Oracle's perpetual license talk: Can it preserve the core?

Oracle will reportedly offer a perpetual database license in a move that rhymes with software as a service deals and could slow competition from open source.

Oracle is reportedly developing a perpetual all-you-can-eat license for its database, but it's unclear whether the move will juice sales going forward.

According to The Register, Oracle is developing a perpetual unlimited licensing agreement, or PULA. This licensing agreement wouldn't have a time limit like other licenses that run about three to four years. The previous licenses would typically involve an audit from Oracle making sure you weren't using more software than initially agreed upon.

The PULA would basically give customers a predictable line item and ongoing cost for use of Oracle's database. The PULA rhymes with a software-as-a-service agreement.

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Oracle rivals such as EnterpriseDB, which offers Postgres as an open source alternative, are crowing a bit. In a blog post, EnterpriseDB noted that the new licensing terms look like a good move to relax Oracle terms. However, EnterpriseDB argues that Oracle is just trying to lock customers into a perpetual deal.

By licensing on a perpetual basis, Oracle could continue to charge maintenance, which is the company's real cash cow.

With new workloads moving to open source databases or cloud offerings from the likes of Amazon Web Services, Oracle's core database licensing is likely to be under pressure for quarters to come.

An unlimited buffet of database options could stem defections from Oracle. What remains unclear is whether customers will diversify their database options no matter what Oracle offers.