Is It Time to Move from Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 or Enterprise Edition?

By Eliot Arlo Colon, Senior Vice President & Oracle Practice Leader, Miro Consulting, Inc.

There is and will be significant impact to database performance and licensing with Oracle’s Database Standard Edition 2 (DBSE2) and its new licensing rules for the Standard Edition (SE) family. Oracle’s updated licensing terms and conditions has generated a number of dilemmas for organizations using or considering using SE, SE1 and SE2. While migration from SE to SE2 is free, the licensing impact could be significant from:

  • Immediately losing half your licensing value upon migration.
  • Requirement of new hardware purchase

For those that are not migrating and choose to stay with Oracle’s Database Standard Edition (DBSE) or SE1, action is still required. Database SE1 and SE will not be available for purchase as of Dec. 1, 2015. Therefore, any purchases need to be done prior to the date.

Same Ol’ Same Ol’

Even staying at the current version of SE or SE1, organizations must take action before the December 1 deadline. Those staying with their current SE version can and should look for opportunities to create greater licensing values and benefits such as uncovering unused licensing to create savings.

SE and SE1 customers will continue to receive Premier Support for existing licenses through the terminal release. Support details:

  • Release Premier Support will continue until September 1, 2016. At that time, SE and SE1 will gintSustaining Support
  • Release The release is currently within Extended Support. The Extended Support fees have been waived for the first year of Extended Support, 2/1/15-1/31/16.

SE2: Don’t Download Unless You Want to Trigger an Audit

We cannot say this enough. Do not download SE2 ( as Oracle will see this as potential usage and it may trigger an audit due to compliance concerns from the software vendor. And, Oracle would have every right to do this.

By downloading SE2 – free or not – it is extremely likely that the organization doing the downloading will become non-compliant as soon as SE2 is implemented in any way, shape or form. Just think of the new socket limitation on SE2 and the results could be disastrous. Assuming an SE2 implementation could potentially have a company out of licensing compliance by 200%. 

Sockets Sock ‘Em: 4 Legs Good; 2 Legs Bad

SE2 cannot go beyond the two-socket capacity. DBSE2 has a limit of 2 sockets unlike its previous SE and SE1 versions that had a more generous 4-socket limit. The limitation of sockets may affect performance and very likely create an upsurge in cost.

First, let’s define what a socket is and how it relates to licensing. Oracle sees a socket as the physical processor chip, not the core in the processor. Many chip companies – Intel and AMD – use multi-chip modules in their servers with only one single socket. Oracle counts each specific chip so a single socket with multiple chips would be viewed as multiple sockets (whatever that number may be). Each of those chips must be licensed. Organizations currently using SE/SE1 are doing so under a 4-socket model, which means that an upgrade to SE2 would require additional/new hardware. Basically, the potential is a 50% loss of licensing value when migrating from SE or SE1 to SE2 and an increase in cost for new hardware procurement.

The Deciding Factor for SE vs. EE: Hyper-threading

Hyper-threading limitation is a technical limitation, not a license limitation, which means there are no calculations or compliance issues. SE2 cannot utilize more than 16 CPU threads even if the system is capable of handling more. Limitation of 16 threads is not “per server”, but per instance. This may negatively impact performance on DBSE. 

For example, a server with a typical two threads per CPU core with a 10-core CPU results in a 20-thread capacity. Therefore, two CPUs with two sockets will create a total of 40 threads. Those 40 threads can be broken up into multiple instances. This is a key issue because it drives performance. This should be the deciding factor for organizations deciding to keep some version of SE or go to EE. If you are not using many threads per instance, it’s a no-brainer to stay with the SE family. However, those organizations that consistently and continuously us max threads, will need to consider a move to DBEE or face performance issues.

The Good News if You Migrate to SE2

There are, of course, different paths that can be taken from a straight migration to looking at trade-ins that benefit your organization. Each option has pros and cons.

  • 1:1 Migration with some costs. When moving SE1 to SE2 using Processor or Named User Plus (NUP) there is a one-to-one migration path with some potential costs in support fee.
  • 1:1 Migration with little to no costs. Moving from SE to SE2 is a straight 1:1 or NUP migration with little to no addition costs in just the licensing. However, new hardware is potentially needed due to the decreased max socket per machine.

What’s Next?

With the pending discontinued support of SE and SE1 as well as the license limitation on SE2, it is likely only a matter of time before organizations migrate or upgrade to Oracle DBEE. Whether today or two years from now, we predict that majority of DBSE users will convert to DBEE at some point within the next few years. Why? There is little to no benefit in keeping the SE versions as companies today are dynamic and changing. This comes with much challenges and a lot of data. While most companies may stay within the SE family for now, it only delays what we feel is inevitable unless Oracle offers another no frills, highly functional database.

About the Author

Eliot Arlo Colon is Miro Consulting’s Oracle Practice Leader. He is responsible for the ongoing development and delivery of Oracle services for Miro clients. In the past 15+ years, Mr. Colon has assisted scores of companies with Oracle audit defense, contract negotiations, license optimization and management, reduction of licensing costs and increasing the value of existing Oracle licenses. Miro Consulting specializes in software audit defense, contract negotiation and licensing optimization, specifically for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, and Adobe.

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