The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

An Oracle review letter

Oracle review letter

Oracle review letter – CLICK TO ENLARGE

The image right (click to enlarge it) is a dummy Oracle review letter from Oracle LMS asking our friends at Browbeaten Corp to participate in yet another pesky ‘Review’.

A PDF version is here.

For real life letters check out the legal testimony provided in the recent Mars vs. Oracle case – links and details in this blog post (Mars vs. Oracle).

Looks friendly enough? How should we respond?

Questions to consider when addressing Oracle review letters:

  • How should you acknowledge this letter? Should you even bother acknowledging it?
  • Is it a fishing exercise or contractual request for audit?
  • Who should I speak to within my organization to respond to this letter?
  • How should I respond?
  • Do I need to respond within the 10 days specified? Can I set the agenda or do I need to work to their agenda?
  • Are they really an impartial team? Surely they have commercial revenue targets to hit?

We will cover these questions and much more at our free audit defence workshop in Amsterdam on 12th April, more details here:

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.


  1. Christian den Boer says:

    Customers should take the letter serious, the fact that it says ‘license review’ does not mean that it is voluntary. It is based on the standard audit clause that all Oracle customers have in their contract (with some exceptions in cases of ULA’s or very large companies). Oracle LMS will not allow you to ignore it, they will insist on the review and will continue until a meeting is planned. LMS will use legal to get that meeting, and will refer to the clause in the contract. The audit clause however does not state that you need to respond within 10 days, but within 45 days (upon written notice). The letter is usually addressed to a C level person at the customer. In most cases a single point of contact is assigned at the customer to respond to the letter. Smart customers try to set the agenda themselves and will try to limit the scope of the review, and will try to set broader timelines for the review. Although LMS is part of the finance department of Oracle, they still are part of a team that needs to drive revenue. The result of a review is a report, and if the report states that a customer has to acquire additional licenses, they have 30 days to do this. Customers should keep this in mind before they respond to the letter.

  2. Sumin Tchen says:

    HI Martin, thanks for posting. We especially like the signature. Not replying is akin to ignoring a traffic citation. It only gets worse over time. We think you should reply promptly, but set some ground rules. LMS will ask for their customer’s DBA names and contact info. Under no circumstances should you give this. In fact you should make sure all of the DBAs know not to talk to Oracle once this letter is received. Oracle will try to quiz your DBAs on Oracle installs, etc. and that’s something the end user needs to control.

    The next step is to do a very thorough internal audit of your Oracle installations and usage (options and packs), if this is not already part of your ITAM process. You need to be completely satisfied with your Oracle license position before you submit any documentation to Oracle. Keep in mind that if you are running any Oracle instances on VMWare, you could be liable for much larger processor counts than you expect. Oracle is taking the position that for instances of Oracle running on vMotion the end user needs to license all of the possible servers. Another issue often overlooked is that for Oracle databases, you owe a license for the database if it’s installed, but you only owe licenses for the Options and Management Packs if they have been used. If you ITAM tool does not automatically discover usage on Options and Packs, this could take a bit of effort, but it’s very worthwhile because the Options and Packs are often just as costly as the underlying database itself.

    All part of doing business today, unfortunately. Regards, Sumin

  3. Sumin and Christian – thanks for your comments. Much appreciated.

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