Oracle’s PartnerNetwork Membership and Compliance

August 19, 2016

Author

Brian Lowinger

SAM Oracle Compliance Consultant at SoftwareONE SoftwareONE The University of Montana Linkedin

The Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) offers partner organizations various benefits and resources, including the right to use Oracle programs to develop and demonstrate their applications. When used within the restrictions of OPN, these development and demonstration licenses are free and unlimited. If used beyond the OPN limitations, however, full-use licenses are required. During its audits of customers, Oracle routinely scrutinizes use of programs deployed under OPN just as rigorously as they do for full-use production installations. Oracle knows that many customers inadvertently violate the OPN restrictions, and such violations create an opportunity for additional compliance revenue. Customers that wish to reduce compliance risk and corresponding penalties should ensure that they understand what is and is not allowed as part of their OPN membership.

Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Limitations

The purpose of free OPN licenses is to allow partners to use Oracle programs to develop and demonstrate an application that will be commercially available to multiple end users. The licenses are intended for developing a product that works with Oracle and securing intent to sell that product. It is important for partners to understand that the free OPN development licenses may not be used for development purposes for a single, specific customer that has purchased the partner’s application.  Once the partner’s application or solution has been delivered to the end user, full-use Oracle licenses would be required for ongoing development efforts for that end user.

Also, partners should remember that OPN demo and development licenses may not be used for an application or solution intended for only one end user. The application that the partner develops must be intended for multiple end users in order to comply with what is allowed under OPN.

Another important limitation to be aware of is that licenses granted under OPN may not be used for the partner’s internal business operations. Such use would be deemed a fully licensable development environment by Oracle.

OPN licenses may be used to provide technical support to an end user, but only if a distribution agreement is in place between the partner and Oracle. This allows a partner to provide front line support for Oracle programs packaged with their applications, and provides a channel through which Oracle can collect support royalties. OPN licenses cannot be used to provide technical support without a corresponding distribution agreement.

A final important dynamic regarding OPN licenses is that they do not apply to solutions offered in SaaS or cloud models. As ISVs transition from developing on-premise solutions to cloud, they must license software directly from Oracle for their hosting facilities under a model referred to as “proprietary hosting.” Under this model, the ISV charges its customers a fee and Oracle receives no license or support revenue directly from the ISV’s end-user customers. The test and development environments that support these deployments must be licensed separately as well, and are not covered by OPN. This is especially risk-laden because most ISVs have been operating under the unlimited deployment rights afforded under OPN’s nominal membership fee. A slight shift to the cloud makes their entire development organization susceptible to full use licensing, which can quickly add up to millions of dollars in license requirements.

Stay Compliant

As we can see, the parameters within which OPN demo and development licenses may be used are fairly rigid. Customers that don’t regularly review the limitations established in their OPN agreements with Oracle may lose sight of what is allowed under the membership and may inadvertently deploy Oracle in a “full-use” fashion by misunderstanding what is permitted. Oracle will correct the error during an audit by charging additional license fees to resolve the resulting compliance issues.

Staying compliant with your OPN membership is an essential part of a good overall Oracle SAM practice. To learn more about how SoftwareONE can help you with Oracle, click on the banner below to contact an Oracle SAM specialist.

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