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Software The Almighty Buck Hardware

Multi-Core Chips And Software Licensing 248

i_r_sensitive writes "NetworkWorldFusion has an article on the interaction between multi-core processors and software licensed and charged on a per-processor basis. Interesting to see how/if Oracle and others using this pricing model react. Can multi-core processors put the final nail in per-processor licensing?"
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Multi-Core Chips And Software Licensing

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  • by photon317 ( 208409 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @11:18PM (#9756249)

    I don't if it's any indication of what they'll do for dual-core, but on Hyperthreading Xeon's, Oracle charged us RAC licensing fees per physical processor, even though most OS tools show twice as many virtual processors.
  • by millisa ( 151093 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @11:19PM (#9756262)
    A recent example would be the Hyperthreaded CPUs. SQL Server can be licensed per CPU and with Hyperthreading, the software does for all intents and purposes treat it as a second CPU. However, Microsoft's stance is surprisingly that you only license per the physical processor. Page has doc with more info on MS specifics []
  • by OmniVector ( 569062 ) <see my homepage> on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @11:33PM (#9756353) Homepage
    multi-core means more than one physical chip. hyperthreading means more than one thread sharing resources in a single core. for example, the ibm power5 chip that just came out is a multi-core hyperthreaded chip, with 4 logical processors and 2 physical cores, on 1 total chip.
  • Already answered (Score:2, Informative)

    by nusratt ( 751548 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @11:47PM (#9756431) Journal
    (for now). I've already seen official statements by vendors, explicitly saying that multi-core won't affect their licensing. I've seen none even hinting the other way. If this article says otherwise -- explicitly, naming names -- then that's news.
  • Re:this is all BS. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jsprat ( 442568 ) on Tuesday July 20, 2004 @11:52PM (#9756466)
    It is BS. But Oracle used to charge per "processing unit". It took into account the speed of the chip you planned to run it on as well as the number of processers in the system and the number of expected connections. Or you could purchase the "Web server" edition, which would have broken our company.

    Today, Oracle's price list [] is 11 pages of different price plans that would confuse a car dealership!

  • By licensing per core instead of physical chip, they make more money.

    Not if Oracle's customers defect to less expensive competitors [], as you begin to recognize with your reference to BSD.

  • wake up fools (Score:5, Informative)

    by GISGEOLOGYGEEK ( 708023 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:37AM (#9756700)
    Why are any of you surprised?

    Oh ya, its because you can only think with the open source half of your brain.

    Of course software companies will try to charge you more money any chance they can!

    Just like every other product you can buy anywhere, if they can sell it for more, they will.

    Wake up!

    Until you complain enough, they will reap what they can from this conundrum.

    If you don't like how Oracle screws you on your new dual core processor, then send them packing, I'd bet that Postgresql / PostGIS is now sufficient for the needs of most enterprise database users .. AND ITS FREEEEEE.

    In fact, I personally am going to skip the chance at ever having the topic at hand affect me .....

    Today I called, found out that, ESRI in canada charges $13,500 for a 1cpu license of ArcSDE or $19,000 for a 2cpu license, it remains to be seen what they define as a CPU.

    But instead of blowing that $19,000, I am installing PostGIS to serve my spatial datasets. Screw them! ... they really didnt like it when I pointed out that I'll be saving $52,000 by using MapServer + Postgresql + PostGIS over their ArcIMS + ArcSDE/Oracle setup.

    And the joke is on them as my system is faster, easier to setup / deploy, and can handle much bigger raster datasets in a fraction the time.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:49AM (#9756757) Homepage Journal
    Sometime recently (it's late and I need sleep, so if you want you can look for yourself), I believe Microsoft said that they would charge per socket when it came to multiple-core CPUs. This was an important point that was brought up when AMD announced that it would begin production of dual-core Athlon64 CPUs later this year.

    How they would detect multiple cores in a single socket was not discussed. Maybe there will be something in the chipset that will cover that.
  • by millisa ( 151093 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:00AM (#9757129)
    They say they can tell the difference between the logical and real processors (and I'm tempted to believe them since SQL2kSp3 does seem to handle the load distribution across the physical procs gracefully). They've got enough monkeys at enough keyboards that I'd wager they will be able to tell the difference . . . and as pointed out by the A/C above HT *is* different since they are logical procs, but if they keep the same stance and continue using the term 'Physical Processor', they might keep the licensing for the multi-cores to be associated to the number of chips going into sockets . . . I can dream anyways. I tried finding an article mentioning their stance on multi-core CPU's and failed . . . I'd definitely like to see it if someone can find it.
  • by millisa ( 151093 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:17AM (#9757191)
    Er, since when? MS has always been HT friendly . . .

    This doc even talks about how they have .Net setup to distinguish between the two and only count physicals against the processor limits []

    Now, if you drop, say, 2000 server on a 4 proc HT enabled system, it's silly since it'll count the first 4 logical against the inherent processor limit so there isn't any reason to turn HT on . . . But they don't charge you *more* for licensing on a HT enabled system per logical processor. Similarly, using a dual P4 xeon with HT enabled on a Windows Xp professional install is silly for the same reasons. But you don't get charged more for turning on HT on a single proc XP pro system. It shows as two procs, you pay for one physical.

    I suggest you review the following [] which details their licensing when it comes to HT.

    For those that don't want to RTF-MSWordDoc, the pertinent line:
    Windows Server licensing is based on the number of physical processors on a system

    SQL Server is the same way. Physical procs count (and SQL server *can* tell the difference between logical/physical and spreads the workload across the physicals evenly rather than loading up logicals per processor disparately).

    Which product did you find that they claim they are charging for logical processors?
  • by CaptKilljoy ( 687808 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @04:26AM (#9757625)
    A recent example would be the Hyperthreaded CPUs. SQL Server can be licensed per CPU and with Hyperthreading, the software does for all intents and purposes treat it as a second CPU. However, Microsoft's stance is surprisingly that you only license per the physical processor.

    Pretty reasonable because the second virtual processor isn't as nearly [] as good as having two physical processors for most server applications since the virtual processor runs only when the real processor isn't busy []. For regular systems, this is most of the time, but for most multi-threaded server apps running full blast, it's very seldom.

    Multi-core, on the other hand, gives multiple independent physical processors that just happen to fit into one socket. Its more than likely multi-core systems will be priced according to the number of cores.
  • by uid100 ( 540265 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @09:08AM (#9758734)
    My E2900 with 4 US-IV cpu's:

    app1:$ psrinfo
    0 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:26
    1 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    2 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    3 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    512 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    513 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    514 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    515 on-line since 07/14/2004 04:24:32
    app1:$ uname -a
    SunOS app1 5.9 Generic_117171-05 sun4u sparc SUNW,Netra-T12

    you can bet your a$$ that Oracle, BEA, IBM and most other "Enterprise" software infastructure providers will charge based on the CPU count that the OS sees, not on the physical number of ceramic packages installed in the box.

    Makes me wonder what the market for the 16 core cpu's will be -- free software: free of licensing restrictions. J2EE implementations be wary of licensing costs!

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