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May 26, 2010


David Krch

I think, that the way, how you calculate the number of Oracle SE licenses in your example is not correct. I'm not commenting about the way how you license Oracle in a VMWare environment, but the way, how you describe Oracle licensing on one server.
When licensing Standard Edition or Standard Edition One, you don't care about cores and factors. The important sentence from the Oracle Price list is in the definition of "Processor":
"When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to an occupied socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is
counted as one occupied socket.".
So if you licence Standard Edition (or SE One) for dual-socket, quad-core processor box, you only need 2 CPU licenses of DB SE in my opinion.
Of course, when licensing any other Oracle product (for example Database Enterprise Edition), you calculate the number of CPU licenses by multiplying the cores and factor as you did (2 sockets x 4 cores x factor 0.5).

As usually: this is my personal opinion only and it may not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Corp.


"Oracle Database software is always priced on the physical CPU hardware on which the software runs. There is no exception to this".


"For the purposes of licensing Oracle programs in the [Amazon Web Services – Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)] Cloud environment, customers are required to count each virtual core as equivalent to a physical core. This policy applies to all programs available on a processor metric."



Also keep in mind that different virtual server technologies have different rules if oracle determines that your virtulisation technology is hard partitioning or soft partitioning, vmware is classes as soft but some other technologies count as hard so you just licence the CPUs available to the VM hosting oracle.
Oh and remember not to licence 26 virtual cpus on a machine with only 20 real cpus.


VMWare is considerate as a software partition by Oracle. That's why you need to license all the physical processor/cores of the server.

Hard partition is feasible on other type of servers if you considerate consolidation as a requirement.

Bert Bouwhuis

"Also keep in mind that different virtual server technologies have different rules if oracle determines that your virtulisation technology is hard partitioning or soft partitioning...".

And as far as I understand: Oracle's own hypervisor is the only software hypervisor classified as supporting hard partitioning - via a rather arbitrary construction - and thus potentially saving license costs. VMware and the rest are classified by Oracle as supporting soft partitioning only, typically implying more license costs.

Jay Weinshenker

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for posting this. Like you suggest, we run all our Oracle instances in a 2 node HA/DRS cluster vs in the larger general 16 node cluster. I hesitate to even try and calculate the cost if we licensed all 16 nodes.

Jay Weinshenker

Jeff, I expanded on your blog post with a real world example of the dedicated VMware cluster you specified. Savings in Oracle licensing costs? 2.7 MILLION dollars.

Look forward to seeing you at VMWorld and Openworld.


Tommy Alexander

It seems like software companies like Oracle who are clinging to the CPU based pricing model in a world of Cloud Computing and SaaS are truly being slow to adapt to the new realities of how computing power is delivered. I make this point in mroe detail here:


software testing services

Great Jay Weinshenker..It is my pleasure that I am able to see to real world example. Thank you very much ! I am quite new in this field. I guess it will be helpful for me.

Stephen Price

In regards to licensing. As of the Intel 5600 series processors, there does not appear to be any dual core chips. We have several Oracle servers running on single dual core machines. As the hardware ages it appears that we can not legally upgrade the hardware due to the latest processors are quad core. Or a $5000 server replacement becomes $50,000 to keep the enterprise install legal. Not a way to keep customers, especially in these economic times.


If one licence Standard Edition (or SE One) for 1 processor, (such as one of these HP Proliant Server)and say after some months you increase the processors to 2. Will the Oracle software stop working on this server?
I need an answer soon.
Thanks all.

Uncle Arthur

"Here, you have physically isolated all Oracle VMs to their own dedicated VMware DRS / HA cluster." How have you done this? Have you configured the SAN or something? Is it not the case that all ESX Servers on a network can be seen by Virtual Centre, and added as a resource to your "physically isolated" Oracle servers, through a relatively simple configuration change? Not a VMWare expert, so excuse me if this sounds simplistic.

Oracle have not been clear on this, all they say publicly is that they do not recognise Soft Partitioning as a way of reducing the number of licences required for any given server (by which they also mean cluster, even though they don't specify this).

As an ex-Oracle LMS consultant, I have asked their internal pricing and licensing team about this for a variety of customers. They, in their typically non-committal way, have responded with variations on this statement "The configuration of the SAN is unimportant. If Oracle is configured to run, it must be licensed".

Starting from the position that Oracle do not recognise VMWare/Soft Partitioning AT ALL as a way of controlling where Oracle is configured to run (it doesn't matter if it can do it, the problem is that Oracle don't recognise the way in which VMWare does it), I am not convinced that your "physical separation" would actually be acceptable, especially if it involves LUNs or something.

iwan 'e1' Rahabok


Thanks for posting this.

The definition of cluster is because of automatic vMotion by DRS.
a. What if we use vSphere Standard (which does not have DRS)?
b. What if we disable DRS on the VM running Oracle?

Many thanks from Singapore

Gatis Visnevskis

It is possible to enable only needed processors in most Unix operating systems.
Like this:
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.13-Ora10g root=/dev/sda1 ro maxcpus=2

Phillip Rudd

Does this pass as "hard partioning" by Oracle's licensing policy so that you can just license the "enabled" CPU/cores??

rc helicopter

Impressive blog! -Arron

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disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. I am a blogger who works at EMC, not an EMC blogger. This is my blog, and not EMC's. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by EMC and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of EMC.