Oracle Java subscription: How to easily gain visibility into your license agreements
SHI’s Oracle Discovery Application (SODA) helps you gain an unprecedented view into your Java environment to avoid unwanted audit catastrophes.

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If you’re using Java to develop and run mission-critical applications, then you’re no stranger to change. From having to transition from a Binary Code License Agreement (BCLA) to an Oracle Technology Network Agreement (OTN), then again to a No-Fee Terms and Conditions Agreement (NFTC) and a Java SE subscription, it can feel like your volume licensing agreements update almost as often as the licenses themselves. Without proper insight, all these changes can complicate your processes for renewals, version upgrades, or audit responses.

To ensure your deployments align with your contracts, meet Oracle’s requirements, and provide real business value, you need holistic visibility and pinpoint historical accuracy. But if you’re like most organizations, then keeping track of all your licensing agreements and Java versions can be utterly headache-inducing.

The Employee Universal conundrum

As of January 2023, Oracle has replaced their Named User Plus (NUP) and Processor (PROC) licensing metrics with their all-encompassing Employee Universal metric. Instead of purchasing and deploying licenses based on how many end-user devices or data center processors are running Java, your volume license count will measure against every single employee within your organization – even contractors and consultants.

The good news? Licenses older than January 2023 are grandfathered into your existing NUP or PROC metrics. The bad news? With one mistake or incompatibility, you could find yourself paying more for a disproportionately huge volume of Java licenses.

If Oracle asks for a fully detailed report of your current Java state, how will you respond? And if their answer is to transition to a new agreement charging you for every employee within your organization – regardless of their Java utilization – how can you push back?

Know the ins and outs of your Java agreement(s)

When it comes to your Java contracts, knowledge really is power. You can avoid inadvertently stumbling into an Employee Universal agreement by examining the intricacies of your Java environment. Identify where all your Java instances are installed, which versions and updates they’re running, and if they were delivered within an application package or installed separately. Knowing this will help you exclude devices running applications which embed Java but aren’t leveraging the Java development platform.

Next, identify which licenses are paid versus free according to your versions and updates. You can reference the chart below to determine which agreements and licensing models your versions of Java belong to.

Once you understand the breakdown of your Java licenses, it’s important to know the needs of each of your applications. Are they compatible with OpenJDK, Oracle’s free, open-source version of Java SE? Do they need a specific Java version and update to run properly? If so, which licensing agreements are available to you, and which metrics will Oracle use to determine your license volume?

By preparing yourself with deep knowledge of your existing Java licenses, you can push back against unwanted transitions to Employee Universal and stick to the versions of Java and volume licensing agreements that best suit your needs.

Consider OpenJDK or Java 17 and Java 21

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to maintaining an optimal Java environment, having the above knowledge will allow you to uninstall unneeded licenses and disable Auto-Update for versions mission-critical to your applications.

And by knowing what versions of OpenJDK and Java are compatible with your applications, you can make informed decisions about which versions will provide long-term support for your needs.

For many organizations, the best way to avoid unwanted fees and compliance risks is to migrate to OpenJDK. If OpenJDK is incompatible with your applications, consider migrating to Java 17, which lets you leverage Oracle’s free NFTC agreement until September 2024 (after which Java 17 transitions to OTN as a paid license). You can then upgrade to Java 21 once it releases later this year and remain under NFTC for the foreseeable future. By doing so, you will have bought yourself enough time to research how to make your applications work with OpenJDK – or how to replace your applications with compatible alternatives.

SODA: SHI’s certified tool for fast-tracking Java optimization

Java is mission-critical for your development teams, but managing your Oracle contracts requires valuable time and resources better spent on the goal-oriented tasks that propel your organization forward. With help from a verified partner, you can achieve your optimal Oracle license position without having to sacrifice elsewhere.

SHI’s Oracle Discovery Application (SODA) is an Oracle-verified license measurement tool that helps increase visibility into your Java installations and license compliance position while identifying potential savings and risks. With SODA, you can:

  • Scan your entire infrastructure to reveal your Java installation path, where Java is running, and which versions and updates are present.
  • Remediate and optimize your licensing position to maximize compliance and value.
  • Make data-driven predictions of how Oracle will determine your license usage.
  • Submit audit-compliant reports to Oracle Global Licensing and Advisory Services (GLAS).

Engineered for speed and simplicity by our IT asset management (ITAM) experts, SODA delivers the information you need to quickly manage your Java assets with minimally invasive protocols and high-security levels.

When you leverage SODA, you receive continuous scanning and expert guidance from SHI’s license consultants. We help you maintain control over Java licensing costs and ensure you properly manage your deployments. When Oracle comes knocking, you’ll have everything you need to ensure you come out on top – and stay there.

To learn more about how SODA and SHI can help solve what’s next for your Java licensing agreements, contact our ITAM experts today.