back to article Oracle effectively doubles licence fees to run its stuff in AWS

Oracle has changed the way it charges users to run its software in Amazon Web Services, effectively doubling the cost along the way. Big Red's previous licensing regime [PDF] recognised that AWS's virtual CPUs were a single thread of a core that runs two threads. Each virtual CPU therefore counted as half a core. That's …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another reason to avoid the piling heap of crap that is Oracle.

    We jumped ship years ago and have never regretted it. No, thats not strictly true, we do miss completely fucking with the sales reps at their quarter end and utterly screwing them down on price.

    Apart from that, Oracle and Larry could disappear in cloud of pixie dust and I'd never notice. We have managed to avoid everything to do with Oracle. We have even (just) managed to get rid of Java.

    1. boltar Silver badge

      "Yet another reason to avoid the piling heap of crap that is Oracle."

      Problem is - whilst the company itself is run on sociopathic grounds, sales and support is utterly disfunctional and the prices are a joke, the core RDBMS is a damn good piece of software as anyone who's had the misfortune of using SQL Server, Sybase (does it still deadlock and kill random processes or have they finally fixed that?) or (god forbid) that steaming pile of underspecced poor excuse for a DB - Mongo (or one of the other hopeless NoSQL systems which are fine for serving web or warehouse data and little else) knows all too well.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        anyone who's had the misfortune of using SQL Server, Sybase (does it still deadlock and kill random processes or have they finally fixed that?)

        A transactional database will deadlock because of poorly implemented code that allows two locks that depend on each other to wait for each other. Oracle does this too, in Oracle the statement that is associated with the transaction that detected the deadlock will be rolled back. In SQL/Sybase the transaction that has been assigned the lowest priority will be rolled back, if the priorities are equal then the least cost transaction is rolled back. Being low on RAM makes the locking granularity coarser and increases the risk of deadlock. There really isn't much to complain about in the RDBMS here, it will be the application and/or implementation that is shit.

        Actually, 19/20 deployed Oracles DB that I encounter don't have any requirement that would compel the use of Oracle. They could be done much easier, cheaper, more reliably and more supportable with SQL Server or even Maria (not MySQL since it was smeared with the Oracle turd).

        Basically, Oracle is usually a complete waste of time and money and any business wishing to pay ongoing license and support money would be better off investigating whether the money would be better investing in migrating away from Oracle. The answer is probably yes.

        Says me who has made a very lucrative living out of cleaning up Oracle shit, it's in my interest for people to keep using it.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          "In SQL/Sybase the transaction that has been assigned the lowest priority will be rolled back,"

          Its more than rolled back , it sends a SIGTERM to the process!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            "Its more than rolled back , it sends a SIGTERM to the process!"

            It sends error 1205 back to the process.

            And if you have the right trace flags on it will stick the SQL statements involved in a log file.

            1. boltar Silver badge

              "It sends error 1205 back to the process."

              Not when I last used it it didn't - it killed the process and told you about it in the log.

              1. boltar Silver badge

                Can someone explain why I get 2 thumbs down for stating a FACT? Sybase used to kill one of the deadlocked processes. This is not up for debate.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              He could be sorta right - is the process terminated if the error isn't handled (which is a programming fault)?

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "A transactional database will deadlock"

          The issue with SQL Server (and its Sybase sibling) was lock escalation (now AFAIK resolved). While Oracle never escalated locks (you got only row locks), SQL Server did happily - to page and table (!) locks. Thereby code that had little issues in Oracle, could easily block spectacularly in SQL Server.

        3. Ian Ringrose

          With Oracle reads don’t block writes…..

          Hence long running reports etc don't lead to deadlocks. However I would still be using SqlServer any day of the week.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: With Oracle reads don’t block writes…..

            Exactly - the locking in Sybase sucks balls.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        We run our main systems on Oracle and us MS SQL Server for a number of other systems including web backend (all fairly small scale)

        If we were able to, I would convert everything over to MS SQL Server in an instant. Far fewer issues, easier to maintain, better tool set, easier to troubleshoot etc. Even with a highly paid Oracle DBA we had to strip out an Oracle RAC and replace is with a single server due to consistency issues - he said there were a number of bugs with RAC).

