Licensing for multicore processors – finding the savings

Licensing for multicore processors – finding the savings

Let the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers guide you through this tricky subject.

Published on 10th October 2016

Multicore processors are standard in enterprise server platforms. And, the changes in multicore licensing counts can have a serious ripple effect on a company’s budget, increasing licensing costs by 25 to 50 to 100 percent or more at any given time. However, on the flip side, multicore can also become a source of major savings in licensing costs and bring a bigger “bang for the buck” as well as added value to any purchased licenses.

Multicore essentially builds additional core processing capabilities into a single physical processor. In most cases performance has proven to be better than an equivalent number of single core processors. Over the years, the industry has moved way beyond the dual-core processor, offering quad (four) and hexa (six) core processor technology. Dual and quad-core processors are probably still the most common today, but some manufacturers have processors that contain up to eight cores. Software vendors that base their pricing per processor have had to revise their calculations for determining license requirements when involving servers with multicore processors.

The Licensing Reality

The introduction of multicore processor technology into servers has a positive impact to your overall Oracle licensing value. Any products licensed by actuals in processor or universal power unit metrics or licensed by minimums in concurrent device, Named User, Named User single server, Named User multi server and Named User Plus are impacted by a move.

Oracle utilizes a multiplying factor for licensing core processors, i.e. – 0.75 for RISC based processors, 1.0 for Intel Itanium Series 93XX, 1.0 for IBM Power6 and 0.25 for Sun UltraSPARC T1 processors, when calculating license requirements for servers with multicore processors. Any changes in multicore counts or to servers (especially during a change management process) can impact the licensing value.

Ka-ching: Getting your Money’s Worth

With software licensing, the name of the game is to lower costs for the same/better licensing scenarios. With multicore licensing, this is absolutely possible and can be achieved quickly. The total cores can be increased along with the performance, while maintaining current licensing needs. Alternatively, it is possible to maintain the same total cores and decrease future licensing needs.

For example, a single server running Oracle Database Enterprise Edition with 4 single-core Intel processors would require 4 Processor Licenses or a minimum of 100 Named User Plus licenses. When that server is replaced with a server using 2 dual-core Intel processors, which is a total of 4 cores, it would require only 2 Processor Licenses or a minimum of 50 Named User Plus Licenses.

The result of the example server change would be a server that requires half as much licensing as it did before, but would maintain the same or better performance. The company could have chosen to put in 4 dual-core Intel processors and have gotten twice their current performance for the same licensing cost as before. The impact would be the same when calculating license requirements for Enterprise Edition Options and Enterprise Managers.

Multicore processors have become the norm in the past few years. With faster processing speeds, phenomenal boosts in productivity and increased efficiency – three qualities prized in today’s market – multicore factors could mean the difference between paying twice as much for a license or receiving a better value at a fraction of the cost. Multimillion dollar licensing contracts are at stake here.

Oracle’s proactive treatment of licensing those processors is something to be noted. When considering a change to your environment, it is beneficial to consider how the multicore processors license is created and ask yourself “Is this the best licensing structure that will give me the most value?”


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