Carelessly running Oracle, even on VMware and Nutanix

During Oracle Open World 2019, a partnership between Oracle and VMware was announced. From now on customers can extend or migrate their VMware operations to bare metal server clusters on the Oracle Cloud while maintaining full control of the environment (this is unique).

This collaboration is a great step forward. However, Oracle licensing policies for VMWare remain the same, so be sure your environment is licensed correctly.

Want to know how you can run Oracle on VMware or Nutanixwithout needing to license all your ESXi hosts? Just continue reading and we tell you more about how you can do.



Oracle Licensing policies

For those who know and for those who would not know: Oracle licensing policies are complexconfusing and if not applied correctly, they can be very costly after an Oracle license audit.

What is nice about Oracle licensing, is the fact Oracle provides all kinds of editions, types, metrics, etc… so one can choose whatever license suits the best for the company. Some of the menu options to choose from (in case of an Oracle Database) (the following list is not exhaustive and just informational, for the latest Oracle License policies please contact us or your Oracle account manager):

  • EditionsStandard Edition Two (SE2) or Enterprise Edition (EE) (SE and SE1 are deprecated and customers should upgrade their license to SE2). On top of Enterprise Edition (EE) there are also additional options (like RAC, partitioning, Active Dataguard, etc…) and Packs (like Diagnostic pack, Tuning pack, etc…) which need to be licensed separately.
  • Metrics (see
    • Named User Plus (NUP): buy your license based on the number of users (both human and (non-human operated) devices), with a minimum defined depending on your edition or the actual number of users (whichever is greater). The minimum that applies:
      • SE2: 10 NUP/socket (check the link or ask us/your Oracle AM for the latest number)
      • EE: 25 NUP/Processor license (check the link or ask us/your Oracle AM for the latest number)
      • NOTE: NUP is only possible when the number of users can be identified and counted.
    • Processor (PROC): licensing based on the Processor (PROC) metric. The metric definitions depend on the edition:
      • SE2: Number of PROC depends on the number of sockets, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket. There’s a maximum of 2 sockets on each server to be able to use Standard Edition Two (for SE and SE1 there are other rules), otherwise one should use Enterprise Edition (EE). There are no processor cores/threads limits, but the SE2 database itself will not use more than 16 threads. In case RAC (clustering) is used on SE2, each server should note have more than 1 socket and the database will again not use more than 16 threads (8 threads/server). A maximum of 2 servers is only possible. Important: Starting from Oracle 19c, RAC is not allowed anymore on SE2 (see our article for more info:
      • EE: The number of required PROC licenses needs to be determined by multiplying the total number of cores of the processor by a core processor licensing factor, which can be found in the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table ( The multiplier depends on your processor type.
  • Server/Hardware Partitioning (virtualization): more info on
    • Soft partitioning: when running Oracle on VMWare, Nutanix (either VMware or AHV), Oracle VM, AIX Workload Manager, etc… (The Oracle Partitioning Policy contains the full list) limiting the number of CPUs does not limit the number of Oracle licenses required. In case of VMWare 6.0 or higher, all ESXi hosts should be licenses as the virtual systems can vMotion across vCenter Servers.
    • Hard partitioning: Using Solaris Zones, vPar, Physical domains, etc… (The Oracle Partitioning Policy contains the full list) limiting the number of CPUs also limits the number of Oracle licenses required. Oracle VM can also be used for hard partitioning when a specific document is followed to perform the hard partitioning (for x86 the document is:
    • Capacity On Demand
  • Public Cloud:
    • Amazon/Azure: two vCPUs are equivalent to one Oracle PROC license if hyper-threading is enabled. In case hyper-threading is not enabled, one vCPU should be counted as equivalent to one Oracle PROC license.
    • Oracle: two OCPUs are equivalent to one Oracle PROC license. An OCPU are 2 vCPUs on the Oracle cloud (one physical core with hyper-threading enabled).
    • Other: check the Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment policy:


We’ll not go too much in detail, but there are still several other policies and documents describing how to license your environment, like

  • Disaster Recovery licensing policies
  • Types of licenses (Full Use (FU), Application Specific Full Use (ASFU) …)
  • Contracts: OLSA, MDA, OMA, ULA, etc.
  • Software Investment Guide
  • Etc


At the end the most important thing to know: The Oracle licensing rules that apply will be in the documents you have signed with Oracle. So always check your contract(s) before starting to configure or using certain versions, options, packs, etc…


No License Key

In case of the Oracle Database Software, no license key is needed at all. You can install any version and edition you want (SE2, EE), enable options and features, configure clustering and disaster recovery, without even knowing you have the correct licenses in place.

