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AMD Businesses Software Hardware

AMD's 12-Core Chip Cuts Software Licensing Costs 217

CWmike writes "AMD released on Monday its 12-core chip code-named Magny-Cours, doubling the number of cores over the previous-generation Opteron chip. While a doubling of performance is nice, another key benefit delivered by a chip with a dozen cores may be in reducing software costs. For Matt Lavallee, director of technology at MLS Property Information Network, a company that supplies real estate data, upgrading to the 12-core Opteron chip from his current quad-core chips will allow him to cut the number of servers — and his software licensing fees. While the 12-core chip costs a little more than an eight-core chip, it's 'nowhere near as much as a SQL server costs,' said Lavallee, who has been beta-testing the new chips. MLS operates 60 servers, and Lavallee said he could theoretically cut the number of servers by half but will likely reduce his server count by a third with the chip upgrade." Reader adeelershad82 adds that AMD is hoping the new Opterons will compete with Intel in the high-volume server market.
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AMD's 12-Core Chip Cuts Software Licensing Costs

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  • by bynary ( 827120 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @04:56PM (#31662140) Homepage
    Has MS updated their licensing to be "per-core" instead of "per-CPU"?
    • by iammani ( 1392285 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @04:58PM (#31662160)
      Apparently per-core licensing is only for Windows Server, and not SQL Server.
      • by bynary ( 827120 )
        Good to know. Thanks!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bobartig ( 61456 )

          Of course, don't expect that to last long considering how multi-core things are getting.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anpheus ( 908711 )

        Huh? Windows Server is licensed:

        Standard and Enterprise: per server (motherboard?)
        Datacenter: per CPU socket

        • by RulerOf ( 975607 )
          I've heard that SQL server is licensed per core, but Windows Server is licensed per socket.

          Server Enterprise, IIRC, is licensed per socket. I think a single license is good for up to 4 sockets.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            SQL Server licensing is per socket, unless it has changed in the past year. At my last job we were able to save a nice chunk of money by upgrading our SQL machine to single quad-cores instead of dual dual-cores.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anpheus ( 908711 )

              SQL Server is per server and CAL (that is, you license your server and then buy 50 CALs for the end users) or per socket/CPU. My advice is to always use the latter option because multiplexing doesn't count as one use, so if your website uses SQL Server, you better have CALs for everyone that visits... or just license it by socket.

              The CAL model is probably on its way out, it just doesn't make sense that if you have a public facing website that hits the database for authentication, even if you only have 50 re

      • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:48PM (#31662836)
        Nope, Server Standard and Enterprise are per system, Datacenter is per socket (not core). Enterprise allows for 4 additional OS images on the same hardware, datacenter allows unlimited.
      • Wait for it...

    • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:02PM (#31662226)

      Microsoft hasn't. Some others have though. It gets complicated though. IBM for example uses "performance units" for some of it's software. Single core x86 machines are 50 units per core. Dual Core and Quad-Core x86 machines are 25 units per core - so going single to dual costs you nothing extra but single to quad doubles the software price. They also value some processors differently than others. Certain Sun processors for example are 35 units per core. You pay a certain amount per unit.

      In general though, I'm sure the software makers will catch on eventually. I specifically got a single quad core for my last SQL server to avoid a dual-cpu license (which is an extra $6k or so).

      • by johneee ( 626549 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:20PM (#31662492)

        The last time I priced out Oracle software it was $X per CPU for the first core on a physical package and then $X/2 for each core after that. So a 12 core CPU over 2X 6 core CPUS would basically save you half a CPU license. Which given Oracle's pricing, could be a whole heck of a lot.

        That was a few years back, so it may be different now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by afidel ( 530433 )
          No, on x86/x64 it's core count/2 for Oracle software licensed per CPU (no additional license is needed for the first core).
        • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:58PM (#31663628) Journal

          Actually Oracle licensing is based on a simple formula of:

          (Number of cores * scaling based on how good the cores are + bytes of RAM / salesman's commission + number of users / number of ginger people in your organisation) + sqrt(-2) * phase of the moon

          • my-server ~ # emerge -atv virtual/postgresql-server

            These are the packages that would be merged, in reverse order:

            Calculating dependencies ... done!
            [ebuild N ] virtual/postgresql-server-8.4 0 kB
            [ebuild N ] dev-db/postgresql-server-8.4.3 USE="doc nls perl python xml -pg_legacytimestamp (-selinux) -tcl -uuid" LINGUAS="de fr es -af -cs -fa -hr -hu -it -ko -nb -pl -pt_BR -ro -ru -sk -sl -sv -tr -zh_CN -zh_TW" 13,326 kB
            [ebuild N ] dev-db/postgresql-base-8.4.3 USE="doc nls pam readline ssl thre

        • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @03:36AM (#31667438) Homepage Journal

          Which given Oracle's pricing, could be a whole heck of a lot.

