Oracle have made another frustrating licensing decision.  They realised how useful ADVM/ACFS was, and so it has suddenly became a separately licensed feature called Oracle Cloud File System.

From September 2010 until early 2011, ASM + ADVM + ACFS were called Oracle Cluster File System – Cloud Edition.  The licence manual listed OCFS-CE as a separately licensed product.  The free Grid Infrastructure was replaced with just free Oracle Clusterware.
In early February 2011, Oracle rebranded them again to be ASM + Oracle Cloud FS (ACFS+ADVM).  Some of their documents still list ASM as part of Oracle Cloud FS, but I am sure this is an oversight.

My issue is with the timing of this new cost to customers.  If it was chargeable from day one, then fair enough; everyone would know where they stood and could plan to use the grid infrastructure accordingly.  Instead, Oracle have added a price tag to a patch set release, and appear to be justifying it by rebranding with a buzz word.

The waters are muddied by two more things:

  1. Binaries, related configuration, administrative and diagnostics files needed to operate Oracle Software do not require the purchase of a CloudFS licence.  (This definition differs from the Oracle Licence manual, but is paraphrased from MOS 1322405.1 which appears to be an attempt to clarify the situation).  Charging extra for “user data” files like RMAN backups, exports and other database related files just makes life more difficult for clients that have committed to running their business on Oracle Clusters.  (Exports and RMAN backups aren’t supported on ACFS/CloudFS anyway, but I doubt there is a technical reason for this, because even non-Oracle files are supported).
  2. MOS 1322405.1 also states
    When upgrading from to, CloudFS licensing is required if using any of the new features in Otherwise, no new licensing is required.”
    ACFS for Solaris and AIX are new features, so does that mean the pricing effectively differs depending on the OS?  How about customers that bought licences before change in policy, planning to build clusters based on Oracle’s advice that ACFS on Solaris or AIX would be available in the next patch set?

I welcome any comments from people that have had this situation clarified by their Oracle account managers.


3 thoughts on “Oracle Cloud File System Licensing

  1. I’ve just stumbled across this Ari. Good on you. I have raised an SR for this and would be interested to see what Larry’s response is. We are thinking of using this for RMAN. Will come back…

    1. Hi Derek,

      Since I wrote this post, the Oracle 11gR2 Licensing Guide has been updated to say:

      Oracle Cloud File System includes Oracle ASM Cluster File System (Oracle ACFS) and Oracle ASM Dynamic Volume Manager (Oracle ADVM).

      Use of Oracle ADVM and Oracle ACFS’s base functionality (i.e., excluding the below-listed advanced functionality) is free for all data types, including non-Oracle files.

      Use of Oracle ACFS’s advanced functionality requires the Cloud File System license. The advanced functionality consists of snapshots, replication, tagging, realm-based security, encryption, and auditing.

      Oracle will provide support for ACFS/ADVM only if the server is running an Oracle product, which may include Oracle Linux or Oracle Solaris, that is also under Oracle support.

      That makes much more sense.
      Oracle Document 1322405.1 that I referred to in the post has disappeared too.

      BTW, I have noticed that the certification for ACFS lags behind Grid Infrastructure, which was annoying for planning new builds.


      1. I have noticed that the latest 11.2 License manual has dropped the CloudFS name and licensing requirement.

        Also, the licensing information in 1369107.1 has been removed.

        The 12c manual is still referring to Oracle Cloud File System, but says it is free for the basic features, and that the advanced features are: snapshots, replication, tagging, realm-based security, encryption, and auditing.

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