On January 23, 2017, Oracle updated the “Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment” document to add clarity on licensing Oracle products in the public cloud, especially Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. If you are a customer on AWS or Azure running Oracle products, or if you are planning to move your Oracle workload to the cloud, the announcement has a huge impact on the license costs.
Most on-premises databases run on Intel Xeon, Intel Itanium, AMD Opteron or Sun SPARC CPUs. All of these processors enjoy a “processor core factor table” benefit of 0.5 when calculating Oracle licenses. Oracle’s latest announcement targets and negatively affects the licenses for Oracle databases and other Oracle products on AWS and Azure – your on-premises license availability is reduced in half when you move to Azure or AWS. The new policy says: “When counting Oracle Processor license requirements in Authorized Cloud Environments, the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table is not applicable.” Oracle’s hope may be that this change and make the Oracle cloud offering more attractive to customers.
On AWS, by default hyperthreading is enabled, though no hyperthreading is enabled on Azure. The “Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment” document spells out hyperthreading on Amazon and considers two vCPU on AWS equivalent to one processor license when hyperthreading is enabled (on AWS a vCPU is an Intel thread, so 2 vCPU make a core). For non-hyperthread AWS and Azure, one vCPU is equivalent to one processor license. The following table will help to visualize the license difference between various cloud providers (IaaS offering, bring your own Oracle license model) on how an “Intel Xeon 8 Cores” is licensed by Oracle.
If you are planning to run Standard Edition on AWS or Azure, please note: “Under this cloud computing policy, Oracle Database Standard Edition may only be licensed on Authorized Cloud Environment instances up to 16 Amazon vCPUs or eight Azure CPU Cores. Oracle Standard Edition One and Standard Edition 2 may only be licensed on Authorized Cloud Environment instances up to eight Amazon vCPUs or four Azure CPU Cores.”