Why you should care about Oracle’s Java strategy!


There have been significant changes to Oracle's Java licensing and pricing policies over the last year which could significantly impact a commercial enterprise. Java is a popular software programming technology that has been used widely over the last 20 years. It became a popular, and free, alternative to the Microsoft .Net software development environment. Both technologies are frequently found installed on desktops and servers throughout most organizations.

Oracle, the owner of core Java technologies, has been strategically modifying the Java licensing terms to start charging customers for its use beginning January 2019. Starting with Java 11, customers must sign annual subscription agreements with Oracle to cover the cost of support and maintenance on the installed systems. Desktop subscriptions begin at $2.50 per user and servers (both on-premise as well as cloud implementations) begin at $25.00 per month. Prices can be discount by up to 50% based upon the total number of Desktops and Servers in use. This new cost was not budget in many IT organizations and is turning out to be an unplanned budget surprise this year.

It's also important to note the Java 11 Software Developers Kits (and anticipated follow on versions) not only contain all of the tools and libraries needed to build complex applications, but it also contains additional commercial products that are chargeable if installed and used within the environment. This audit trap is similar to one Oracle uses with its database add on products such as Real Application Clusters. Oracle includes these additional commercial products in with Java SE knowing the engineers using the tools are not licensing experts and they seldom read or follow the terms of the licensing agreements. The engineers are excited to get their hands on new development tools and immediately install it and start using it. The danger is, when they inadvertently open one of the commercial tools, your organization is automatically committed to buying the product. Even though the product was never on a sales order, purchase order or bill of materials. When the Oracle auditors find the installation they will add it to the list of non-compliant product findings.

What to do?

  • Have you directed your SAM team to identify where Java is installed and what versions are in use?
  • Do you have total counts of desktops and servers which potentially will need a Java subscription and the total cost?
  • Does Java need to be installed on all of these systems, if not, can your SAM tool remove unnecessary installation?
  • Java may ship with 3rd party products, the 3rd party vendors should provide you with the proper Java license for those installations, can your SAM tool discern the difference between internally distributed Java vs. Java shipped with 3rd party products?

With Oracle recently completing their fiscal year and rolling out their new year fiscal strategy, it is highly likely Java Audits will see a significant increase. Are you ready?

- Dan Sherwood

‘Curriculum Development Team Member - SAM’

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