Monthly Archives: September 2015

Caveat Emptor of Oracle Standard Edition 2

On September 1st, Oracle discontinued Oracle Standard Edition (Oracle SE) and Oracle Standard Edition One (Oracle SE1) and replaced them with Oracle Standard Edition Two (Oracle SE2).

Oracle SE and Oracle SE1 were licensed per socket, regardless of the number of cores (physical threads) or hyperthreads (logical threads) in the socket. This meant it was in the customer’s best interest to buy processors (sockets) with the most physical cores and with hyperthreading to get the best performance for the Oracle licensing cost.

With Oracle SE2, Oracle changed the game entirely. Oracle SE1 was $5,800 per socket. Oracle SE2 is $17,500 per socket. If you were running the smallest license possible, your licensing cost just went up 3x or 300%.

There’s more.

o Oracle SE1 had a limit of 2 sockets and no limits on the cores per socket.
o Oracle SE had a limit of 4 sockets and no limits on the cores per socket.
o Oracle SE2 has a limit of 2 sockets and a 16 CPU thread limit per socket.

Intel’s current server CPUs scale up to 18 physical cores (+ 18 logical cores) per processor, so you could have been running Oracle SE1 for $6k with 18 physical (36 logical) threads, only to now pay TRIPLE to run Oracle SE2 and be limited to 16 total threads instead of 18 or 36 before your upgrade.

The bad news doesn’t end there.

What if you weren’t at the low end of the configuration but instead at the high end? Running Oracle SE with Oracle RAC on 2 servers, each with two sockets, each with 18 physical (36 logical) threads? That would have cost you 4 sockets of Oracle SE for $72k (4 sockets at 18k each) and gotten you 72 physical (144 logical) threads of CPU.

You can’t license that on Oracle SE2. It’s limited to single socket RAC, and again, 16 total threads. You get to go buy new hardware AND upgrade to Oracle Enterprise Edition AND buy Oracle RAC on top of that. Let’s be generous and say replacing the hardware was free. 72 physical cores of Oracle Enterprise Edition (with 0.5 core factor) would cost $1,710,000 (47.5k * 0.5 * 72) and then RAC on top is an additional $828,000 (23k * 0.5 * 72) for a total price of $2,538,000.

Yes, to upgrade to SE2, your Oracle licensing cost could go from $72,000 to $2,538,000 – only a 35.2x or 3520% price hike.

In honor of Star Wars Force Friday, this quote from Darth Vader seemed especially appropriate:

“I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further”


Why I am anti host storage

So a friend of mine (@vaughanjt) tweeted that out to me today:

and I responded

At my employer, we’ve got around 500 VMs in one location, around 300 of which are various builds of the software we produce (vs back office stuff like Exchange, Oracle, etc). These 300 VMs are usually 10-30 copies of the same master with some small networking changes. At present time on our existing storage (EMC VNX 5500), doing those 10+ copies of the master are my bottleneck.

Yes, going to some sort of AFA (All Flash Array) could make this operation take alot less time. Yes, implementing something like vCAC / vRA (vCloud Automation Center / vRealize Automation) could definitely help with that bottleneck – linked clones off the master and all that, but simply, with my recent promotion and my need to backfill three personnel in the Infrastructure and Operations group, I simply don’t have the time to get that implemented in a robust and redundant way right now.

Couple that with other business challenges we face (the lease / maintenance on the VNX is due end of year, replication, etc among many other factors), and the best solution for my employer, based on our current constraints, was new shared storage that can provide the IOPS I need, yet greatly simply / speed up the management operations that are a bottleneck in our build cycle.

Host based storage (and IOPS in general) is a great thing, if it solves the problem you’re really facing. If, after solving the existing bottlenecks, I need more IOPs, I’m all for using host based storage (RAM, NVMe, SSD, etc) for caching to get me the IOPs.

Flash can be the proverbial hammer to solve a problem, but sometimes re-architecting your process is a better solution than throwing more IOPS at a problem.