Oracle DBA – A lifelong learning experience

Oracle changes core processor licensing factor for HP Itanium

Posted by John Hallas on December 13, 2010

This blog is probably only of interest to those shops that use HP Itanium chips but from this month Oracle have changed the Core Processor Licensing Factor for Intel Itanium Series 93XX from 0.5 to 1.0. This will impact new servers that require licensing but and as I understand it for those companies with site licenses it will only affect new servers being added in, not existing servers.

To completely spoil the Xmas period for any HP server salespeople, at the same time Oracle have made changes to the licensing factor for  Sun servers so that the new Sparc64 VII+ has a factor of 0.5 which to those of us who are mathematically challenged means you can run twice as many CPUs on those boxes as an HP Itanium 9300 for the same money.  You will note that I have used the term CPU in the last sentence rather than core and as long as Oracle databases base their internal calculations on a cpu count then I will continue doing so. The documentation states quite clearly that various components of Oracle Database are configured based on the number of CPUs, such as the Optimizer, Parallel Query, and Resource Manager. That is CPU not cores.

Is this the death knell for Oracle on HPUX. Well it is probably the last rites at least.  Given that market share will drop, HPUX is a very late port for new developments and for some products such as OEM/Grid  the user base is tiny compared to Oracle Enterprise Linux (or any other Linux varient) then I cannot see any other way but downwards for Oracle sales on HPUX.

Am I sorry. Well as I work on an all HP site for Unix systems then it is of interest but I cannot say that I am sorry, in fact hopefully it might lead to the opportunity to evaluate other suppliers and see if database performance can be increased and if that comes at reduced cost of ownership then it can only be positive.

The Oracle licensing factor document is available online

Throughout this blog I have made the assumption that those investing in Itanium 9300 chips which are primarly used on HP servers will be using HPUX which is what my forecast on the reduction of Oracle databases on HPUX is based upon. If I am wrong in that assumption and there is a big market out there for those chips to run another OS then please feel free to correct me.

8 Responses to “Oracle changes core processor licensing factor for HP Itanium”

  1. Hi John,

    Well, I’ve been working with Itanium for some years and I really like the HP-UX OS. We were selling a lof of these machines, but very few last two years. Recently what happens is that Microsoft and RedHat said that they will no longer support version of the their operating systems for Itanium. HP put the tukwila (quad core) CPU too late on the market, IBM have eight core CPUs now. They even went direct by supporting and selling directly to the customer without the partners. And now this new license policy seems like the end for Itanium.


    • John Hallas said

      Seems like we are pretty much in agreement Sve. HP don’t seem to have helped themselves and Oracle obviously want to push Sun hardware now.


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  3. Ram Chaitanya said

    Second Thoughts:
    Has Oracle indirectly certified that the new sparc processors are less powerful than the Itanium processors?

  4. I believe it is not the end of Itanium, or it is not the end of Oracle database and hardware, either.

    And, at the UNIX hardware game, the winner may be not in the HP, IBM, and Sun. The winner will be Microsoft and intel (x86).

    And, at the final, I like to say is the strategy of the change is not smart.

    Oracle has to notice if it is too hungry to lose its markets and customers.

  5. […] The busiest day of the year was December 13th with 620 views. The most popular post that day was Oracle changes core processor licensing factor for HP Itanium. […]

  6. Hi John,

    Probably you’ve heard the today’s news that Oracle stops all software development for Itanium chips. It’s only four months after our conversation regarding the future of the Itanium chips!


    • John Hallas said

      I remember Sve. It is a bit worrying for a site like ours which is totally Oracle on HPUX (bar a few Windows databases). It looks like it is a choice between Solaris or Linux. How long will it be before Oracle start pushing Solaris ahead of Linux. I know they have OEL but that is juts an off-shoot of RH and I think Oracle would want to see a site which is completely Oracle from the hardware through the OS, through the storage layer (ASM and Exadata) and then through the database.

      Interesting times


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