back to article Oracle plugs socket numbers on DIY Standard Edition

Oracle is clamping down on uses of its entry-level Standard Edition database by throttling threads. Larry Ellison's giant 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 this month. SE2 users are now restricted to just two sockets, down …

  1. carrera4life

    Terminology.

    Threads, cores and sockets. They are not interchangeable.

    The new restriction, if applied to , say, a T5-2 (2sockets, 16cores per socket, 8 threads per core), means I can run Oracle SE-2 on said system. However, I cannot now run two T5-2 in a 2 node RAC.

    (Hmm... One would have to use a T4-1.... or something with only a single SPARC socket...

    ... http://www.oracle.com/us/products/servers-storage/servers/sparc-enterprise/migration/m7-next-gen-sparc-presentation-2326292.html)

    "When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One, Standard Edition 2 or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to a socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket. "

    There, clear as daylight, right?

    "Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 may only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 2 sockets. When used with Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 may only be licensed on a maximum of 2 one-socket servers. In addition, notwithstanding any provision in Your Oracle license agreement to the contrary, each Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 database may use a maximum of 16 CPU threads at any time. When used with Oracle Real Application Clusters, each Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 database may use a maximum of 8 CPU threads per instance at any time. The minimums when licensing by Named User Plus (NUP) metric are 10 NUP licenses per server."

    It's not restricted to "2 threads"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Terminology.

      I had read "socket" and assumed TCP socket, since it's a TCP/IP service. Would "processor" be a better term here?

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Terminology.

        In the server world, the a physical "processors" has always been called a "socket" - the place where you install the "phyisical processor" - because, actually, a "core" is a CPU on its own, although it may share other features now built inside the "processor" silicon but once often outside it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Terminology.

          Fair enough, but it serves as a good illustration about the use of terminology, and how it can be easily misunderstood. To me "processor" is the chip package that the CPU cores are in. The term "sockets" is used quite widely in the BSD network stack, which is where my confusion came from.

          Once upon a time, processors == CPU cores, used to run quite a few dual-processor boxes. First was a dual Pentium Pro, then we got a couple of dual Pentium IIIs, one we still have.

          Then multi-core CPUs came along, my present desktop (now 5½ years old) is a 6-core AMD Phenom II, my present laptop (~3 years old) a dual-core Intel i5-3320M. Both have one "processor" package (and one socket for it to sit in).

  2. gerdesj Silver badge

    If you are not already tied in

    $17,500 ~= £11,500

    So let's have four of those = £46,000

    That buys you a three node VMware cluster on say Dell PE7x0 and an Equallogic iSCSI SAN plus a couple of reasonable switches. If you ditch the VMware and fire up containers on Linux (some assembly needed) you get a shit load of Postgres on that lot or simply run a three node cluster of DBs. There's also MariaDB and a whole heap of NoSQL to play with as well. All well supported and lots of integrations available.

    The savings on Oracle? Buy some consultancy ...

    1. James 100

      Re: If you are not already tied in

      You could probably get a ten node cluster, serious support agreement and still have change that route - which is fine until you're trying to host an Oracle-only product!

      Long term, I'd like to think those will be extinct - but I can't see it happening any time soon. There's an awful lot of lock-in to be undone...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you are not already tied in

        There's a lot of people who take the view: "nobody gets fired for buying Oracle"

        Much like IBM many years ago, and Microsoft more recently.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: If you are not already tied in

      Oracle RAC is a bit different compared to other clustering solutions - it's a share-everything architecture which doesn't need replication, designed for load balancing, high availability, and to run large parallel operations. If you don't need it there are other less expensive solutions - just they are not the same solution.

      1. tom 99

        Re: If you are not already tied in

        Two things that you probably misunderstood:

        1. Oracle Real Application Clusters is not a "shared-everything" architecture. It's a shared disk architecture.

        2. RAC does need replication. It does not offer any database corruption protection / site protection itself. Take a look at Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture. It's RAC _with_ Data Guard.

        Cheers!

  3. SecretSonOfHG

    Remember the first rule of the Oracle club

    Is that under no circunstances with each new release you will pay less for the privilege of running exactly the same piece of software you are running today.

    By the way, how have they gone so far as to be able to charge customers for upgrades (that rarely are ever applied) and support (that unless you are a massive customer is close to not having any or even worse) AND at the same time reserve the rights to change licencing T&C's as part of the upgrade? Or is there something that I've misunderstood?

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Remember the first rule of the Oracle club

      You missed the part where the next version thay fixes the bug you are bothered by installs a new SW piece that changes your product to "enterprise" even if you are not using it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    go Postgres, go

    Seriously, for lower-end stuff definitely a good alternative. Serious SQL, not just some lashed-together webby db.

    And tell you what, I dunno exactly how well their Oracle compatibility mode works, but my guess is that, if you play your cards right and watch both your code and application architecture, you could potentially upgrade to real Oracle when your customer base justifies it. And I still think Oracle is a wise database choice, if you have real reasons to afford it.

    IMHO, Oracle should be slightly more careful. I don't know what their selling point is in the context of say AWS or Digital Ocean. I know you can run SQL Server on AWS. I also know that Chef-ing just an Oracle client on a Vagrant/Virtualbox is already somewhat more cumbersome than strictly necessary.

    Cutting yourself off from trendy DIY starving artist kinda cloudy deployments may or may not be a wise strategy, time will tell. Customers who don't pay anything are not very useful, but neither are belatedly lucrative ones that went to a competitor.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: go Postgres, go

      The issue is Oracle is not just a SQL processor you throw some SQL at. Oracle is a big system from ETL to backup/recovery of large databases - in a single product. In the middle, you have advanced features for access control, data storage (it supports its own dedicated file system) and handling, clustering, replication, development, ecc. ecc.

