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Oracle cuts by half the number of database sockets users can run

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September 8, 2015

Oracle is cutting down on the overall utilization of its entry-level Standard Edition database by reducing the amount of threads used on the database.

The software company has cut by half the number of sockets users are allowed to run with Database 12.1.0.2 Standard Edition (SE2), released at the start of September.

The end result is that SE2 users are now restricted to just two threads, down from four in the earlier versions.

Even on Real Application Clusters (RAC), users will be limited to just two nodes per cluster and one socket per node.

Additionally, each Oracle Database SE2 uses a maximum of sixteen CPU threads at any time, no matter what your existing license agreements suggest.

Despite the tightening of those terms, the price per socket remains unchanged at $17,500. The existing SE and SE1 editions are to be eliminated from Oracle’s price list as of December 1st, 2015.

The change seems intended to stop customers lashing together copies of entry level SE and SE1 before using VMware to scale up to enterprise-class clusters.

That is because no matter how many cores you have running under SE2, you’ll only ever be allowed to run two threads maximum.

In reducing this to the new threshold, Oracle is forcing customers towards its enterprise edition Oracle 12c, listed at $47,500 per CPU.

SE is billed by Oracle as an “affordable” entry-level version of its database for single server, small business and highly distributed branch environments.

Keith Dobbs, director of Oracle license specialist Madora Consulting, said the revision could deter those who’d been thinking about using Oracle in the first place.

“It sure does raise the bar for the entry level for Oracle. The question is what sort of reaction this will provoke from the user's side. Only time will tell,” he said.

Potential Oracle enterprise customers may chose rivals like Microsoft or Postgres, the open-source database that’s already giving Oracle a run for its money.

Oracle is introducing a new and so-called perpetual database license in a bid to fend off a growing incursion from Postgres.

SE and SE1 users will expect updates as part of various support agreements or if they have signed an unlimited license, then an unlimited number of licenses for an up-front fee over the lifetime of a contract.

The changes also mean that SE and SE1 customers who are used to four sockets must scale back their application's consumption to two or risk being out of compliance with Oracle's licensing requirements.

The move is all the more curious given that 12.1.0.2 is a maintenance release, yet Oracle has sold it as a massive licensing change.

“It’s a critical component in a complex maintenance release,” Dobbs said. “That’s about the lowest level of release you can have.”

There's no question that the overall competition in the database segment is heating up and all indications are that it will intensify this year and next.

It will be interesting to see how Oracle adapts itself to these changes in an increasingly competitive environment. We'll keep you posted as always.

Source: Oracle.

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