Oracle licenses it's RDBMS by several factors, typically the Standard License (by socket) and an Enterprise License (by core scaling factor.) Occasionally, hardware and operating system vendors will enhance their offerings, requiring a revisit by database vendors to expand their legal categorizations for licensing. Oracle's guiding documents are readily available on-line.
Reason for Revisit:
Sun had produced several virtualization technologies, by the time Oracle purchased them. One particular virtualization technology, "LDoms" (short for Logical Domains), renamed to "Oracle VM for SPARC", has been added to the list of being approved for Physical Partitioning technologies.
Partitioning - Topic: Server/Hardware Partitioning
The Oracle Partitioning guide now approves of LDoms or Oracle VM for SPARC as a Hard Partitioning technology.
Oracle has deemed certain technologies, possibly modifiedImplications for Network Management:
by configuration constraints, as hard partitioning, and no
other technology or configuration qualify. Approved hard
partitioning technologies include: Dynamic System Domains
(DSD) -- enabled by Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR), Solaris 10
Containers (capped Containers only), LPAR (adds DLPAR with
AIX 5.2), Micro-Partitions (capped partitions only), vPar,
nPar, Integrity Virtual Machine (capped partitions only),
Secure Resource Partitions (capped partitions only), Static
Hard Partitioning, Fujitsu’s PPAR, Oracle VM Server for SPARC.
Oracle VM Server for x86 can also be used as hard partitioning
technology only as described in the following document
With the current SPARC T4 systems, this becomes more important for Managed Services environments, where Service Provider licenses are required in order to perform external services with an Oracle RDBMS. Being able to limit the number of cores on a new quad socket SPARC T4-4 system offers a lot of flexibility - especially when performance characteristics are similar to 8 socket POWER7 and 32 socket SPARC64 VII platforms.
Most network management software is available under SPARC and few are available under POWER, yet there has been a movement towards POWER over the past few years, specifically for databases, This is the natural time to simplify architectures and re-consolidate those Oracle Databases back onto the SPARC Network Management platforms, again. Why introduce the complexities or firewalls, multiple architectures, multiple code bases, multiple reboot windows, multiple maintenance windows, and overcomplicating D-R procedures when it is cheaper to put it all back on a new low end SPARC platform, and it can be made even less expensive by introducing virtualization technologies like [Oracle VM for SPARC] LDoms and [CPU Capped] Zones?