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Oracle Revisits Multi-core Pricing Model

Tony Jambu has noted some interesting pricing changes for Oracle multi-core licenses:

“December 2005 and January 2006 has been an active period for Oracle's pricing department with a number of major pricing announcements to address new multicore processors.

SUN Microsystems announced in early December 2005, a new line of machines based on their next generation processor, T1 (code-name 'Niagara'). The new hardware, SUN Fire T1000 and T2000 will have the T1 processor capable of four to eight cores per processor.  In the press release, Oracle indicted that they will treat the 8 core processor as two CPUs for pricing purposes. That is, Oracle will apply a Processor Factor of 0.25.

In the following weeks, Oracle announced a new multi-core pricing and licensing policy,

Oracle Processor Licensing:Processor Factor
SUN UltraSparc T1 0.25 
AMD/Intel 0.50 
All other Multi-core Servers 0.75 
Single Core Servers 1.00 

In addition to the SUN T1 new Processor Factor of 0.25, was the reduction of the Processor Factor for AMD and Intel Processors to 0.5.  This obviously makes the multicore AMD/Intel and SUN UltraSparc T1 processors attractive as an Oracle server.

Interestingly enough, in January 2006, Oracle and SUN jointly announced a bundling of Oracle database software on new SUN's equipment. Scott McNealy, CEO of SUN announced, "We're basically giving you the Oracle database for free, with one year of support. We're making it simple, easy and compelling for us to be number one platform for Oracle going forward."  

These servers will be based on the new UltraSPARC IV and IV+ (T1) processor and the focus will be to market the products as a grid ready package.  Pricing of the package will be such that customers will have for free, Oracle 10g Database Enterprise Edition with one year Oracle support with the deal but customers must request for the free Oracle offer.

Is this deal too good to be true?  Here are some of the questions customers should be asking:

·       Is Oracle RAC included with the package?
·       Is it a perpetual or term based license?
·       Will I be required to pay for Oracle support in the 2nd year onwards? (Yes)
·       If it is term-based licensing, will I be required to pay Oracle for the yearly term license fee from the 2nd year onwards?
·       If I don't pay for Oracle support in the 2nd year, can I continue to use the database software?
·       In years to come, can I transfer the Oracle software to another server?

These are all important questions.  But the bottom line is, it is an attractive deal if Oracle is offering a perpetual license.”


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