          I once heard a VP saying something like the following: "Today, the Oracle salesguy is coming to wrap up the licensing. I've cleared my complete schedule for today for the negotiations. It's worth it. I never save so much money on a day as when negotiating with Oracle."

    • Shhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't give them any ideas!
  • by Rudeboy777 ( 214749 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @04:57PM (#31662150)

    Fair enough, but my Linux licensing costs won't change!

  • by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Monday March 29, 2010 @04:57PM (#31662156)
    Almost all of the enterprise software we buy charges by the CPU and by the seat. For this purpose a CPU core is the same thing as seperately socketed CPU. Whatever about OS savings I think you'd save more in hardware and running costs than you would on software.
    • There are also some very nice caveats in some licensing documents that stipulate "no more than two instances of 'program' can be running on the same host". Not that they enforce it with flexlm just that is what they tell you, expect you to figure it out and police it.

  • Only until (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @04:58PM (#31662166)

    Oracle, MS and others change the licensing to require a charge per core.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zero_out ( 1705074 )
      These companies will always protect their bottom line. It's an arms race of sorts. Increase power to cut down on the need for servers and licenses, and these companies will change their licensing models / costs to ensure that you are still paying the amount in the end. It's the same with HDDs and other hardware. The price/GB may go down, but the size of the drives just keep going up, ensuring that you still pay $100 to replace your parents' dead HDD, no matter the decade.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is that software licensing is a rip off to begin with.

  • upgrading to the 12-core Opteron chip from his current quad-core chips will allow him to cut the number of servers — and his software licensing fees.

    Really? You mean, as computers get faster you *might* need fewer of them?

    With the advent of the T1, you didn't need 24 DS0 lines, which saved me money on my telecom fees!

    I would have thought the real-estate market downturn saved him a bundle on licensing.

    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:29PM (#31662628)

      Really? You mean, as computers get faster you *might* need fewer of them?

      No really. Please provide evidence for the thesis that as computers get faster, people need fewer of them.

      Second point. It's usually the I/O performance anyway. A 12 core server is unlikely to be able to push as much throughput as 3 quad cores, given the same I/O technology.

      • Please provide evidence for the thesis that as computers get faster, people need fewer of them.

        It's not a bad thesis, but it's somewhat countered by the other effect of Moore's Law: as computers become cheaper, people are more likely to buy more of them than they need.

      • Here...

        And from a very well known and respected entity everyone in the trades knows ! []

        ah, yes.... They can be darn expensive, also 8p

      • by Chirs ( 87576 )

        "No really. Please provide evidence for the thesis that as computers get faster, people need fewer of them."

        Server consolidation through virtualization. Take those 10 separate windows boxes, run them virtualized on two 12-way boxes, and gain redundancy as well as space/power savings.

        • Evidence that this reduces the number of computers people need?

          If the thesis were remotely valid, the number of computers would be decreasing, not increasing. What in fact happens is called Jevons Paradox. As the speed goes up, the cost does down and the number of applications of computers increase. More computers are required.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As computers get faster, software becomes more bloated and runs slower.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikechant ( 729173 )

        Time to render 30 minute Video CD image (at VHS resolution) on 1999 mid-high level PC (cost £1200): 10 hours approx, PC effectively unusable for other purposes.

        Time to render 2hr DVD image (at std DVD resolution) on 2008 low end PC (cost £350): 30 mins approx, PC also playing music/video, web browsing, ripping CDs etc. at the same time.

        The effect of 'bloat' is often overstated.

  • by pyite69 ( 463042 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:07PM (#31662290)

    They license per-core, so more cores per CPU can be more costly.

    • by BillyGee ( 981263 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:42PM (#31662776)

      Actually Oracle charges per socket on Standard and Standard One licenses and per Core only on Enterprise licenses.

      • by afidel ( 530433 )
        And per core for OBIEE and a bunch of other stuff, JDE licensing is fun since it's based on users and company revenue (wtf?).
  • ever heard of MySQL? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by macbeth66 ( 204889 )

    Why the heck is he paying anything? Just use MySql and be done with it. It is certainly easier to use/setup/maintain than that crappy SQL Server stuff. And it is free to boot! sheesh.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You have to understand the mindset behind this kind of people.

      They use a privative SQL server, but that's not it. They also use a privative OS, CMS, ERP, etc,etc.

