The ITAM Review

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

Oracle on VMWare: What to know

Many companies use VMware as their virtualization technology.

Many companies use Oracle as their database technology.

It’s great that the two co-exist so well, making everyone’s lives that bit easier.

If only!

Running Oracle in a VMware environment can be confusing, illogical and fraught with the danger of huge financial penalties.

What’s the problem?

You put your Oracle database inside a virtual machine that uses a subset of the physical server’s capacity…so you license appropriately. However, Oracle doesn’t recognise VMware as a technology that reduces the number of licenses required. This means you need to license Oracle as if it was running on the entire capacity available within the physical server – all the processors and all the cores.

What if there’s more than 1 server? What if you’ve got a cluster, or a cluster of clusters?

Then you’ve got a bigger problem!

As VMware technology changes and brings with it new capabilities, so too it brings new ways of falling foul of Oracle’s licensing rules. This means that an organisation can become non-compliant with Oracle– and face millions of dollars in additional licensing and fines – simply through the upgrade of a different vendor’s product.

For an ITAM department, you need to:

  • Understand the Oracle licensing rules
  • Understand how these apply to the different VMware releases
  • Know which VMware release/releases are live within your business
  • Have insight, and ideally input, into the location of Oracle software
  • Have insight, and ideally input, into VMware upgrades

Next steps

Step 1

Join us on March 14th for our Oracle on VMware webinar, run in conjunction with Richard Spithoven of B-lay.

Register here




Step 2

Learn with LISA. Our ever growing, always updating, online training platform is available 24/7 to help you – and your team – get to grips with software licensing.

Check out a free trial of our Oracle training here

About Rich Gibbons

Rich has been in the world of IT and software licensing since 2003, having been a software sales manager for a VAR, a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer, and now an ITAM analyst looking at software licensing and cloud.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!

Connect with Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. James Rigg says:

    I suggest it is important to differentiate how Oracle choose to interpret their licensing terms and conditions vs. what the actual terms and conditions say. To my knowledge Oracle’s “rule” about VMWare clusters is just a rule and has no basis in contract (e.g. it is not in the LDR). Consequently it is open to customers to contest these interpretations by Oracle – e.g. Mars vs Oracle.

  2. Alan Witt says:

    Very true James – see also their “guidance” regarding cloud deployments. I’d love to see the EU Competition Commission take them on because the preferential pricing for Oracle Cloud vs AWS/Azure is clearly anti-competitive. Same applies to the fact you can’t acquire cloud-deployed licenses at ULA certification, even though there is no clause restricting that in historical ULA agreements.

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