Some examples of what we’ve seen happening in the last few years:

  • Oracle support asking to run an AWR report, without the customer having the Diagnostic Pack. Running the report sets a flag and the customer is out of compliance during the next Oracle License audit.
  • Oracle support tools, asked by Oracle support to download and run, suddenly create partitions within your database and requiring you to have the Partitioning option licensed on top of Enterprise Edition.
  • Developers starting to use certain tuning options or other features, which are very helpful for the company, but not appropriately licensed.
  • Other vendors releasing new features to limit the number of (v)CPU, like the Amazon “Optimizing CPU option”, giving Oracle customers the idea they can use it to limit the number of Oracle licenses required. However, in this specific case, Oracle needs to be licensed by the maximum vCPU counts of the given instance and not on the enabled vCPU counts.
  • Application vendors which installed the Oracle database for their application, but without the customer having the necessary Oracle licenses to run it (and no license coming from the vendor).
  • Etc


Meet LicenseFortress

Founded by 2 Oracle Licensing and VMWare experts, Dean Bolton and Michael Corey, LicenseFortress serves customers in almost every industry segment.

Via our partnership with LicenseFortress, we want to help customers take control of their Oracle license investment while removing the threat of being out of compliance.

LicenseFortress provides Real-Time Compliance Monitoring of Oracle licenses. The tool is also VMware aware and can be fully-integrated with vSphere to automatically discover new virtual servers using Oracle software. Beside of that, it can also be used to review your compliance in public clouds like Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle.

The Standard and Premier subscriptions enable real-time alerting (so action can be taken immediately), provide access to licensing experts and the license academy. When notified of an Oracle audit, customers can rely on audit defence. In this case, Monin works together with LicenseFortress to handle everything with Oracle licensing.

What makes this partnership even more unique: with the LicenseFortress Premier subscription, unlike any other software asset management solution (SAM), LicenseFortress offers legal representation and insurance backing at no additional cost (financial guarantee).

You can rest easy as we are ready to manage, monitor and protect your Oracle investment; minimizing and even eliminating back-license fees for products and support, fines, and auditing costs.


How to avoid being out of compliance, and how to run Oracle software on VMware or Nutanix?

Monin delivers different services to avoid your company being out of compliance:

  1. License Assessments: a one-time review of the Oracle licenses currently used;
  2. License advice and License optimization: Advice about how to set up your environment, which Oracle licenses to buy in that case and how much. Beside of that, we can also review your current Oracle licenses and provide optimizations where possible (fewer licenses, alternative licenses, etc…).
  3. LicenseFortress Standard or Premier: the way to go if you want to rest easy and be sure you don’t get out of compliance suddenly.


How to run Oracle software on VMware or Nutanix?

Together with LicenseFortress, we’ll help you architecting and configuring the environment the correct way. We’ve got the experience on how to configure Oracle on VMware or Nutanix in the best possible way. Afterwards, LicenseFortress Real-Time Compliance monitoring is implemented to ensure ongoing compliance. During an Oracle license audit, we immediately engage with Oracle on your behalf. Via the Premier subscription, even legal representation and a financial guarantee are provided.


Is LicenseFortress only interesting when running on VMware?

LicenseFortress is VMware aware and thus the best solution to keep your Oracle investment compliant when running on VMware. However, it provides Real-Time Compliance Monitoring for Oracle software, no matter where it’s running: on VMware, public cloud, on-prem, … It helps you being compliant continuously, without any surprises during an Oracle license audit (as you could read in the examples of what we’ve seen happening in the last few years).


Having a bit more insights about Oracle licensing and how to avoid being out compliance? Be aware that licensing policies are updated from time to time and it is important to remember the following: the Oracle licensing rules that apply will be in the documents you have signed with Oracle. Some interesting links: