Good News

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-07-14 Print this article Print

?"> Channel partners whove dealt with customers unsure about the implications of multicore hardware—that would be most, if not all—consider Oracles move to be good news. "Anything that helps us to get a pricing break with Oracle, which is historically the most expensive software we sell," is welcome, said John Norman, a systems engineer at Advanced Systems Group.
As it is, Oracles stance on multicore has been a big deal for most of ASGs clients, Norman said. "Our biggest Oracle environment is for SAP [AG], which gives you a license for Oracle with runtime, so it doesnt matter," he said. "But most of our customers it does discourage from buying hardware with dual core. They put it off."
Norman said a three-quarters break will help to give partial relief, at least psychologically, since it shows that Oracle is recognizing that this is an issue with customers. Hes said hes waiting to see how it pans out in sales situations, though, with regards to whether its a big enough discount off the top price and whether it gives big customers enough leverage to negotiate and get the hardware they want while still staying within their budgets. As software licensing grows more complicated with the advent of power multicore processors, enterprise software buyers search for simpler licenses that bring cost savings. Click here to read more. "Its a break from Oracle being hard-line about their licensing cores," he said. "Its definitely a step in the right direction." It may be a step in the right direction, but multicore licensing dilemmas amount to peanuts when compared with the looming complexities presented by virtualization. IDC is now studying the impact of multicore and virtualization on licensing. Virtualization is a logical rather than a physical view of data, computing power, storage capacity or other resources. Virtualization involves the presentation of computing resources in ways that users and applications can easily get value out of them, rather than presenting them in a way dictated by their implementation, geographic location or physical packaging. This ability to separate the physical layout of a network and its devices from how uses are organized is accomplished through software. Many of IDCs customers are now experimenting with the technology, thinking of it as a way to save money on hardware and to be more efficient with infrastructure they purchase, Konary said, but they are finding that licensing terms arent friendly for such environments. Whatever vendors have done to address multicore, they will have to do to address virtualization, she said—only it will be a bigger issue, since the technology is more complex, harder to measure, harder to track from a compliance standpoint, and more difficult for customers to track. "Multicore, every tangible server, you pay by socket," she said. "In virtualization, what makes sense is to pay for what youre using." That brings up issues of tracking mechanisms, Konary said—something thats well-defined in the world of mainframes, but not in a distributed environment. "Whats the equivalent of a mip?" she said. "How do you track that?" So while the critics will likely move away from Oracle now that its addressed the multicore licensing issue, Konary said, both Oracle and its competitors still have to face the music on virtualization. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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