      You'll find people that use either mostly Free Software, or mostly privative software. 50% / 50% or other rational "whatever fits" scenarios are hard to come by. People either believe that Free Software is a better alternative, or they believe that having a big soulless corporation behind their software means they'll get better software.

      Also, many

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      He probably cares about his data, so postgres is the only FREE alternative for him.

    • by WarwickRyan ( 780794 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:35PM (#31662698)

      Sorry, MySQL isn't in the slightest comparible to MSSQL or Oracle. It doesn't have half the features, it's buggy, and it's generally slower. Tooling is also poor in comparison. It's still, unforunately, a toy.

      MySQL does well in the web. That's because it's free licence is suited to horizontal expansion - throw lots of cheap servers at it (where such expansion is possible). Tight integration with PHP just puts the icing on the cake. However, compared to other stacks it's poor. Both MSSQL/ and Oracle/Java-application-server perform significantly better (often factors) than the MySQL/PHP stack.

      So buying Microsoft/Oracle might seem expensive, that is often not the case.

      But the web isn't the world for databases. There are lots of other usages.

      MSSQL is for example is ideal for SMEs, you get a heck of a lot for your money - very well performing database with mature, well integrated and well performing stack. Plus a really nice BI implementation built right in, with nice easy GUIs for dummies / business users.

      Oracle's the daddy. It's complex but it's a more capable db than MSSQL. As a developer you have fine grain control over how the engine works. For certain enterprise applications it's the only real option (apart from going to IBM). I've been lead to believe that it's the performance king too.

      If you're serious about open source databases, then you need to use a serious open source database as an example. Both Ingres and PostgreSQL are mature, well performing and fully featured databases which are available under an open source license. They're what you should be comparing with SQL Server / Oracle. Not MySQL.

      • by Low Ranked Craig ( 1327799 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:49PM (#31662864)
        I have an SME ERP background, and while all of what you say is correct, in my fairly extensive experience (since 1987) as a VAR and working on the inside at Sage, it is rare to run across a customer, at least in the mid-market ($5 to $50 million in revenues) that actually needs all the features of MSSQL. Hell, most of them do just fine with c-isam or btrieve style files. Most companies in this segment can do just fine with MySQL. Also, there are lots of tools out there. None quite as good as SQL Studio, I'll give you that, but Navicat, for example, is pretty good and affordable. My biggest issue with MySQL is what Oracle is going to do (or not do) with it...
        • Honestly, I think PostgreSQL is the ideal RDBMS for SME's. It has many of the advantages of MS SQL without the OLAP stuff, but has a team exceptionally committed to correct operation of the database, something MySQL has never had. Pg's performance is extremely good under complex workloads, and it is exceptionally robust. Really about the only thing it doesn't do is scale vertically as well as DB2, Oracle, or Terradata.....

        • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @12:10AM (#31666364)

          We've had a lot of problems with MySQL, especially the InnoDB engine corrupting datatables. It got bad enough during development that after the proof of concept, we ported to PostgreSQL and have been running ever since. And it's been night and day. All our DB's are now postgres save for our billing system, which was written by a 3rd party. PostgreSQL is taking far more traffic than we expected and honestly we were thinking that we'd be needing DB2 or Oracle at this point, but so far PostgreSQL has handled all we've thrown at it and with the new clustering/replication/HA hot-standby features in PostgreSQL 9, it looks like we can put off that large purchase another year or so.

    • Why the heck is he paying anything? Just use MySql and be done with it. It is certainly easier to use/setup/maintain than that crappy SQL Server stuff. And it is free to boot! sheesh.

      I have n great love of MS SQL Server, but it does have a place. There is a ton of "Enterprisey" software that requires it. (Or is only additionally supported on Oracle.) When the options are:
      1 - Spend a few grand on a server and software
      2 - Spend (a few - 2) grand on a server, then millions of dollars to have something custo

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:11PM (#31662346) Homepage Journal
    In my experience, it's rare for SQL Servers to be CPU bound, they're almost invariably IO bound, and having more cores won't help you when your disks are the bottleneck. I could see excitement over lowering per-machine costs for something like a renderfarm, but it doesn't seem likely to materialize for Databases.
    • by GodsMadClown ( 180543 ) <> on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:23PM (#31662520)

      Yep, that's why you would like to cache as much in RAM as possible. AMD can help you there. [] ...
      The Opteron 6100 series offers up to 24 DIMMs slots, the Xeon is “limited” to 18. In many cases this allows the server buyer to achieve higher amount of memory with lower costs.

    • Huh, good point... I wonder if down the road you'll have to pay more for DB licenses that run on SSDs.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      But when they do get CPU-bound, you have serious problems. I don't know if things changed since 2000/2003 but I remember very well when 6 geographically separated, load-balanced MSSQL boxes (with 8 cores each back then - very costly setup) hit the CPU bound, they all became unresponsive for a couple of seconds (dropped down to 0% CPU), came back, did a few thousand queries and then repeated the cycle every 5 seconds.

