Oracle Favors Sun in Licensing Change
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Oracle has again pared its software licensing schemes for multi-core servers, offering significant discounts to machines based on Sun Microsystems' UltraSparc T1 chips, AMD and Intel chips.
For the UltraSparc T1, Oracle will charge users on a processor factor of .25 for each UltraSparc T1.
So, a machine running a T1 chip requires two-processor licenses, based on the equation that eight multiplied by a factor of .25 equals two. Oracle President announced this licensing change at Sun's T1 server launch in New York.
For machines equipped with multi-core chips from AMD and Intel, Oracle will charge users on a processor factor of .50. So, a machine running an AMD or Intel chip requires four-processor licenses, based on the math that eight multiplied by .50 equals four.
Users running Oracle software on IBM Power-based machines catch a smaller break: A Power-based server requires six-processor licenses, and eight multiplied by a factor of .75 equals six.
Multi-core servers are just one of the many new technologies forcing software vendors to rethink the way they charge for their products.
The proliferation in virtualization and grid software for utility computing, which are designed to run on new-wave, multi-core machines, is also leading to amendments in licensing schemes.
This is the second time within a year Oracle has altered its pricing structure in response to customer complaints that a per-processor model would prove too costly for buyers of multi-core machines, which may have as many as eight processing engines run on a single chip.
In July, Oracle first introduced the .75 factor for all multi-core machines, a price/performance decrease of 25 percent from its previous licensing model.
Pundits wondered whether that would be enough giving forthcoming server technologies. Five months later, Oracle's latest move shows that the adoption in multi-core machines is having a profound impact on per-processor licensing.
"As technology evolves, we have adapted our licensing models to accommodate those changes," said Jacqueline Woods, vice president of global pricing and licensing strategy at Oracle, noting the change in licensing metrics when the industry shifted from mainframes to client/server and client/server to multi-tiered architectures.
"These new pricing policies will enable our customers to leverage the advancements in multi-core chip technology and derive even more value from their Oracle technology software."
Still, Oracle will continue to recognize each core as a separate processor.