Oracle’s new Java subscription model to cost a lot more: Gartner

In January, Oracle replaced the Java SE and Java SE Desktop subscription with the new Java SE Universal subscription that charges enterprise on a per employee metric instead of a per processor or per named user plus metric.

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Oracle’s new Java subscription licensing model could cost existing and new customers a lot more, according to a research paper from market research firm Gartner. 

On January 23, Oracle replaced its former Java SE and Java SE Desktop subscription with a new Java SE Universal subscription that changes the licensing model to a per employee metric from licenses that were based on named user plus and processor counts. The switch to per employee pricing immediately sparked concern among Java customers.

The software giant defines named user plus as individual authorized by an enterprise to use the programs, which are installed on a single server or multiple servers, regardless of whether the individual is actively using the programs at any given time. A non-human user is also counted as a named user plus.

The company counts any processor that is running Oracle programs as a "processor" and these processors in turn can be accessed by internal users of an enterprise.

This change in licensing model is expected to increase the cost of subscription, according to the Gartner report.

“The cost of the Java SE Universal Subscription may be higher than the legacy Java SE Subscription and Java SE Desktop Subscription due to the impact of the Employee metric,” the report said.

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The switch to the employee metric could trigger higher costs for enterprises as the new Java SE Universal subscription requires licensing all employees in an organization, regardless of whether they use Oracle, the report explained.

Oracle also counts any temporary employees, contractors, and agents as part of the employee metric.

The subscription under the new Universal scheme stands at $15 per employee per month compared to $2.50 per named user plus/desktop per month, and $25 per processor per month.

Oracle follows the employee metric in licensing models even for other products including E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and Fusion Cloud applications such as HCM (human capital management).

Oracle to pursue licensing compliance vigorously

The market research firm expects Oracle to pursue the licensing compliance vigorously.

“According to Gartner client interactions, Oracle actively targets organizations — both existing Oracle customers and those with no Oracle products — on Java compliance, and deploys its global Java licensing team to enforce compliance,” the report read.

For calendar year 2022, 52% of the Oracle software compliance and audit-related interactions focused on Oracle Java, according to Gartner.

It is unclear what enterprises that use legacy subscription of Java can expect in terms of renewal fees and renewal time, the market research firm added.


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