    • In my experience, it's rare for SQL Servers to be CPU bound, they're almost invariably IO bound, and having more cores won't help you when your disks are the bottleneck. I could see excitement over lowering per-machine costs for something like a renderfarm, but it doesn't seem likely to materialize for Databases.

      This is why I came in here to say... There's been some rare instances where my single core machines running DB backends and what have you (yeah they are getting long in the tooth) have run up against a CPU wall... but that's few and far between and a quad core would solve that completely for a long time to come. Almost always, though, when a problem crops up it's the drive(s) that are going mad trying to play catchup while the CPU sits almost idle with brief spurts of activity.

  • Naming scheme... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archaemic ( 1546639 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:15PM (#31662420)

    AMD released on Monday its 12-core chip code-named Magny-Cours

    Very clever, AMD. Naming your chip after a location in Europe as usual, but this time making it able to be read as "Many-Cores" (or possibly more accurately "Many-Core", I don't really know how to pronounce French words). Very clever indeed...

    • by ianare ( 1132971 )

      The best aproximation I can come up with in English is : "mah-nii coor"; Spanish : "mañi cúr"

    • Re:Naming scheme... (Score:5, Informative)

      by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:35PM (#31662704) Journal
      AMD commercial server CPUs are named after Formula 1 racing tracks. Their server platforms are named for Ferrari facilities. Their desktop processors are named after stars, and the desktop platforms after constellations. Cite [].
      • Guess I was confusing it with Intel's naming scheme then. It seemed to fit anyway. The point about the "many-core" name stands, though.

        It is occasions like this that I wish I could mod replies to one's comments +1, Informative.

      • In this case, a former Formula 1 circuit, which hadn't produced a very entertaining race in years prior to its removal from the circus. Soon, Spa-Francorchamps

    • I would have preferred Mangy Cores..

      Seems a bit more "dirty" like its a scrappy street fighter..

    • Actually they are named after F1 tracks.

    • Odd I didn't see "many cores" I saw "mangy curs" instead and thought marketing had blundered.

      oh well

  • My licenses (Score:3, Funny)

    by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:18PM (#31662450)

    Will I need to buy more SCO licenses for this one chip? This could get expensive.

  • by turgid ( 580780 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:18PM (#31662454) Journal

    What are these? Is this something that afflicts Windows people still?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 )

      Yeah, you know, the OS that is preferred 20 to 1 to Linux. ;)

    • by G00F ( 241765 )

      Ya, because Unix(*Nix) software never chargers per user, CPU, or desired speed.

      Sure your are trying to be funny, but you also wrong.

      • by raddan ( 519638 ) *
        Depends on whether you feel the need to "buy" the software, because it is rarely the case that you have to. When you pay for OSS, you're usually paying for support. Those shops that are UNIX-proficient, and there are many out there, often find that they know more than the guy at the other end of that support call. That's our experience, and so we only pay for support for those bits that are significantly outside of our domain of expertise, like SAN software (and even that is going away now that we're fin
    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      Yes because my Oracle and Mentor Graphics software running on Linux is free.....
  • Anand's review (Score:5, Informative)

    by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:28PM (#31662606) Journal

    Anandtech has an excellent review of the new chip. The AMD chip is compared against the latest Xeon. In some situations such as OLTP and ERP, the AMD offering lives down to it's name Mangy Cores []. In HTP and data-mining, Anandtech gives the nod to AMD.

    So choose depending on your needs.

    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      ...or wring your hands over the decision until Intel's dodecacore model drops, and solves the problem for you...

  • Wont help oracle licensing costs .. in fact it will raise costs, unless you virtualize..

    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      Still won't help you since Oracle doesn't recognize VMWare or Hyper-v as a hard partition, only their cruddy Xen implementation which I don't think many places are seriously looking at.
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:01PM (#31663004) Journal

    Someone needs to put "Advertisement" at the top and bottom of these posts of PR copy.

  • No, AMD is not going to save software costs, on Oracle for instance, by using a 12 core processor when an 8-core Nehalem-EX processor outperforms the AMD at two-thirds the per core license cost.
    This is AMD trying to get out in front of the issue that the overall throughput per core is much lower than Intel's current Westmere-EP 6-core. 2-socket or Nehalem-EX 8-core, 4/8+ socket cpus .
    In virtually all per-core licensing scenarios (most of HPC and many big DB ( Oracle, DB2 ) and ERP apps) AMD Magny Cours is n

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