Oracle license requirements in disaster recovery scenarios

One reader asks whether they need an Oracle license to back up their database to tape.

After reading the Oracle Software Investment Guide, it is still not very clear to me whether a license is required if the disaster recovery solution is based on backup tapes.  If I back up my production Oracle database to tape and store offsite and in the disaster recovery server, I pre-installed the Oracle binary there. When DR strikes, I restore the database backup from tape and bring up the database. In this case, do I need to purchase an Oracle license for the DR server? If I plan to use the server to perform DR testing once a year for about a month, do I need to purchase an Oracle license?

When a backup file is created for an Oracle Database, not a copy but an actual backup file, the backup file can then be copied to tape or some other storage spot without requiring any additional Oracle licensing for the database that it contains. However, you cannot pre-install the Oracle binaries onto a disaster recovery server without requiring additional licensing. 

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Oracle typically includes language in their contracts that indicate “For the purpose of testing physical copies of backups, your license for the Oracle Database (Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition or Standard Edition One) includes the right to run the database on an unlicensed computer for up to four times, not exceeding 2 days per testing, in any given calendar year." If you need to test for a month of time then you will need additional licensing.

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