Oracle Data Base Evolution and Alternatives

August 16th, 2016

Ron Gordon
Director – Power Systems

Over the past several years, Oracle has been changing both the functionality of the Oracle database (12c being the latest) and also the terms and conditions.  Oracle, like many software providers, is doing heavy marketing in “cloud” implementations for cost savings, but many customers are finding the “cloud” implementations are not meeting their management, security, nor performance requirements, at this time.  Hence, they retain their database implementations in-house.    So, Oracle is possibly making changes to terms and conditions in order to help motivate movement to the “cloud,” which should create greater cost savings.

In Power systems, the latest change was in the use of Live Partition Mobility.  Oracle DB participated in sub-capacity pricing with PowerVM, and LPM was also part of the sub-capacity pricing terms.  This changed last year when Oracle stated that if LPM is used, all of the cores of the source and target servers must be fully licensed.  This is a significant change and is demonstrated in the following example:  assume that on source and target servers of 32 cores each, with a production Oracle database running in a partition of 4 cores is “LPM” to a second server into a partition of 4 cores (list price of $190,000, under the previous Oracle license for 4 cores on POWER8).  All 64 cores would need to be licensed, at a cost of $3,040,000!

While there are technical capabilities to circumvent this T&C change, not all customers can implement those changes.   So, how do you address this significant change?

One suggestion is to investigate alternative databases.  While it is difficult and time consuming to migrate large production databases to a new database, smaller relational databases may be easily migrated, and NEW relational databases being implemented may be addressed by alternatives.   Evolving databases, such as MariaDB, Enterprise DB, Tibero Tmax, etc., promote 100% compatibility, easy migration, and much lower licensing costs.  Some are available in OpenSource, and most also have enterprise support licenses.

So, as IT costs are always under scrutiny, reviewing high cost elements of fee software can be an area to reduce costs, while providing support structures that currently benefit the enterprise.

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