Oracle Pricing “A Comedy of Fractions”

We’ve had several posts on how advances in chip technology make the traditional “per-CPU” software pricing model less and less compelling. Oracle had stuck firm to its “one core = one CPU” policy. They’ve relented, but in a way that may create more confusion. Now, each core will be three quarters of a CPU, leading to the Register article, Oracle processor core pricing a comedy of fractions.

Highlights from the article, which are really lifted from Oracle’s licensing model, include:

“For the purposes of counting the number of processors that require licensing, the number of cores in a multi-core chip now shall be multiplied by a factor of .75,” Oracle said. “Previously, each core was counted as a full processor.”

Still paying attention?

“For example, a 4-way, dual core processor server which previously had a list license fee of $320,000 (4*2 [cores] *$40,000) would now have a list license fee of $240,000 (0.75 * 8 [cores] *$40,000).”

And it gets even more complicated! A sharp Register reader forwards this advisory from Oracle’s finer print:

“A multicore chip with 11 cores would require a 9 processor license (11 multiplied by a factor of .75 equals 8.25 which is then rounded up to the next whole number which is 9).”


(Oracle also fails to address Intel’s hyperthreading technology and SMT from others vendors – but we’re waiting to hear back on those matters.)

Oracle will price a one-way server running on a dual-core chip as a one-way server for its Standard Edition One and Standard Edition products, which by itself, makes Oracle’s per user and per employee pricing models look pretty attractive.

All of this is difficult enough, before you get to the rounding. Naturally, low fractions are rounded up.

The real problem is that CPUs and value are at best indirectly correlated. What does drive the value of a database is an interesting question…

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