Oracle has changed the licensing pricing for some of its lower-end multi-core servers to be more competitive with database rival Microsoft.
Oracle made the move last month, but chose not to publicise it unlike two previous changes in its multi-core licensing that took place in July and December 2005 respectively. Details of the most recent licensing changes can be found here
Oracle made its decision following input from distributors Tech Data and Ingram Micro, with whom it signed deals in 2006 as a way to attract more small to midsize business (SME) customers.
Oracle also has a reseller partnership agreement with Dell, which has increased the database giant’s sales into the SME market.
Under the new changes that came into effect on 16 February, Oracle has removed some restrictions on the licensing of its low-end Standard Edition (SE) and Standard Edition One (SE One) databases for multi-core servers, making the cost of software substantially cheaper. The move brings Oracle more into line with Microsoft's pricing of its SQL Server database charging by per processor socket not by number of processor cores.
Pricing for Oracle's higher-end Database Enterprise Edition remains the same, based on a complex formula that uses a variable processor factor multiplied by the number of processor cores to determine the price. The processor factor is 0.25 for Sun Microsystems's UltraSparc T1 chips, but 0.50 for chips from Advanced Micro Devices and Intel and then 0.75 for all other multi-core chips including those from IBM.
In July 2005, Oracle announced it would no longer charge an individual license for each processor core, instead defining each processor core on multi-core chips as 0.75 of a processor. Then in December of that year, the vendor changed that model to bring in separate pricing schemes for different vendors' chips.