        If you are an Oracle DBA and have cut your teeth on it and been running it for years -therefore know all the ridiculous quirks that it seems to have and have a good collection of scripts at your disposal I can see why you'd be reluctant to look elsewhere.

        However I struggle to see where it fits for the vast majority of organisations out there nowadays. Especially when you have to deal with Oracle as an organisation on top of the product itself.

        However YMMV.

        [Just with regards to the licensing though, if running MS SQL Server in a virtual environment you have to licence per virtual core. Therefore the recommendation where possible would be to disable hyperthreading as you will pay for each hyper-threaded virtual core rather than getting the full capacity of the non-hyperthreaded single core for the same fee. This is with SQL SERVER 2008/2012 with on-premise Hypervisors]

        1. GameOn

          MS Licence Per Virtual Core.

          Read MS VM licensing carefully. They want a piece of that Oracle CPU action.

          Minimum 4 virtual's per CPU. Even if you give 2 VCPU's you owe for 4 VCPU's.

          Purchase by CPU 2 packs for both EE and SE.

          Know limitations about SE.

          Must use EE to license Host machine(s) for creating multiple guests. If you do not license entire host(s) you are in danger of license mobility violation. In VMWare, DRS would need to be turned off.

          I do like that development is free in SQL Server.

          It's Oracle's and MS's DB world.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Yet another

    footgun moment from Oracle.

    I guess they are just left milking the current accounts.

    I wonder how many new accounts have been signed up in the past few years? Will it exceed the number that have deserted Larry's Ship (before it sinks that is)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet another

      one would hope so but decisions at the top of the food chain don't always follow best engineering or financial sense. Thankfully, it mostly never happened to me.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Yet another

      It looks Oracle has some very good at selling its products, although after they make big deals Larry's minions don't want to pay them...

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Yet another

      There are still people with influence who will specify Oracle where it is not necessary because that's all they know about.

      1. Number6

        Re: Yet another

        There are still people with influence who will specify Oracle where it is not necessary because that's all they know about.

        "Nobody ever got fired for buying..."

  3. Toolman83

    "The Register has asked Oracle why it has made this change"


  4. LeoP

    Acquiring customers for Oracle's cloud?

    Maybe a handfull.

    Finally deciding to ditch Oracle? Quite a lot, methinks.

    Corporate momentum may be a factor, big companie's corporate momentum might be quite large, but there is no such thing as a lock in for life anyomore. Maybe somebody should alert Larry to this fact.

    1. Sil

      Re: Acquiring customers for Oracle's cloud?

      Yes but contrary to removing an audio port, it will take real courage for executives to switch to another SGBD, even if it makes sense, as corporate sharks will use any issue occurring during the transition to torpedo the careers of the executives in charge.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Dangerous times...

    Let's quote a famous princess: "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers".

    Yes, that's a movie quote, but it's oh so true. I get the impression that Oracle knows jack shit about basic economics. The reason I think this way is because they're also sure as heck clueless with regards to appealing to people (even their own employee's). How many geeks have ran out already?

    Basic economics: selling a $500 product three times is fun ($1500). selling a $400 product 4 times is more fun ($1600). And why couldn't it happen? Less costs often means a higher appeal.

    Oracle economics: selling a $500 product three times is fun ($1500). So lets raise the price to $1500, because 1500*3=4500!!1 My prediction: ending up with 1500*0=0. In Oracle economics this is a huge victory and a great achievement. The less customers you get the better. Why? Well, less customers means less administrative tasks, which means less costs so that's obviously good. They make "more" money and reduce costs at the same time.

    Please keep it up Oracle! Maybe you should consider charging money for your downloads too. So: someone wants to download Java SE? Good! That'll cost you $50,-. You want to look at the MySQL documentation? $75,-. Start using NetBeans? $175,- please. Run MySQL open source version? Sure thing, please cough up $325,- licensing costs with a $25 download fee.

    And here's the best idea ever: you click 'yes' on the Oracle site thinking it's about cookies? Congratulations, you just agreed to pay $199,- for the new Oracle website viewing fee! Websites costs money too you know!

    Feel free to use these ideas Oracle, I won't even claim intellectual property or anything. I'll simply take pleasure in seeing you guys trainwreck yourself :)

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: Dangerous times...

