Oracle Favors Sun in Licensing Change

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

“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.

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