Azure : Oracle Licensing changes in 2017

Introduction

A question that I often receive is what about Oracle in the cloud? Because their license politics is far from virtualization friendly. The good news is that the policy is very clear in terms of cloud ;

Microsoft Azure – count one Azure CPU Core as equivalent to one Oracle Processor license.

The ugly thing is that since the end of January, the following statement was added ;

When counting Oracle Processor license requirements in Authorized Cloud Environments, the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table is not applicable.

Today’s post is to take a look at the licensing and how the current model (of 2017) impacts Azure customers.

 

Oracle Licensing Basic

Basically you have processor license…

2017-02-05-21_12_28-oracle-technology-global-price-list

Though at a given point Oracle saw that the amount of cores increased and people were needing less licenses. Then, as with many vendors, we saw an introduction of a core model. As Oracle was of the opinion that the cores different between vendors, they created the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table. Which bared down to 0,5 for Intel Xeon processors.

2017-02-05-21_12_41-oracle-processor-core-factor-table

So you needed one processor licenses per two cores (rounded up). So for every two cores, one would need to buy one processor license, which would bear down to the following (list price) ;

  • Standard Edition 2 : $17500 purchase & yearly $3850
  • Enterprise : $47500 purchase & yearly $10450

 

Virtualization

Every seen this comic?

ce9_upjumaanurz

That’s because of the “partitioning rules” Oracle devised. Basically, VMware/HyperV were considered “soft partitioning” and Oracle did not accept this as a boundary. So you needed to license all the cores the system could possibly run on… Yes, if you had a virtualization cluster based on VMware of 10 hosts with each 12 cores, then you needed to license 120 cores! Even if you only run a lightweight oracle system with one core.

So what did people do? They created a trimmed down cluster that was just for the Oracle systems and where the host was limited to the least amount of cores possible. Sometimes the cores were also disabled in the BIOS, where I’ve seen cases where even this was not accepted as “hard partitioning” with the license auditors. All jokes aside, we can conclude this was one f*cked up situation!

 

Cloud

As mentioned in the intro, there is a very clear policy in terms of cloud, where AWS & Azure are very clearly mentioned. For Azure the following statement was made ;

Microsoft Azure – count one Azure CPU Core as equivalent to one Oracle Processor license.

Though since the end of January, the following statement was added ;

When counting Oracle Processor license requirements in Authorized Cloud Environments, the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table is not applicable.

So we do not need to license all the cores in Azure… Thank god! But the price in Azure is twice as much as you would have your own Xeon core On Premises. 😦

 

If we would, for example, pick an D11 V2 (2 cores of a Xeon E5-2673 v3)  for our Oracle database. And then considering we would need two systems to achieve the needed availability for our production environment. Then we would need to license 4 cores ;

  • before the change ; 4 cores * 0,5 (core factor table) = 2 CPU licenses = ~95k for Enterprise
  • after the change ; 4 cores * 1 (no core factor table) = 4 CPU licenses = ~190k for Enterprise

 

Closing thoughts

  • Licensing Oracle on Azure is clear ; One core = one CPU license
  • In my personal opinion (though, I do not seem to be alone on this) ; Their licensing politics are amongst the most shady in the business. This is an effort in trying to squeeze the lemon until it is completely dry. I encounter more & more customers who are fed up with Oracle and shifting away. That being said, such a change is not always easy. Though at surplus of about ~24k per core, the ROI is becoming more apparent.

 

Side story

In a previous endeavour I was working in an organization which had a stack including Oracle RAC & BEA Weblogic. For the databases, we used physical machines and we were fully compliant with our licenses. At a given point, BEA was bough by Oracle and not that much after that… We were visited by Oracle to discus our license usage. The sad part was that we had our Weblogic farm on virtualization hosts. And suddenly we were being forced into a settlement of 300k for our license violation. Bear in mind that we were still running on the versions covered by the contract we had with BEA. To avoid the loss a lawsuit could bring, the organization settled (paying up the 300k). Immediately after, we were summoned by our CIO and he expressed that our new top priority would be to migrate away from Oracle before the end of the year. Which we did successfully… moving us towards EnterpriseDB (and saving us quite a lump sum on the long run).

So when people ask me if this is a move by Oracle to get everyone to the Oracle bare metal cloud? Probably, mixed with the last intention of squeezing the lemon dry. Here I’m convinced people will not use this as a reason to migrate to the Oracle cloud, but to migrate away from Oracle databases. As a former Oracle DBA, this partly saddens me, as this is a very good product from a technology perspective. Though one cannot see past the business ethics at hand… Almost every CIO, who uses Oracle, is fed up with their antics and looking for alternatives. So I think the move to the cloud for stacks with Oracle in them will not be a “lift & shift” , but one where Oracle will be replaced with another technology.

 

 

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