      Lots of features you may not use in your average DB behind a "simple" web site, but becomes more and more important when the database stores lots of accounting, financial and sales data - or any other kind critical to your business, and many different applications and users access it.

      Till now, most open source database technologies didn't try to compete directly with the high-end databases, focusing instead on eroding a growing slice of their lower- to middle-end customers. NoSQL database are another league, they can handle big tasks but requires different applications and a very different way to manage data, and are less versatile.

      Sure, today you'd probably be a fool if you used Oracle when other solutions perfectly fit, just there are some areas where other solution don't fit so well, and Oracle knows and exploits this to ask a lot of money, because competition there is very small - and MS or IBM are not exactly loved as well...

  5. naive

    Where is the database competition on *Nix boxes

    It is too bad there is so little competition in commercial RDBMS alternatives. That is why Oracle can ask what it wants, nobody will use MySQL for an environment where an outage costs 6 digits or more per hour, although MySQL/MariaDB is very good, never see it crash even in heavily used E-commerce websites.

    Windows = SQL Server or Oracle, where most Windows shops of course go with SQL server

    Unix = Oracle and DB2 from IBM

    Oracle RDBMS is just sad. The tooling they offer for database management is an insult to the user, even when being a *Nix fanboi, i rather use Management Studio MS provides for Sql Server than this oracle stuff.

    DB2 from IBM is unfortunately so much underestimated. IBM provides this with its WebSphere E-commerce suite, and it works like a dream. Offering a good and comprehensible command line interface, something oracle totally lacks. Too bad people ignore it for decades now, if they would buy it more, Oracle prices would be lower and its products better.

    1. SecretSonOfHG

      Re: Where is the database competition on *Nix boxes

      "Offering a good and comprehensible command line interface, something oracle totally lacks"

      Exactly what are you missing from Oracle's command line? If anything, what I've always thought of Oracle's GUI offerings is how unpolished and amateur looks compared with Microsoft's

      Besides, I think Unix has plenty of competition in the DB arena. It is just not commercially sold in the same packaging: PostgreSQL and MariaDB in fact have a much larger market share.

      Also, if your downtime per hour is measured with six zeros, I seriously doubt you don't have already a very, very strong internal support team. True, in these cases, the vendor's support is rarely used, but when it is needed is one of those "get there by helicopter if necessary" scenarios.

      Heck, you can even hire the whole PostgreSQL developer team for that amount.

  6. Otto is a bear.

    You may not get fired

    You may not get fired for buying Oracle, but these days you won't win the Mr.Popularity competition either. UK government loathes Oracle, and quoting them in a proposal is the kiss of death in some departments. In fact so much so, that they will do anything to get away from Oracle's ever increasing support costs, including trashing major systems, or spending millions on converting to another vendor.

    Postgres is becoming a lot more popular as there is a low cost conversion path for PL/SQL.

    Somehow Oracle have lost the plot with products that are now too expensive, they may have a really good Enterprise DB, but it has capabilities that really aren't needed for most applications, where as the Standard Editions really are good enough for most applications, so it's no surprise that people see it as a great alternative. Hobbling it even more can only loose them business in the longer term, why would you buy SE when you will face an exponential jump in costs as your business grows? There are other alternative out there and SMEs know who they are.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    It's a long time Oracle tries to fight CPU evolution...

    ... and usually it loses.

    A few years ago it tried to charge you by the MHz (back then CPUs were still clocked in a few hundred MHz). In a few months, CPU "accelerated" so fast Oracle prices became astronomical - and when you were forced to buy a new CPU because the old system was dead, you had to pay more just because the older, slower, CPU was no longer available.

    Then when multicore CPU arrived, it tried a complex mechanism given each core a weight depending on the architecture - understanding how much an Oracle instance would cost you required careful reading of all the rules.

    Now again it's trying to limit what the software you paid for achieve when you upgrade the hardware.

    Even if I agree that for "standard" edition a limitation on the number of "socket" supported, and cluster nodes) may be acceptable - systems with more than two sockets and large cluster are pretty expensive hardware too - I really don't understand a cap on the number of threads, etc. for the single CPU - it's just the normal evolution of hardware, something Oracle can't accept as more "entry level" (for Oracle) systems becomes capable of handling larger workloads at a cheaper price (that's plain IT evolution, Larry...) and thereby less customers needs the more expensive products.

    A more clever company would try to broaden the customer base, instead of trying to blackmail actual customers... not Oracle. But not always works, it may be forced to back off.

    1. SecretSonOfHG

      Re: It's a long time Oracle tries to fight CPU evolution...

      I don't think that there's much room for Oracle (or IBM for that matter) to widen its customer base. Pretty much everyone that needs the advanced Oracle features either is already an Oracle customer, a customer of Oracle's competition (mainly DB2) or big enough to develop their own equivalents. As migration of a complex application from one database to another is likely to cost more than any possible license savings, there's nothing to gain from that front.

      Of course, lowering their prices might give way to more customers, but that's something that only business in the "growth" stage tend to do. Oracle is in the "milking" stage: even if it is financially growing, that's mostly due to increased revenues from captive customers rather than gaining new customers.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: It's a long time Oracle tries to fight CPU evolution...

        Actually, I know some companies who would like Oracle features but stay away for the absurd prices of some "options", and the licensing issues - like this one. IMHO a far different Oracle could actually increase its customer base - but they look to prefer to milk current customers to death, probably it's easier, unless it's too late to steer the boat before ending aground...

  8. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    socket pricing

    As in "socket to the suckers"?

    Mind you, I like the Oracle database, but the licensing is a bear.

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