Dual Routes on Dual-Core

VMware opts for per-socket, Oracle for per-core, pricing.

VMware Inc. and Oracle Corp. are offering different software licensing structures for systems running on dual-core processors.

VMware is joining a growing number of major software vendors—including Microsoft Corp. and IBM—in offering its virtual machine technology on a per-socket, rather than a per-core, basis. The move means that customers will reap the benefits of dual-core chips without seeing an increase in their software costs.

For its part, Oracle earlier this month softened its stance on the issue. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company previously insisted that it would license its software on a per-core basis—meaning that if a business ran a system with dual-core chips, it would be charged for two processors.

However, Oracle officials modified that stance, instead offering a 25 percent rebate on multicore processors. Company officials said they believe that the rebate is more in line with the 1.5 to 1.75 times performance boost with the multicore chips.

"We have done quite a bit of research on this," said Jacqueline Woods, vice president of pricing and licensing for Oracle, during a recent conference call. "There is incremental value to the dual-core processor in terms of performance. Its not a one-to-one relationship. ... So performance is aligned with value received by the customer."

Raghu Raghuram, senior director of strategy and market development for VMware, said the Palo Alto, Calif., company believes it is important to allow customers the performance jump without increasing their software costs.

"It will allow the customers to leverage the power of dual-core processors at the same cost [as single-chip systems]," Raghuram said.

VMware earlier this month released its first server product for dual-core systems, GSX Server 3.2. The next releases of VMwares data center offerings, ESX Server and VirtualCenter, will also support dual-core systems.

Dual-core chips contain two processing cores on a single piece of silicon.

Users have said that software licensing will be a key in how quickly dual-core technology is adopted. Jevin Jensen, director of IS technical services for Mohawk Industries Inc., in Calhoun, Ga., said VMwares decision came as welcome news.

"[Licensing] was a big concern, since we had plans to roll [VMware technology] out on several new servers next year, which will be dual-core," Jensen said. "The software licensing was an issue, but now we can move full speed ahead, since Oracle is the only player not cooperating."

Lisa Vaas is news editor/operations with eWEEK.com.

The price of dual-core

VMware and Oracle are offering different software pricing models for systems with dual-core chips

  • VMware Will charge on a per- socket—rather than per-core—basis
  • Oracle Will charge on a per-core basis, with a 25 percent discount