      The trainwreck started a long time ago in a acquisition far far away...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dangerous times...

      "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers"

      Yeah, to be fair though, Vader blew up Leia's home planet shortly after she said that. :-/

      "I get the impression that Oracle knows jack shit about basic economics."

      Look, I don't like Oracle- they make Microsoft at their worst look like the good guys. However, I have to play devil's advocate here. Oracle have *long* been very successful by shamelessly screwing over their customers and holding them to ransom once they have them locked in.

      Common sense might have suggested that this would work in the short term but prove toxic- and business-killing- in the long term, but they're still here, so they're obviously very good at being utter dicks.

      It's possible that they can- and will- overreach themselves in a market they don't realise has changed, but I wouldn't simply dismiss them as knowing "jack shit about economics" given how successful they've been so far.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Surely this is the beginning of the end for Larry Ellison...

      1. ArtFart

        Re: _

        What, AGAIN?????

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We migrated from Oracle to PostgreSQL going on 18months ago and haven't regretted it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I regret using Postgres any time I need a partitioned table or a LOB field... Oracle knows it and still attempts to charge people who need something more what Pg or MySQL can deliver...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        What is it about the postgres LOB handling and table partitioning that you don't like?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          1) Postgres partitioning: it's a big manual effort. You even need to write and maintain triggers/rules to send data to the correct partition. There's little error checking. Oracle does that automatically.

          2) Postgres LOBs: you actually don't have LOBs field. You have to store them in a separate special LOB table and manage the links yourself. Oracle can store LOBs inline, or to separate file system files, yet under transaction control. Postgres ByteA type is also inefficient due to the encoding and lack of a stream access interface.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            > 2) Postgres LOBs: you actually don't have LOBs field. You have to store them in a separate special LOB table and manage the links yourself.

            Yes, you have to use lo_creat() (client side) or lo_import() (server side) to create the LOB and then put the OID that is returned into your own table. I am not sure that this doesn't fall under transaction control in that lo_import() can be inside an INSERT statement (or equivalent) and lo_creat() could still be inside a transaction.

            > Oracle can store LOBs inline, or to separate file system files, yet under transaction control.

            PostgreSQL has TOAST (The Oversized-Attribute Storage Technique) which will cater for fields in each row to be up to 1 GByte, so you can store quite an amount in each row of a table and not need to use LOB.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The issue with a single large object table is you may have issues because you have an hot spot - you can't distribute the data of different applications across partition, tables and tablespaces. It also makes recovery in case of an error far harder - when you mix data from different applications into a single table. With RMAN I can recover a single table - or even a single partition - to a specified point in time. If everything ends in a single table, that may become useless. Same for using something like Oracle flashback.

              Moreover if you have to manage the OIDs yourself, you have to ensure the consistency of the database yourself. Like manual partitioning, more work to do, and more room for bugs. I don't like software which implies "the full implementation if left to the reader as an exercise". I know it's open source, but if you don't have the right resources to code the missing part of the database, it's quite useless.

              TOAST is an ugly hack for the Postgres deficiencies in handling large data. It increases a field size, but it still lacks LOBs semantics.

              While Oracle offers advanced features like deduplication, encryption, etc.

              While Postgres could be a good choice for many applications, it is not when you need partitioning or easy handling of fields which hold unstructured data. It still needs many improvements to become a full Oracle replacement - and until then, unluckily, Oracle knows it can find customers who have to accept the "ransoms" it charges for its products. Sometimes it is more acceptable than trying to re-implement the missing features. When your data are large, and very critical/valuable, you don't get the sorcerer's apprentice path.

      2. intrbiz

        PostgreSQL supports large objects, one should question if a database is the best place for large binary data.

        PostgreSQL also support partitioning, granted you need to do it manually by default. There are a few extensions specifically for partitioning now which are fully featured.

        Best advantage of PostgreSQL is the freedom you get, oh and the feature set and flexibility let alone the price.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes, sometimes the database is a good place for some LOBs because of transactions, security, and backup/restore procedures. Putting everything in a single table outside your control may be a big performance issue, and a management one as well.

