Licensing Q&A: Does running Oracle DB on VMware increase the risk of license non-compliance?

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Oracle databases are widely used for their robust performance and reliability. However, when running on VMware with vMotion enabled, there is an increased risk of license noncompliance.

vMotion is a VMware feature that allows for the live migration of virtual machines from one host to another. This can be useful for load balancing, maintenance, and disaster recovery. However, when vMotion is used to move an Oracle database, the database’s license may no longer be valid.

This is because Oracle licenses are tied to specific hardware configurations. When a virtual machine is migrated using vMotion, the underlying hardware changes, potentially invalidating the license. This is because the Oracle license is tied to the physical resources of the host machine and not the virtual machine.

A real life example

The case of Oracle v. Mars, Inc. serves as a cautionary tale for organizations running Oracle databases on VMware with vMotion enabled. In this case, Mars, Inc., a well-known candy manufacturer, was found to be in violation of Oracle’s licensing terms.

According to the complaint, Mars had used vMotion to migrate Oracle databases from one host to another, without first obtaining the necessary licenses. As a result, Mars was found to be in violation of Oracle’s licensing terms and was ordered to pay damages.

This case highlights the importance of understanding the licensing terms of your Oracle products, especially when running on virtualized environments. By using vMotion to migrate virtual machines without first obtaining the necessary licenses, Mars inadvertently put itself at risk for license noncompliance.

It is important for organizations to be aware of the risks associated with running Oracle databases on VMware with vMotion enabled and to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance. This includes staying informed about any updates or changes to Oracle’s licensing terms, as well as using Oracle’s license mobility feature when available.

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