Addressing the Oracle “Ten Day Rule” misconception

In Blog by Nymad0 Comments

In a world of confusion around Oracle’s licensing policies, the one area where I find the most ignorance is actually an area which most people believe they understand, namely the “Ten Day Rule”. And when I say most people, I include a number of Oracle staff in this.

Let me first confirm what it is not…Calendar image

The 10 day rule is NOT an entitlement to run your backup / DR environment for 10 days in a calendar year without needing to license it.

This is a confusion with Oracle’s policy on backup testing that allows you to run the database up to 4 times in a calendar year (where each test is less than 2 days).


For the purpose of testing physical copies of backups, your license for the Oracle Database (Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition or Standard Edition One) includes the right to run the database on an unlicensed computer for up to four times, not exceeding 2 days per testing, in any given calendar year. The aforementioned right does not cover any other data recovery method – such as remote mirroring – where the Oracle program binary files are copied or synchronised.

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Instead the 10 day rule covers a very specific (and fast becoming an obsolete) requirement around Failover between an active passive cluster. This technology includes RAC One Node and various OS level cluster services, the functionality of which is being replaced by high availability virtualised solutions.

The rule allows for failover to the passive node for up to 10 days in a calendar year without the need to license the passive node. A two hour period spanning two different days still counts as two days.


Data Recovery using Clustered Environments (Failover)

The failover data recovery method is an example of a clustered deployment; where multiple nodes/servers have access to one Single Storage/SAN. In such cases your license for the programs listed on the US Oracle Technology Price, which may be accessed at, includes the right to run the licensed program(s) on an unlicensed spare computer in a failover environment for up to a total of ten separate days in any given calendar year (for example, if a failover node is down for two hours on Tuesday and three hours on Friday, it counts as two days). The above right only applies when a number of machines are arranged in a cluster and share one disk array. When the primary node fails, the failover node acts as the primary node. Once the primary node is repaired, you must switch back to the primary node. Once the failover period has exceeded ten days, the failover node must be licensed. In addition, only one failover node per clustered environment is at no charge for up to ten separate days even if multiple nodes are configured as failover. Downtime for maintenance purposes counts towards the ten separate day’s limitation. When licensing options on a failover environment, the options must match the number of licenses of the associated database. Additionally, when licensing by Named User Plus, the user minimums are waived on one failover node only. Any use beyond the right granted in this section must be licensed separately. In a failover environment, the same license metric must be used for the production and failover nodes when licensing a given clustered configuration.

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For completeness, I am including Oracle’s licensing position on Data Recovery Environments using Copying, Synchronising or Mirroring…

You have to license everything – but I’m sure most of you guessed that would be the position anyway!????

Data Recovery Environments using Copying, Synchronizing or Mirroring

Standby and Remote Mirroring are commonly used terms to describe these methods of deploying Data Recovery environments. In these Data Recovery deployments, the data, and optionally the Oracle binaries, are copied to another storage device. In these Data Recovery deployments all Oracle programs that are installed and/or running must be licensed per standard policies documented in the Oracle Licensing and Services Agreement (OLSA). This includes installing Oracle programs on the DR server(s) to test the DR scenario. Licensing metrics and program options on Production and Data Recovery/Secondary servers must match.

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Oracle license rules remain consistent, in a vague grey kind of way but the interpretation of them seems to change on a regular basis. If you need any support in understanding how a particular rule might be applicable to your environment, then drop us a line for some confidential advice.

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