          Manual partitioning is a royal pain in the ass for large databases with many partitioned tables. When 'freedom' gets in the way, and the feature set doesn't match your needs, price is not always the main reason for a selection.

  7. GingerOne

    Wait, Oracle? What?

    People still use Oracle DBs?

  8. zebthecat

    Those yachts don't pay for themselves you know

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redshift - here I come ...

    ... nuff said.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. zenstain

    Oracle just sucks

    Oracle shooting themselves in the foot yet again, and the bullet travels straight down through the hull of the ship to add another leak.

    Good. Good.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even worse

    I'd swear their ESXi 6 pricing is even worse. At least from what one of our customers is finding.

  13. theblackhand Silver badge

    For each action...

    AWS has been going after US Government business for a few years now - I wonder if that's starting to hurt some of Oracles big accounts that sat on older/slower hardware?

    The question is whether AWS will provide a short term solution (a better instance to match the new pricing with SSDs with lots of RAM to offset some of the CPU hit) and a longer term migration path to another product (i.e. a AWS optimised PostgresSQL) to tempt Oracle customers away permanently? AWS don't have to do that much - a lot of the Oracle DB usage I've seen are unnecessary and Oracles pricing/salesforce would provide the customers for any alternative...

  14. wraith404

    Aurora kicks the shit out of Oracle, 8 days a week.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems like this is the game Oracle wants to play.

    Also, where is Oracle on Google Cloud? Google Cloud is certainly plenty large enough at this point to warrant about two hours of Oracle's attention to put it in the GCP launcher. I suppose you could just manually put it on a GCE VM, but that seems unnecessary.

  16. IHateWearingATie

    Existing customers are getting stiffed by this- the large corporate I was working with recently are already planning a move away from Oracle for their AWS app as a result of the large price hike this is bringing in.

    Transition costs are high, Oracle costs are much much higher!

    1. Anonymous Coward
  17. JulieM Silver badge

    This is what you get

    This is what you get, when you buy a proprietary, closed product and trust it with your most valuable asset. The vendor of said proprietary product has you over a barrel. Anytime they like, they can demand more money off you in exchange for continued use of the software -- and you can't even go elsewhere, because taking your data with you has been deliberately made as difficult as possible and it's less bother for you to leep paying up. If it didn't involve computers, Oracle's business model would be called extortion, and Larry Ellison would get his collar felt.

    If you do not insist on the full Source Code and Modification Rights for every single piece of software you acquire, you are potentially setting yourself up to be on the bending-down end of an abusive relationship.

  18. ronal123

    Oracle Database Recovery and Backup

    A failure is a persistent data corruption that is detected by a data integrity check. A failure can manifest itself as observable symptoms such as error messages and alerts, but a failure is different from a symptom because it represents a diagnosed problem. After a problem is diagnosed by the database as a failure, you can obtain information about the failure and potentially repair it by means of Data Recovery Advisor.

    Because failure information is not stored in the database itself, the database does not need to be open or mounted for you to access it. You can view failures when the database is started in NOMOUNT mode. Thus, the availability of the control file and recovery catalog does not affect the ability to view detected failures, although it may affect the feasibility of some repairs.

    Data Recovery Advisor can diagnose failures such as the following:

    Components such as datafiles and control files that are not accessible because they do not exist, do not have the correct access permissions, have been taken offline, and so on

    Physical corruptions such as block checksum failures and invalid block header field values

    Inconsistencies such as a datafile that is older than other database files

    I/O failures such as hardware errors, operating system driver failures, and exceeding operating system resource limits (for example, the number of open files)

    Note that Data Recovery Advisor may detect or handle some logical corruptions. But in general, corruptions of this type require help from Oracle Support Services.

  19. LicenseConsulting.EU

    Hoax - yet everyone believes it !!!

    Under oracle's own policy document it is stated that:

    "It may not be incorporated into any contract and does not constitute a contract or a commitment to any specific terms."

    And so it doesn't exist.And so, the literal meaning of the actually signed agreement applies. Which means it must be licensed on AWS in exactly the same way as an in-premise situation.

    1. Count the (physical) cores

    2. Apply multi-core factor

    Done. If any Oracle rep tells you otherwise, refer to the agreement and you're done. Works 100% of the time.

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