Re: "remove the bureaucracy inherent in acquiring Oracle’s database"
The bureaucracy inherent in acquiring Oracle's database is almost nothing. You can download any version you wanted from their website(checked again now just to be sure - http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/enterprise-edition/downloads/index.html) without anything.
They purposely make it easy to lure people into using it so then they can come back with audits.
Last time I seriously dealt with Oracle DB licensing was about 10 years ago, and at the time it was pretty easy. As a new hire I tried to advice the company how to deploy Oracle properly when they were undergoing an audit. My manager decided to ignore me, they paid their fines to get back to a normal stance and kept going. Until the 2nd audit came around when I once again told them what they needed to do, and they did it(I guess I did it as I did most of the work) that time, still had to pay fines but they were legit fines they were terrible/lazy about managing their licenses. I found it ironic I knew more about Oracle licensing than the Oracle reps did at the time (specifically around leveraging Oracle standard edition on multi core processors). I also did things like install single socket(quad core) vmware hosts(which vmware did not "support" at the time), to get more Oracle instances up (even though Oracle did not "support" vmware, I think they still may not). For production it was all bare metal and optimized with fast dual core cpus or quad core depending on EE or SE licensing.
That particular company when they started had Oracle SE "One", the tiny DB. Then they hired an Oracle DB consulting firm to help them manage the systems(this was before I was hired), the first thing the consulting firm did was to install Oracle EE everywhere. Company was hit hard for that filing support cases against EE when they were not licensed for it. Later on the 2nd audit got hit again because that DB consulting firm had monitoring that used partitions in oracle, another expensive add on. No other apps or anything was using partitioning but company got hit with the bill for using an unlicensed feature. The monitoring software was then updated to not require partitioning.
Previous to that company was a place that had massive abuse of Oracle licensing we had probably a dozen or more hosts, and were only paying for a couple(everything on EE). For some reason either Oracle didn't bother to audit, or when they did audit we got by somehow (I wasn't responsible for those systems). Eventually the company got correct in their licensing but took a few years.
I think Microsoft is similar, though at least with MS you can't(as far as I know) download their biggest products for free and be able to use them without a license key/file etc.
I have used Oracle DB for the past several years just as a back end database for VMware vCenter, very low utilization. Plan to move to vSphere 6 this year and to the vCenter appliance clustering along with it (Postgres I guess), so won't have Oracle anymore after that. They ping me every so often to try to get more sales but that doesn't go anywhere, and they haven't expressed any interest in an audit(for what I licensed I know I am way over licensed vs what is actually used). Oracle actually sent me an email recently reminding me my support is expiring on Feb 8 2020 (so why email now??) and the renewal fee is $3.15 (no idea where that number came from). They have been emailing me for a year saying my support is expiring in 2020 and I should renew. I mean I can understand emailing a few months before expiration but more than a year? Never seen that before.
It really would be nice if Oracle Enterprise Manager's features were available in Standard edition. I loved OEM at least the performance management stuff being able to see what queries are doing. I recall 10 years ago again it was possible (not "legally") to enable those features in Standard edition, then when the audit came I could just wipe out the data stores for OEM and replace them with regular ones, then reverse it again later(didn't care about data retention). Though with 11G that doesn't seem to be possible anymore(at least not in the same way it was then). My Oracle is really rusty these days though(I have never been a DBA).