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Oracle to loosen up on multi-core licensing

Whereas the company had previously counted each core as a full processor, it has been suggested that the company may now count each core of a multi-core chip as three-quarters of a processor.

As both Microsoft and IBM have already made licensing concessions for the new multi-core chips from both AMD and Intel, Oracle had been under pressure for some time to respond to competitive challenges.

Up until now, Oracle has stuck to its contention that each core is basically a processor in and of itself, and has structured its pricing accordingly. This is a huge pricing issue when the enterprise database sells for US$40,000 per CPU and the Standard Edition for US$15,000 per CPU.

The basic problem with Oracle's reasoning, even its own partners have said, is that a two-core CPU does not actually give the user double the computing capacity.

The suggested restructuring, in which each core of a multi-core chip is viewed as three-quarters of a processor, would mean savings for businesses. An Oracle 10g Enterprise Edition database running on a four-way server with dual-core processors, which would previously have listed around US$320,000 (four times two cores at US$40,000 each), will now list for US$240,000 (or 0.75 times eight cores at the same per-core price), according to an unnamed source.

Last October, Microsoft announced it would charge for SQL Server licenses by the processor, not by that processor's component cores. In April, IBM followed suit, saying that for X86 multi-core chips and lower end PowerOpen chips, it would likewise charge by the processor, not per core.

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