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Similarities between Oracle and IBM CPU-based licensing

May 17 2013: Published by under Core Licensing,IBM,Oracle license,Oracle Licensing Compliance

IBM earnings missed their quarter.  IBM’s CEO, Virginia Rometty, had an internal IBM session asking employees to ‘step up’ and ‘work faster’.  I read about it online from the Wall Street Journal.  I’m puzzled, I’ve seen the IBM employee work ethic first-hand.  Conference calls at 10pm, emails at 1 or 2 am, staying up all night to get data together for a 9am meeting are all typical.  I even learned a new role because an employee planned to vacation in Tahiti and was worried about her laptop’s ability to connect.

I don’t like Sales in general, but I do like IBM Sales because I supported the SMB Sales group for years.  They kept me busy.  They made deals and it didn’t even have to involve IBM hardware, software, maintenance or labor.   IBM is also a massive reseller.  They sold what the customer wanted to buy.  I recall one client account I was on insisted on Sun hardware, and IBM put Sun hardware into the project plan for me to price.

Is it still the same after Oracle has purchased Sun?  One of the first things I noticed after the similarity between IBM and Oracle’s CPU-based software licensing – both base the licensing on cores – I noticed Oracle skews their software core factor table to favor Sun hardware.  IBM doesn’t reduce the software licensing if a client runs their software on an IBM box.

Since I enjoy working out hard-partitioned, sub-capacity licensing (huge math geek), I found that the licensing disparity is most evident here.    And since Oracle’s known for databases, let’s say it’s Oracle Enterprise and IBM’s DB2.

The IBM calculation for PVU licenses needed for the DB2 product slightly favors the Sparc, and that’s only based on IBM’s core multiplier found online -

Everything else about the two configs I made up is the same.


LPARs Used



Core Multiplier

IBM DB2 PVU licensing needed

Power 7 770 2 2 8 120 3840
Sparc T5-4 2 2 8 100 3200


When I compare the same hardware and talk about licensing Oracle Database Enterprise, the core multiplier from Oracle is half that of the IBM machine.  Current one at

Although we could kid around and say a Power7 is twice the machine a SparcT5 is, when it comes to the cost of licensing software, Oracle is stacking the deck by suggesting there is significant savings if you run Oracle software on Sun hardware.


LPARs Used



Core Multiplier

Oracle EE CPU licensing needed

Power 7 770 2 2 8 1.0 32
Sparc T5-4 2 2 8 0.5 16


Don’t worry – I’ve noticed some licensing quirks that are in IBM’s favor, and I’ll be blogging about them as I dig deeper.

Oracle licensing revenue up slightly is not a need to panic

Apr 03 2008: Published by under Uncategorized

So, I’ve waited until the reporters, stories, rumors and commentary has died down somewhat before weighing in on Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) third quarter earnings.  OK, so the numbers didn’t quite meet projected growth.  Did people really expect that to happen with today’s environment and Oracle aggressive acquisition strategy?

The theory that companies will stop buying applications or “squeeze more” out of their current applications to save money is just not realistic. A company can stop buying new Oracle licenses, but it doesn’t stop working on its business – which means moving forward, making changes, etc. Changes to any business very likely means changes to applications and the need for different licensing. Remember, one of the golden rules for Oracle licensing is make certain you have the right amount of licensing because over-licensing or under-licensing can also lead to money not well spent.

New software license revenue was up 16% from a year ago (though projected growth was 15 percent to 25 percent). Many say that Oracle license growth indicates whether Oracle is growing wallet share among CIOs. With this quarter’s license revenue at the lower spectrum of the company target, investors are panicking. But, here at Miro, we’ve been seeing more licensing purchases (and smarter decisions on Oracle licensing). We still have one quarter to go. And, let’s not forget about Oracle’s maintenance fees (there’s still growth in that area).

Among the key figures for 3rd quarter earnings:

Total Oracle software revenue was $4.24 billion in the third quarter.

On demand sales were $174 million, up from $167 million in the previous quarter.

Services revenue was $1.1 billion in the third quarter, down slightly from the second quarter.

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