Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oracle Database Licensing: Cuts Own Throat

Oracle Database Licensing: Cuts Own throat

The Register in the UK posted an odd article concerning the licensing change to Oracle
Oracle raises software prices on IBM's Power6 iron
Odd statement regarding IBM POWER6
The Oracle price hike on Power6 chips seems unfair given that the quad-core Sparc64 VII processors used in Sun and Fujitsu machines have the same 0.75 scaling factor
The Power6 processor gains most of it's horsepower from an increase in clock rate (POWER6: 2.2GHz to 5.0Ghz, while SPARC64 processors gain their throughput through an increase in number of cores (SPARC64: 2 to 4 cores), while the CoolThreads SPARC T processor gain their throughput through a massive increase in threads per core (T: 32 threads to 64 threads.)

Multiple SPARC cores for Oracle has been a FREE LUNCH at the expense of SPARC customers.

Odd statement regarding Fujitsu SPARC64
It will be interesting to see what Oracle does when Sun and Fujitsu roll out the Sparc64 VII+ quad-core chips, which they are expected to do soon
I don't know why it would prove interesting. It is not like the clock speed will double, as POWER5 to POWER6. Right now, the core multiplier is completely out-of-whack for the SPARC64 chips, just completely.

Odd statement regarding Intel Itanium
Intel gets its quad-core "Tukwila" Itaniums out the door in June or July. The Tukwila chips should certainly get their scaling factor removed, but given that HP and Intel do not have a database software business, I would venture that Tukwilas might sneak by with a 0.75 scaling factor.
There is a popular & competitive Microsoft SQL Server on those platforms. The scaling factor may remain, to just be competitive with Microsoft SQL Server. If the clock rate doubles, removing the scaling factor removal may be a reasonable thing, but I doubt the clock rate would double.

Odd statement regarding SUN SPARC ROCK
various other Sparc, and other chips have a 100 VUP rating. ...it is hard to imagine a 16-core "Rock" UltraSparc-RK chip not being in the same range when it comes out sometime in the fall.
I highly doubt a 16 core RK chip will be 16x faster than a SPARC64 V, VI, or VII core. This being the case, IBM cranking up the VUP rating would be completely "off the chain". I think this analyst clearly has mistaken expectations from either SUN or IBM.

Reasonable statement regarding Oracle
To be fair, Oracle should run a database benchmark test on each processor and come up with a literal scaling factor based on possible clock speeds of all processors and make the scale all relative to the performance of one machine that it picks as the gold standard.
I agree with this sentiment. Just comparing POWER and the SPARC processors... In the words of President Obama, "to be FAIR":

scaling factor for POWER6 should be 1.50 instead of 0.75
scaling factor for SPARC64 should be 0.50 instead of 0.75
scaling factor for SPARC-T should be 0.50 instead of 0.75

Even with the chart above, POWER would still have an advantage of scaling factor of 0.50 per core over SPARC64 due to IBM's incredibly high clock rate!!!

This clearly demonstrates how far out-of-whack the pricing is for Oracle Databases on systems today.

Oracle cuts their own throat

Former substantial cross-platform vendors like Informix and Sybase are not the large players, like they used to be, resulting in databases being closely aligned to Hardware or OS vendors. Most applications that require a third-party database will use a major commercial vendor, like: Oracle Database, IBM DB2, or Microsoft SQL.

Oracle's continuing punishment of SUN and "giving the farm" away to IBM has always seemed odd, considering that IBM is a direct commercial competitor, while SUN's MySql is not a direct commercial competitor. The migration of Oracle RDBMS to IBM DB2 is something that IBM's professional services is something that they would LOVE to do, while there is no equivalent professional services group in SUN to move Oracle RDBMS to MySQL.

It is just a matter of time before Oracle continues to modify their processor core scaling factors, since they are cutting their own throats by advocating platforms who have extremely strong competing databases... but perhaps that is why Oracle has been able to charge a premium for SPARC - because there was no serious database competition.

By Oracle abusing their near-monopolistic licensing policies on SUN, because Oracle could, Oracle is being forced to compete against other databases on their home turf, instead of on the turf which Oracle could have an advantage (SUN SPARC Solaris has no real commercial competing database vs IBM's DB2 on IBM hardware vs Microsoft SQL on Intel Itanium or Intel x64.)

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