On September 1, 2015, Oracle introduced a new variant of its database called Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (hereinafter referred to as: SE2).
This one variant will soon replace the existing Standard Edition (SE) and Standard Edition One (SE1). From December 2015, only Enterprise Edition and SE2 will be available.
This can have major effects, especially for current SE users, but SE1 users will also be affected by this. This article will try to clarify things based on the most important perspectives.
Let’s start with an overview of the main points:
It’s not too speculative to assume that Oracle wants to put a stop to the use of the more affordable database variants on powerful hardware while at the same time positioning its database appliance more favorably.
The crux is that SE2 should not be used on servers with more than two processor sockets, regardless of whether these servers are equipped with virtualization software. In addition, the SE2 database kernel is software limited to a fixed number of CPU threads per database; regardless of the number of processor cores, the database therefore only uses a limited amount of CPU power.
Starting with version 184.108.40.206, Oracle will only offer the Enterprise Edition and the Standard Edition 2.
SE/SE1 stop at version 220.127.116.11. This is the LATEST release of these products. No more updates will be released (still bug fixes but no enhancements). This means that SE/SE1 are effectively End-of-Life.
Oracle’s support policy for database products is described in this PDF .
This shows the following:
In view of the above, it cannot be recommended to use SE or SE1 for the construction of new systems. “sustaining” support is so limited that any problems may or may not be easily remedied. In view of the expected costs for extended support, it is also not recommended to “continue to run” on 18.104.22.168 unnecessarily.
SE and SE1 are still for sale until December 1, 2015.
This is especially important for customers considering moving from Enterprise Edition to SE2, or introducing SE2 in the future. According to our information, it is considerably cheaper to exchange an existing SE1 license for an SE2 license than to purchase a new SE2 license later.
New licenses for SE2 cost the same as the “old” SE ($17,500 per socket). SE2 therefore has a purchase price that is several times higher than SE1. The target price in Oracle’s official Software Investment Guide for SE2 is $17,500 per processor socket while for SE1 it was just $5,800.
There is a benefit to existing SE1 customers that allows for a 1-to-1 transfer of existing SE1 licenses to SE2 at no additional license cost. It is important that support costs will be 20% higher than for SE1.
SE licenses may also be exchanged 1-to-1 for SE2 licenses. However, the support fee remains the same.
Notes on license exchange:
SE2 supports systems with a maximum capacity (filled or not) of 2 sockets per server. This is only half of what was allowed at SE. This also applies to virtualization platforms: none of the servers that an Oracle Database SE2 VM can run should have more than two processor sockets!
SE2 includes the Oracle RAC option (up to 2 nodes), which was not available under SE1.
Each SE2 database is artificially limited to 16 processor threads.
If RAC is used, each instance can address a maximum of 8 processor threads and each server node may only have 1 socket in use. In the latter case, it is allowed to assign only one socket to a virtualized RAC node by means of hard partitioning (Oracle VM).
Q: Can I use a 4-socket server to run a virtual SE2 server to which I assign up to two processors?
A: No. Even with hard partitioning (such as with Oracle VM) this is not allowed. The SE2 instance must not reside on hardware with a capacity of more than two processor sockets.
Q: Can I use a 2-socket server with 2 processors of which I only assign 1 socket to SE2? (and therefore only pay 1 processor)
A: Yes. This is allowed when hard-partitioning is used. Note: this is possible when using Oracle VM but NOT when using eg VMware.
Q: Can I use a 2-socket server with 1 processor? (and therefore only pay 1 processor).
A: Yes. NB: this is possible when using Oracle VM and, for example, also with VMware and also without a virtualization layer.
Q: Can I run an SE/SE1 installation under an SE2 license?
A: Yes you can. provided the conditions for SE2 are met (such as a maximum of two sockets). The 16-thread restriction is software in SE2 and does not apply to SE/SE1.
Q: Can I use RAC on a VMware environment consisting of two populated 2-socket servers if I only allocate 1 processor per VM?
A: No. RAC may only be used when only 1 socket of the physical server has been made usable per RAC node, either physically or by means of hard partitioning (such as via Oracle VM but not: VMware).
Q: Does RAC under SE2 still make sense to improve database performance?
A: This probably makes little sense. Due to the limitation to 16 threads in total, the CPU capacity does not increase. The overhead of two “8-thread” instances plus network traffic is also likely to be higher than that of one “16-thread” instance. For higher availability, RAC can nevertheless remain interesting.
Q: My database needs more than 8 CPU cores (16+ threads when using hyperthreading). Is SE2 enough?
A: Possibly not. If you need more than 8 CPU cores for a database, you may want to consider whether Enterprise Edition is worth it.
We hope that the above has provided you with starting points for assessing the impact of the introduction of Oracle Database Standard Edition 2.
We would be happy to provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation.
You can reach our account managers and licensing experts via our contact page .
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