Archive for the 'Oracle licensing' Category

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.

AMD Quad-Core “Barcelona” Processor For Oracle (Part V). 40% Expected Over Clovertown.

A reader posted an interesting comment on the latest installment on my thread about Oracle licensing on the upcoming AMD Barcelona processor. The comment as posted on my blog article entitled AMD Quad-Core “Barcelona” Processor For Oracle (Part IV) and the Web 2.0 Trolls states:

The problem with your numbers is that they are based on old AMD marketing materials. AMD has had a chance to run their engineering samples at their second stepping (they are now gearing up full production for late Q2 delivery – 12 weeks from wafer starts) and they are currently claiming a 40% advantage on Clovertown versus the 70% over the Opteron 2200 from their pre-A0 stepping marketing material.

The AMD claim was covered in this ZDNet article which quotes AMD Vice President Randy Allen as follows:

We expect across a wide variety of workloads for Barcelona to outperform Clovertown by 40 percent,” Allen said. The quad-core chip also will outperform AMD’s current dual-core Opterons on “floating point” mathematical calculations by a factor of 3.6 at the same clock rate, he said.

That is a significantly different set of projections than I covered in my article entitled AMD Quad-core “Barcelona” Processor For Oracle (Part II). That article covers AMD’s initial OLTP projections of 70% OLTP improvement on a per-processor (socket) over Opteron 2200. These new projections are astounding, and I would love to see it be the case for the sake of competition. Let’s take a closer look.

Hypertransport Bandwidth
I’m glad AMD has set expectations by stating the 40% uplift over Clovertown would be realized for “a wide variety of workloads.” However, since this is an Oracle blog I would much have preferred to see OLTP mentioned specifically. The numbers are hard to imagine, and it is all about feeding the processor, not the processor itself. The Barcelona processor is socket-compatible with Socket F. Any improvement of Opteron 2200/8200 would require existing headroom on the Hypertransport for workloads like OLTP. A lot of headroom—let’s look at the numbers.

The Socket F baseline that the original AMD projections were based on was 139,693 TpmC. If OLTP is included in the “wide variety of workloads”, then the projected OLTP throughput would be Clovertown 222,117 TpmC x 1.4, or 310.963 TpmC—all things being equal. This represents 2.2 times the throughput from the same Socket F/Hypertransport setup. Time for a show of hands, how many folks out there think that the Opteron 2200 OLTP result of 139,693 TpmC was achieved with more then 50% headroom to spare on the Hyptertransports? I would love to see Barcelona come in with this sort of OLTP throughput, but folks, systems are not made with more than 200% bus bandwidth than the processors need. I’m not very hopeful.


Bear in mind that today’s Tulsa processor as packaged in the IBM System x 3950 is capable of 331,087 TpmC with 8 cores. So, let’s factor our Oracle licensing in and see what the numbers look like if AMD’s projections apply to OLTP:

Opteron 2200 4 core: 139,693 TpmC, 2 licenses = 69,846 per license

Clovertown 8 core: 222,117 TpmC, 4 licenses = 55,529 per license

AMD Old Projection 8 core: 237,478 TpmC, 4 licenses = 59,369 per license

AMD New Projection 8 core: 310,963 TpmC, 4 licenses = 77,740 per license

Tulsa 8 core: 331,087 TpmC, 4 licenses = 82,771 per license

Barcelona Floating Point
FPU performance doesn’t matter to Oracle as I point out in this blog entry.

Clock Speed
The news about the expected 40% jump over Clovertown was accompanied by the news that Barcelona will clock in at a lower speed than Opteron 2200/8200 processors. I haven’t mentioned that aspect—because with Oracle it really doesn’t matter much. The amount of work Oracle gets done in cache is essentially nill. I’ll blog about clock speed with Opterons very soon.

Multi-core Oracle Licensing. Proc/Sock/Core…What a Bore!

In this AMD webpage regarding software licensing, AMD is appealing to software vendors to license products by the socket as opposed to core. I wish Oracle would go this way because the .25 (Sun T1), .50 (Intel/AMD) and .75 (Power) core factoring is tedious. The webpage specifically states:

AMD is providing industry-thought leadership by recommending software developers license their software by socket […]

It is hard to tell if this recommendation from AMD has Barcelona in mind or not. As I blogged about in this post about Oracle per-core licensing with regard to Barcelona, I think the performance per Oracle license on Barcelona will be in trouble.

How can we expect normal humans to make good decisions about server purchases for Oracle when the topic of per-core performance—as it applies to Oracle per-core licensing—is so hard to grasp? As I have found in a comment from a reader on my blog, some people don’t even understand the difference between the terms “processor”, “core” and “socket”. The reader of this post comments:

check you math on the xeon system. tpc is 331,087 and the box has 4 dual core processors for a total of 8 physical processors. 331,087/8 = 41386.

now compare that to the 2 way dual core opteron system. tpc is 139,693 (multiply by 1.7 to estimate barcalona ) = 237478 for 4 physical cpus or 59367.

the barcelona@59367 > xeon@41386 by a factor of 1.44

your welcome… and i’m glad you aren’t my IT buyer.

The comment has been quoted verbatim. As far as the bit about being their IT buyer, I’m sure all of you who know me well are certain I wouldn’t buy this person so much as a bottle of water—even if his hair was on fire—after commenting like this on my blog. I did follow up with even more clarification though because it is a difficult topic:

The Xeon system at 331,087 is 4 socket, 8 core not “8 physical processors” as you state. The terminology is very important and the term “physical processors” has generally been replaced with the term “socket.”

The Opteron number is 139,693 for 2 sockets, 4 cores. AMD expects an increase of 70% per socket, not core. So you are right, the projected Barcelona number is 1.7x or 237,478, but that would be for a 2 socket system–albeit 8 cores.

This is an Oracle blog and I’m blogging about performance per core. So I’ll reiterate:

Opteron 2200 34,923 TpmC per core (139,693/4)
Barcelona ~29,684 TpmC per core (237,478/8)
Tulsa 41,385 TpmC per core (331,087/8)

Oracle licenses by the core. That is all that matters on this blog.

Performance per Oracle license really is all that matters here.


I work for Amazon Web Services. The opinions I share in this blog are my own. I'm *not* communicating as a spokesperson for Amazon. In other words, I work at Amazon, but this is my own opinion.

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All content is © Kevin Closson and "Kevin Closson's Blog: Platforms, Databases, and Storage", 2006-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Closson and Kevin Closson's Blog: Platforms, Databases, and Storage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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