to use all database options and features as listed above in License Included.
  • There is no restriction regarding the maximum number of OCPUs per Autonomous Database service instance.

Autonomous Databases using less than 17 OCPUs run on RAC too, always. The difference is that your database service might be open on one RAC node only, which in case of local failure or due to maintenance, the service will instantly be relocated to another available RAC node. Hence, you continue to benefit from all Exadata and RAC High Availability capabilities.

Conclusion

Using the License Included model is very simple and straightforward, allowing you to use all database options and features available in the Cloud Database service you are using. You don’t pay any additional support costs or need to worry about any support contract violations.

Bring Your Own License (BYOL) provides a lower cost per CPU usage, while continue paying the support stream and taking care of using only the database options you are eligible for. Additionally, BYOL allows you to use many cool database options and features without having the corresponding option licenses on-premises.

Further Reading

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