Oracle has updated its software licence pricing structure to reflect the rise of multi-core processors.
"As technology evolves we have adapted our licensing models to accommodate those changes," said Jacqueline Woods, Oracle's vice president for global pricing and licensing strategies.
"These new pricing policies will enable our customers to leverage the advancements in multi-core chip technology and derive even more value from their Oracle technology software."
The database vendor will charge different licence fees for different processor architectures.
A single-core server is charged one licence. Systems running the new UltraSparc T1 processor from Sun Microsystems are charged 0.25 licences per processor core. Intel and AMD systems are charged 0.5 licences per core and all remaining multi-core servers are charged 0.75 licences.
Sun unveiled the T1 in November. The chip features up to eight processor cores with four threads each, allowing it to effectively operate as 32 individual processors.
Oracle also offers alternative licensing deals that charge a fee based on the number of users or employees.
The change marks the second time this year that Oracle has updated its licensing structure. Giving in to user pressure to change its policy of counting each core as a single processor, the software vendor adopted a pricing model in July that counted each core as 0.75 processors.
Competing infrastructure software vendors including IBM, Microsoft and Red Hat only count physical computer chips when calculating licensing fees, regardless of the number of processor cores per socket.
The old per-core scheme penalised users who adopted multi-core servers because the savings for the hardware upgrade were offset by the increased cost of software licenses.
As Oracle's new licensing deal favours Sun's T1 systems, the server maker responded positively to the change:
Larry Singer, strategic insight officer at Sun, said that Oracle's announcement recognises that multi-core systems will become the standard.
"For the first time, customers who were inadvertently penalised under the old licensing system, can now choose the architecture and the performance they really want," he said.
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