Savvy database admins are already well aware of this, but starting Dec. 1, Oracle quietly canceled two of its licensing schemes and is now requiring buyers of those licenses to buy into a new, potentially much more expensive one called SE2.
Oracle is doing away with its longtime Standard Edition and Standard Edition 1 database license options and replacing them with one new, one-size-fits-all license called Oracle Standard Edition 2. This move may require many current SE users to buy new hardware, reconfigure applications—and potentially suffer performance degradation, according to one competitor, EnterpriseDB.
Ostensibly, Oracle is doing this because: a) it wants to simplify its licensing procedures; and b) because the old socket-based licensing scheme isn't relevant anymore, thanks to the increasing number of cores—and their better performance—being used in its databases to speed them up for big data workloads.
"As is always the case with Oracle, this is all about profits," Keith Alsheimer, chief marketing officer at EnterpriseDB, told eWEEK. "This change to force more customers onto their Enterprise Edition will come at a potentially enormous cost increase.
'Unwelcome Dilemma' for Some Users
"This dramatic change is forcing many existing Oracle SE and SE1 users into the unwelcome dilemma of having to choose the least bad of the costly and disruptive options available to them. This is just one more example of the tyrannical practices that have given Oracle such an infamously gluttonous reputation for so many years."
Strong words from anybody, even a market competitor. Two key facts: Where there once was no CPU (core) limitation in SE, now SE2 limits a user to 16 cores per license. Also, if current SE or SE1 license holders simply decide to stay with what they have, they need to know that Oracle will sunset SE in the fall of 2016, Alsheimer said.
SE2 will cost 20 percent more than SE1, and while the same price as SE, will provide 50 percent less capacity by reducing the maximum allowable footprint from four sockets down to just two with a maximum of 16 CPU threads per instance, Alsheimer said.
Any other workarounds in trying to avoid the new licensing get really expensive, complicated and work-intensive, Alsheimer said.
Oracle Betting on Future Upgrades to Enterprise
"The bet Oracle is making is that more and more SE, SE1 and SE2 users will do something that will trigger them to have to move up to Enterprise Edition," Alsheimer said. "To give you an example of the cost difference, Enterprise Edition costs $47,500 per core, plus any additional add-ons for the license. SE and SE2 costs $17,500 per socket. So these are dramatic price increases for having to move from SE or SE2 to Enterprise."
A core is a central processing unit (CPU). A network socket is one endpoint in a communication flow between two programs running over a network. Sockets contain multiple cores—up to 16 in some systems.
Oracle referred eWEEK to a PDF on its Website in order to tell its side of this story:
'Why Oracle Database Standard Edition 2?'
"Oracle Database Standard Edition (SE2) streamlines the existing Standard Edition (SE)
and Standard Edition One (SE1) offerings into a single offering going forward that continues to provide an affordable enterprise-class database for SMB customers.
"When SE was first introduced, single- and dual-core CPUs were the norm. Today, we have 18-core CPUs and 32-core CPUs are around the corner. Not to mention that per-core performance has increased greatly. This offering takes into account the ongoing hardware trend of increasing cores per socket.
"This trend has essentially made four-socket servers obsolete. Therefore, SE2 aligns us better with what customers are using."
Not surprisingly, Alsheimer and EnterpriseDB, which provides an open-source PostgreSQL alternative enterprise database, have come up with a new program to counter Oracle's move. EnterpriseDB is now offering qualified Oracle SE customers the opportunity to deploy EDB's Postgres Enterprise solution with Oracle compatibility for the same price they are currently paying in maintenance fees to Oracle, Alsheimer said.
The plan is to provide an alternative to the increased costs and hassles of upgrading to the new Oracle SE2 license that eliminates the ongoing risk of falling out of compliance with Oracle license restrictions and facing potential additional fees down the line, Alsheimer said.
"Imagine moving to an equally capable DBMS with a simple migration path, continuing to use your existing DBA skills, and all without additional license fees, usage limitations or penalties," Alsheimer wrote in his blog. "Not only will this solve pending SE2 crises, but it will also eliminate future growth barriers and ongoing concerns about what Oracle will do next with their licensing practices."
There are a lot of details involved here. See Alsheimer's blog to catch the rest of them.