Use Oracle's database? Watch out for this Dec. 1 deadline

All companies that use Oracle Database SE or SE1 will be affected, a consultant warns

Companies that use a standard edition of Oracle's database software should be aware that a rapidly approaching deadline could mean increased licensing costs.

Oracle will stop selling its Database Standard Edition (SE) and Standard Edition 1 (SE1) products on Dec. 1, meaning customers who use those products will be "frozen in scalability," because they won't be able to buy new licenses or upgrade to new SE or SE1 releases, said Eliot Arlo Colon, senior vice president and Oracle practice leader with Miro Consulting.

The Standard editions have been viable choices for companies seeking a lower-cost alternative to Oracle’s Enterprise Edition, Colon wrote in a report Thursday, but "Oracle is now changing the rules around Standard Edition licensing."

Those rules now put companies on track to migrate and upgrade to Standard Edition 2 or to the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition. Standard Edition 2 comes with greater limitations than SE or SE1, and it's also "highly likely" that migrating to SE2 will require new hardware, he said.

Companies "will be forced to upgrade to SE2 or EE if they go beyond their license quantity owned or if they utilize the latest release," Colon said via e-mail.

All companies that use Oracle Database SE1 and SE will be affected, he said.

"It means having to make the strategic decision of upgrading to EE, upgrading to SE2, changing hardware or buying more SE1 and/or SE before the deadline," Colon explained.

Meanwhile, "Oracle customers will see their support for SE and SE1 diminishing over the next couple of years due to Oracle's desupporting plan for these products," he warned.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As is commonly the case with Oracle, there are a host of related licensing issues. So what do Oracle database customers need to do?

First, if they want to stockpile more SE or SE1 licenses for scalability, they need to make those purchases before Dec. 1. Otherwise, they need to firm up plans for upgrading or migrating.

"Oracle customers should not be taking this lightly given that they will lose significant leverage the longer they wait," Colon said.

If they miss the deadline, there could still be a chance of negotiating something within Oracle's current fiscal year for license continuance, he suggested.

The bottom line, though, is that customers on SE or SE1 "should not be standing pat without a strategy," he said. "They will need to make a decision one way or another if their SE or SE1 count exceeds their quantity owned, if they require the new version of the database, if they require active support or are changing their hardware platform."

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