With the increasing cost of Oracle Enterprise Edition and its associated options, does it make sense to seriously consider moving your applications to Standard Edition? Traditionally Standard Edition was looked on as the Database for the small enterprise or the alternative to MS SQL Server.
We think that the price differential is large enough to warrant a review of your application requirements, as even with the addition of 3rd party extras the total cost of ownership is vastly different.
Let’s remind ourselves of where Standard Edition fits into the five Oracle database editions. A full feature comparison can be seen on Oracle’s web site here.
All the products essentially share the same core technology. The baby of the family is Express Edition which is free to download and ideal as a starter database or for web applications. It is restricted to being run on one CPU, 1 GB of RAM and a maximum database size of 11GB. Then we have Personal Edition which is a single user development database with all the features of Enterprise Edition plus the Enterprise options except RAC and the management packs, (not shown in the comparison table).
Next we move onto the real business ready databases, starting with Standard Edition One. This edition has no RAM restrictions or Database size but must be run on a single server with a maximum of 2 sockets. Looking at the comparison table you can see this is still a feature rich database and for a number of applications this edition could suffice. SE One can be licensed by Named User Plus or Processor. Each Socket used is equivalent to a licensable processor.
Oracle Standard Edition takes SE One to the next level by allowing it to be run on a maximum of 4 Sockets and includes, (for free!) Real Application Clusters. Just think about that for a second. Standard Edition can run on a four socket server. With the number of cores in CPUS increasing all the time, you can have a very beefy machine with plenty of RAM. Take for example the new Oracle X5-2 which has two sockets running a maximum of 32 Cores. Now that’s a serious bit of kit.
Take for example the new Oracle X5-2 which has two sockets running a maximum of 32 Cores. Now that’s a serious bit of kit
Now what about Real Application clusters? Yes you did read it right – it’s included and it’s free. What no catches? Well only that the entire cluster is restricted to a total of four sockets, you must use ASM and Oracle Clusterware and it is not available for Standard Edition prior to 10g. Still sounds good to me – cluster two X5-2s and you have a highly available 2 node cluster (4 sockets in total ) running across 64 cores. That’s four processors of Standard Edition vs 32 processors of Enterprise Edition and 32 processors of Real Enterprise Clusters. (For Enterprise Edition you count the 64 cores x core factor 0.5 for intel = 32 processors)
Now if that hasn’t piqued the interest of your budget conscious CIOs then perhaps consider the additional 22% support you will be paying per year on top of that. I know this does not include any discounts but you know your typical discounts, do the maths.
Standard Edition and Standard Edition One are no longer available to buy and have been replaced by Standard Edition 2 which like Standard Edition One must be run on a single server with a maximum of 2 sockets.
So that leaves us with Enterprise Edition which we all love, but looking again at the feature table, unless one is focused on data warehousing the only included feature that is extensively used is Data Guard. Clearly the options require Enterprise Edition but my guess is not all your applications will need the In-memory, Security or Warehousing options.
Alright that sounds fine on paper but what about the management of this? Will your DBAs be up in arms? From a DBA’s perspective there may be concerns about lack of Data Guard and lack of management packs. The good news is that there are excellent, mature third party alternatives out there that will help provide Failover and Standby Databases even with Standard Edition. See Dbvisit for Standby capability and Confio Ignite for performance management.
In summary, consider that Standard Edition is still the same core technology as its big brother, it includes RAC, is far more affordable and has the support of third parties providing Failover tools, Performance monitoring and life cycle management. We believe it could be a viable option even for large enterprises.