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What happened to the Oracle PULA software licensing contract?

Word of a purported Oracle Perpetual Unlimited License Agreement slipped out last year, but nothing has been heard since. Oracle's silence on the PULA is all about the cloud, experts say.

We think Oracle is de-focusing from on-premises software licensing of any type. So it probably hasn't spent any time, effort or resources to create and broadly offer a new type of software contract like the rumored Oracle PULA, short for Perpetual Unlimited License Agreement.

From what has leaked out about it, the intention of the Oracle PULA was to get away from the fixed-term component of the company's traditional ULA and give customers the opportunity to use as much Oracle software as they wanted on an ongoing basis. The downside of this is the likelihood that you would never be able to reduce costs or change vendors to get away from Oracle if you wanted to do so in the future.

However, Oracle is pushing its sales force so strongly to sell cloud technologies that most Oracle sales representatives don't have any financial incentive to sell anything else. In our opinion, at this point even the standard ULAs are only being used to fix large licensing non-compliance situations with customers who are adamant that they don't want to move to Oracle's cloud offerings. Whenever possible, though, Oracle is trying to tempt people into using its cloud services by selling them cloud software licenses instead of traditional ones as part of the commercial resolution of non-compliance findings.

Oracle has invested heavily in cloud development and appears to offer more flexible pricing for software that's used in the cloud. This makes it possible to scale software instances up and down as needed without spending as much money as you would have to in an on-premises deployment. As a result, a cloud license agreement is likely to be a better option for most customers than a regular ULA or even the Oracle PULA, if that ever comes to pass. Cloud licensing moves away from the ever-increasing software and support costs that Oracle's customers are used to now and potentially offers the opportunity for increased flexibility on both cost and software usage.

About the authors:
Keith Dobbs and Jane McCulloch are co-founders and directors of Madora Consulting, a U.K.-based company that works with clients on Oracle licensing issues.

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