"We have done quite a bit of research on this," said Jacqueline Woods, in a conference call on Friday with press and analysts. "There is incremental value to the dual-core processor, in terms of performance. Its not a one-to-one relationship. Look at our [pricing per core] in the past … if you had two cores, you had to pay for two processors. Our research has determined that, essentially, the performance you get on the dual-core processor [averages between] 1.5 and 1.75 times [that of a single-core processor], so performance is aligned with value received by the customer."
The company on Thursday tweaked licensing terms on its online Oracle Store. Customers were, up until now, charged on a one-to-one basis, where each core on a chip counted as a processor. Oracle has updated that policy so that each core is multiplied by 0.75. Fractional results are rounded up to the next number to determine the amount of processors for which customers will be charged.
Exceptions are made for Oracle Standard Edition One or Standard Edition programs on servers with a maximum of one processor with one or two cores, for which Oracle will count only one processor for licensing purposes.
Both IBM and Microsoft Corp. have in the past nine months announced that they will essentially treat dual-core as single-core when it comes to licensing. Oracle, however, isnt worried that its new licensing model will send customers scampering to its competitors as they seek more generous terms for multicore licensing.
Woods pointed to IBMs licensing of dual cores, which is slightly different according to the platform involved. On the P series and the IBM/Unix platform, for example, IBM is licensing per core, she said. In those particular instances, Oracle would be charging for 25 percent fewer processors.
As it relates to the Intel Corp. environment or Advanced Micro Devices Inc. chips, though, IBM and Microsoft are in fact charging per processor, regardless of core count. Oracle is sticking by its guns, however, in depicting its pricing as fair.
"We think this is the right processing for that environment," Woods said. "We tend to be agnostic on hardware providers, not differentiating between IBM, Sun or anyone else. We want to be consistent with that and, for the most part, treat all hardware vendors the same. Our software [pricing] in any hardware environment would be consistent."
When it comes to the upcoming prospect of virtualization technologies and the complexities virtualization will bring—a much hairier prospect than multicore, according to licensing experts, due to the difficulties in tracking usage—Oracle is looking to per-employee pricing as the answer, Woods said.
"When you have named-user licensing, which is multiserver and is fairly independent of virtualization, or employee-based licensing, it doesnt matter," she said. "Some customers that are doing that are having a metric thats completely hardware-independent."
As it is, when you look at each hardware vendor, they each have a different type of virtualization approach, Woods said. Sun is working with containers, while IBM is concentrating on partitioning. "From a licensing perspective, I agree that managing and counting in those environments will be more complex as their complexities increase as well," she said. "Which is why I do think youll see a trend moving back to whether its employee or user-based licenses."