AMD Quad-Core “Barcelona” Processor For Oracle. How Badly Do You Need Enterprise Edition Oracle?


This blog entry is 6th in a series about Oracle on AMD’s upcoming quad-core processor code named “Barcelona.” The following is a link to the other installments on this thread:

Oracle on Opteron, K8L, NUMA, etc

Got Quad-Core? Need Enterprise Edition Oracle?
There is quite a buzz today about Oracle’s changes to software licensing for the database products. According to this ZDNet article, the changes are specific to the Standard Edition family of database products. The article refers to Oracle’s multi-core pricing guide which was updated on February 16, 2007. Get out your slide rule and gulp a heaping helping of patience.

Quad-Core x86_64
The ZDNet Article states:

Servers with four quad-core chips are relatively rare right now, but Intel and AMD plan to release processors for that segment later this year.

Um, the Xeon “Cloverdale” processors are quad-core and shipping already. AMD “Barcelona” is coming out this year. So what does this change really mean? If you use one of the Standard Edition products, you are longer limited based on cores, but sockets instead.

Misinformation—Lot’s of It
It’s Christmas for the bean counters. According to this article, you can just simply switch out Enterprise Edition with Standard Edition:

Customers no longer must buy licenses for each of the 16 cores to run the top-end Enterprise Edition, but instead may buy licenses for the four sockets and run Standard Edition. That cuts list licensing prices from between $320,000 and $480,000–depending on Oracle adjustments that factor in multi-core processor performance–to $60,000.

I am still scratching my head about that one. Customers don’t swap out EE for SE at the drop of a hat—or do you? Since the choice would have never been there before to run SE on that many cores, could it be that SE will start to be the preferred multi-core edition? Can you live without the differences between EE and SE?

Folks that if have EE on a 4-Socket F (2200/8200) Opteron system today might be wise to think very hard about whether they can drop to SE because if they plug in Barcelona processors (they are socket-compatible), EE is going to be very, very expensive. That is, if you stay with EE and plug in Barcelona processors you will double your license cost.

I find this to be a very interesting policy change.

9 Responses to “AMD Quad-Core “Barcelona” Processor For Oracle. How Badly Do You Need Enterprise Edition Oracle?”

  1. 1 AndyC March 3, 2007 at 3:43 am

    For some implementations “Named User Plus” licensing approach makes things somewhat simpler (and cheaper).

    However, if for SE 4 sockets is your limit, what’s best 4xquad-core or 4 faster dual-cores? Where’s my slide rule? 😉

  2. 2 Orjan March 3, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Here is the edition breakdown

    So you cant use the following on SE:
    Flashback Table, Database and Transaction Query
    Data Guard
    Data Compression
    Data Mining
    Transportable Tablespaces,
    … and more

  3. 3 Jeff March 4, 2007 at 1:43 am

    As companies like Dell and HP start making quad core the norm in their server offerings, this is going to change aagain. I only see this as a revenue grab for the SMB market by Oracle, as end of year is coming up.

    We actually had the SE v EE discussion internally for our customer base, knowing that we have to deal with licensing for both large and small customers coming up. I think the key is how you handle the development cycle. For us, each customer takes the base code branch which does not have any specific EE features, and we modify from there. Granted it makes the CM group pull their hair out, but that’s what CM is for.

  4. 4 A Nonny Mouse October 4, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    We’re going to go even further and use Standard Edition One (which drops RAC support); it’s cheaper to buy more servers and write software to make the application implement the parallellism than it is to do that in Oracle. We’re distorting the architecture to suit Oracle’s wacky license scheme, in other words.

    Since Standard Edition is licenced per socket, not per core, it makes sense to go for the most cores per CPU that you possibly can. I’d have gone with T1 CPUs if we could afford it, but I’m hoping the quad-core Xeons in the Sun Fire x4150 will be up to the job.

    If the customer wants us to spec out a data warehouse or something later, so that we need partitioning and all that other good Enterprise stuff, they’re going to have a shock. Perhaps, on the other hand, Oracle will have the shock when we go for something else :¬)

  5. 5 kevinclosson October 4, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Nonny Mouse,

    Interesting comment. Might I ask if you’ve ever met anyone that paid anywhere near list price for Oracle?

  6. 6 Catalonia June 30, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Great comment, I too would like to meet anyone that’s paid list price.

  7. 7 tinodj December 15, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Any comments after year and a half?

    Is purchasing 2xBarcelona is better than 4xSanta Rosa ?

  8. 8 roberto June 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I think all you are wrong…Oracle SE is licensed per socket, sure, but socket for ONLY the SE/SE1 means “core”…

    May be comes in a 0.5 factor, but if you have 2 node rac with 2x4Q … you simply are out of (Oracle) law…

    I wonder if Oracle just want to stop selling SE… so many silly limit…I hate m$, but for small/medium business probably it makes sense… also a MySQL cluster…the problem stands with software write on Oracle for Oracle (in house developed code for example).

    I love Oracle product, so Oracle Corp. don’t make me hate them!


  9. 9 Raffy Ramirez September 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Just to put closure on this – the following TPC benchmark details makes it definite that for SE or SE1, socket = physical CPU, not core.

    Click to access HPML350G6OELTPCC_ES.pdf

    Notice that it says the server used one Quad-core Xeon (e.g. core = 4). Look at the pricing per processor for SE1 3-year term license as stated here:

    Drill down the cost to a 3-year term license for one processor for SE1 and you end up with $2,900 – that is exactly what is in the TPC disclosure details.

    Hence, 4 core Xeon is licensed as 1 processor SE1 – that is the only possible conclusion here. It follows too that socket = physical CPU for SE.

    So it is possible say for a 2-node SE RAC with 2 physical CPUs per node and a CPU with 6-cores each to get the an Oracle database using 24 cores total but you pay only for 4 processor SE license! Awesome!

    Raffy Ramirez

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