Oracle plugs socket numbers on DIY Standard Edition

Web scale comes at a price. Larry's price

Oracle is clamping down on uses of its entry-level Standard Edition database by throttling threads.

Larry Ellison's giant has cut by half the number of sockets users are allowed to run with Database Standard Edition (SE2), released at the start of this month.

SE2 users are now restricted to just two sockets, down from four in the earlier versions. Even on Real Application Clusters, (RAC), users will be limited to two nodes per cluster and one socket per node.

Furthermore, each Oracle Database SE2 uses a maximum of 16 CPU threads at any time – no matter what your existing license agreements say.

Despite the tightening of the Ts&Cs, price per socket remains unchanged at $17,500. The existing SE and SE1 editions are to be eliminated from Oracle’s price list as of 1 December.

The change - announced on an official Oracle blog - seems intended to stop customers lashing together copies of entry level SE and SE1 before using VMware to scale up to enterprise-class clusters.

That is because no matter how many cores you have running under SE2, you’ll only ever be allowed to run 16 threads.

Oracle hasn't throttled its database threads on SE before.

In throttling back, Oracle is forcing customers towards its enterprise edition Oracle 12c, listed at $47,500 per processor. Enterprise edition packs high-availability and multi-tenant features missing in SE2 and its SE predecessors.

SE is billed by the giant as an “affordable” entry-level version of its database for single server, small business and highly distributed branch environments.

Keith Dobbs, director of Oracle license specialist Madora Consulting, said the revision could deter those who’d been thinking about using Oracle in the first place.

“It does raise the barrier to entry for Oracle – the question is what sort of reaction this will provoke from the user base,” he said.

Potential Oracle customers may chose rivals like Microsoft or Postgres, the open-source database that’s already giving Oracle a headache.

Oracle is introducing a new, perpetual, all-you-can-eat database license in a bid to see off a growing incursion from Postgres.

SE and SE1 users will expect updates as part of support agreements or if they have signed an unlimited license, then an unlimited numnber of licenses for an up-front fee over the lifetime of a contract. The change also means that SE and SE1 customers who are used to four sockets must scale back their application's consumption to two or risk being out of compliance.

The move is all the more odd given is, functionally at least, a maintenance release, yet Oracle has pitched it wrapped in a massive license change.

“It’s a component in a maintenance release,” Dobbs said. “That’s about the lowest level of release you can have.” ®

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