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  • February 19, 2015

Controlling Software Costs on Exadata

Users of Exadata Database Machines can now take advantage of
several techniques to control database software license costs including Capacity
on Demand (CoD), Elastic Configurations, and Trusted Virtual Machine Partitions.

Exadata Capacity on Demand allows users to disable a subset
of the cores on Exadata database servers to reduce licensing requirements. The
maximum number of cores that can be disabled on an Exadata X5-2 Database Server
is 60%. In other words, with Exadata Capacity on Demand, users only need to
license 14 cores per Exadata X5-2 Database Server even though there are 36
physical cores, thus greatly reducing the number of software licenses required
per server. Exadata Capacity on Demand allows additional cores to be enabled
and licensed as needed. Exadata comes with all the necessary software tools to
provision and manage Capacity on Demand.

On other x86 servers, all the physical cores on the machine
must be licensed.  This means that
customers must plan for the maximum possible core usage over several years, and
carefully deploy a server whose number of cores comes close to this instead of
deploying standard sized servers. In
contrast, Exadata customers can enable just the cores they need at deployment
time, and enable additional cores as they need them.

Exadata Database Machines can now be Elastically expanded by
adding compute and storage servers one at a time as they are needed, extending
the concept of deploying just the processors that are needed to entire servers
in addition to the cores within a server.

Exadata now supports Oracle Virtual Machines (OVM). OVM is
based on the industry standard XEN virtualization technology that is also the
basis of Amazon.com’s cloud. OVM can be used to pin virtual machines to
specific cores to reduce licensing requirements in a manner similar to CoD.  Further, OVM on Exadata implements “Trusted
Partitions”. Trusted Partitions are much easier to use, and are more flexible
and dynamic than core pinning, and they enable licensing of software on Exadata
by Virtual Machine instead of physical core. One benefit of licensing by virtual machine is that it facilitates
consolidation of databases running different database options since the options
can be licensed on just the virtual machines using them instead of every
physical core in the server. To learn more about “Trusted Partitions” on
Exadata please refer to the Oracle Partitioning Document.
Note that unlike some other virtualization solutions, there is no license
charge for OVM software or management, and no additional support fees for OVM
since OS and VM support is included with standard hardware support.

Our customer base and the analyst community has responded
very positively to the unique direction we have taken in providing them with
better flexibility and improved cost on Exadata. Please refer to the Gartner article
“New X5 Generation Will Bring Pricing Improvements to Oracle Exadata” that
discusses these topics.

For an overview of Exadata X5 and how it enables you to
spend less, please see the X5 launch video. Specific comments on how to “Spend Less by Paying Less” can be found in
this section of the video.

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