What You Need to Know About Major Changes to Licensing and Pricing of Oracle Java


Oracle Releases New Java Global Price List

On January 23, 2023, Oracle released its Oracle Java SE Universal Subscription Global Price List (GPL). Typically, the release of new GPLs are quiet events that might indicate some minor price and/or licensing changes for Oracle products. But this latest release is quite different. It announced a change to Oracle’s licensing model and significantly increased the price for Java subscriptions.

How Did the Licensing Model/Metric Change?

Before the new GPL was released, Java was licensed by Named User for End-User Computing devices and by Processor for Servers. 

As of January 23, 2023, Java licensing requires companies to purchase licenses for “…(i) all of Your full-time, part-time, temporary employees, and (ii) all of the full-time employees, part-time employees and temporary employees of Your agents, contractors, outsourcers, and consultants that support Your internal business operations.”

What Do Oracle Licensing Model/Metric Changes Mean to Me?

Under the old licensing model/metric, if you had 1,000 users with devices using Java, you were required to purchase a subscription for each of those 1,000 users. If you had 100 servers with Java installed and each of those servers had four Intel processors (or cores), you were required to purchase a subscription for 200 PROCs’ worth of Java server licenses (using a .5 processor metric for Intel processors).

Under the new licensing model/metric, you must purchase a subscription for every person working for your company. If you have 10,000 employees and contractors, you will be required to buy 10,000 subscription licenses. If you have servers with less than 50,000 PROCs running Java (after applying the appropriate processor metric), those licenses are included with the 10,000 subscriptions. (NOTE: if you have more than 50,000 PROCs running Java, you would need to purchase an additional license from Oracle.)

What Do Oracle Pricing Changes Mean to Me?

Simply put, your costs for Java could skyrocket. Using the example above, your annual costs under the old GPL would be:

  • 1000 Named Users @ $2.00 each per month = $24,000 per year
  • 200 Processors @ $23.75 each per month = $57,000 per year
  • Total = $81,000 per year

Under the new GPL, your annual costs would be:

  • 10,000 Employees & Contractors @ $8.25 each per month = $990,000
  • 200 Processors for Servers are included for free
  • Total = $990,000 per year

Yes, you read that right – your costs for Oracle Java would increase 12x!

Is There Any More Bad News?

Unfortunately, yes. Clients have started reporting that Oracle has sent them audit notifications for Java. Under the old license model/metric, auditing Java was arduous unless the client had a software asset management (SAM) tool installed that tracked Java installations. With this new license model/metric, auditing Java simply requires knowledge of your employee/contractor count.

If Oracle has contacted your company in the past four years regarding Java subscriptions, but you have yet to execute an agreement, there is a high probability that your next contact from Oracle will be in the form of an audit letter. We believe Oracle will not limit that audit to go-forward agreements. It is likely to pursue penalties for past use since subscriptions became a requirement for commercial use of Java public updates beginning in January 2019. Additionally, Oracle may combine a request to audit Java with a request to audit your Oracle Technology Products (Database, Real Application Clusters, etc.), Middleware (WebLogic, Internet Application Server, etc.), and Application Products (eBusiness, Fusion, etc.).

We believe Oracle is just getting started with auditing corporate Java users and anticipate it will be conducting widespread audits in 2023 to generate billions in revenue.

What If I Have an Existing Java Subscription Agreement?

Fortunately, your licensing and pricing should be locked in under the terms of your current Java subscription agreement. The new GPL will only impact you once your subscription agreement expires. But, at this point, there is no expectation that Oracle will allow you to renew your subscription under the terms of the old GPL; you will likely be required to enter into a new agreement under the terms of the new GPL.

What Should I Do Now and How Can ISG Help?

  • Review your Java deployment footprint and determine if you have any versions of Java deployed that require a subscription. Verify that you have an active subscription with Oracle that covers those licenses.
  • If you have versions of Java deployed that require subscriptions but do not have active subscriptions, understand that Oracle has been and currently tracks the requests for updates made by the Java client.
  • Make sure you understand your deployment position and have a plan in place before having any discussions with Oracle.
  • Consider researching and transitioning to Oracle Java alternatives.

As a leading global information technology research and advisory firm, ISG helps our clients identify and mitigate potential Oracle non-compliance exposure, implement effective software asset management processes, identify Java alternatives and prepare for a practical and collaborative discussion with Oracle.


About the author

John Szente

John Szente

John Szente is a Principal Consultant with over 30 years of experience providing IT solutions consulting and management, vendor management and IT strategic sourcing across multiple categories including software, telecommunications (network, wireless and analog), hardware and managed/outsourced services. In his Principal Consultant role, John is responsible for helping ISG’s clients identify and capture near, mid and long-term cost optimization opportunities in their enterprise, ERP, desktop and subscription-based software and IT hardware spend.