The September release of Oracle’s Database Standard Edition 2 (DBSE2) has created some corporate quandaries for many organizations.

Why should you care? Oracle’s Database Standard Edition (DBSE) has been a feasible option for companies seeking a lower cost, standard, functional database without all the thrills and frills of Oracle’s Enterprise Edition, but Oracle is now changing the rules around Standard Edition licensing which will put companies on track to migrate and upgrade – whether now, in the near future, or shortly thereafter – eventually to SE2 or to the Oracle Database Enterprise Edition (DBEE).

Some quick facts you need to know:

• As of Dec. 1, 2015, Database SE1 and SE will not be available for purchase so there isn’t a lot of time to plan. Any additional purchases of these products need to be done prior to the Dec. 1 date.

• While migrating to SE2 (from SE1 or SE) is at no license cost, the license limitation due to changes in license structure and rule nuances for this version will likely result in a decreased value in licensing and deployment– potentially a loss of half the original, existing license deployment value.

• It is highly likely that a migration to SE2 will require new hardware purchases.

• Downloading SE2 12.1.0.2 triggers potential usage and non-compliance concerns with Oracle. It is highly likely that the organization will become non-compliant as soon as SE2 is implemented in any fashion unless an upgrade or subsequent purchase is made.

• Oracle DBEE may be a strong consideration due to the limitations in SE2 licensing for many companies.

The socket factor The driving factor organizations should consider when looking at the various versions of Oracle Database Standard Edition should be the limitation of sockets as it affects performance and increases costs. This vital piece of information is likely a key deciding factor in determining whether existing SE and SE1 is kept, if SE2 makes sense or if it’s time for the organization to move to Oracle Database Enterprise Edition (DBEE).

Whereas DBSE limits up to 4 sockets, DBSE2 has a limit of 2 sockets. The definition of a socket is an actual hardware physical chip (the processor), not the core in the processor. Many more of Intel and AMD platforms are using multichip modules in their servers, but have a single socket. Oracle counts each specific chip; therefore, a single socket with multiple chips would be viewed as multiple sockets by Oracle and each one must be licensed properly.

The moral of the story here is to watch the size of the server. SE2 cannot go beyond the two-socket capacity. Organizations running on the SE/SE1 4-socket model can’t just complete the ‘free’ upgrade to SE2 and continue to run it on the existing hardware. This may potentially lead to a loss in value when migrating from one version of SE to SE2 and likely lead to new hardware procurement or compliance violation.

The good news if you migrate to SE2 Migration from existing SE1 to new SE2 may use a ‘one to one’ migration of either Processor or Named User Plus (NUP), but there are potential migration costs – such as an uplift of up to 20% in current SE1 annual support fee. However, migration for SE to SE2 is a straight ‘one to one’ migration of either Processor or NUP with little to no additional license or annual support costs, more or less. Again, most organizations will need to replace their existing hardware as SE2 only allows a maximum of a 2-socket machine or cluster.

Keeping the Status Quo With the looming deadline, there is also an opportunity to stay the course and keep using one of the Standard Edition versions. Some good news:

• There is likely some savings for unused licensing if you’re remaining with DBSE1 and DBSE. Unused licenses that are no longer needed could provide some annual support savings. SE will only be supported up to 12.1.0.1 with continued support through Sept. 1, 2016.

• For SE1, you can continue as long as you’re not on 12.1.0.2. Support wise, if you are on 11.2, you are currently on extended support and it ends Jan. 2016. Premiere support for release 12 you’ll have support until Sept. 16, but you won’t have patches. You just have to purchase before Dec. 1.

Again, if you continue on your current DBSE versions and want to scale those environments, new purchases are required prior to Dec. 1, 2015.

No matter what . . . We know that many organizations will decide to do nothing, but the future impact will likely be costly if no action is taken. Whether migrating to Oracle DBSE2 or remaining with the current version(s), there are a number of considerations and opportunities.

Organizations need to put together an action plan now, reach a decision and act upon it before the Dec. 1 deadline. While they may not implement the action plan right away, organizations must act on procurement of SE and SE1 before the deadline date if they wish to maintain the SE or SE1 scalability.

(About the author: Eliot Arlo Colon is Miro Consulting’s Oracle Practice Leader. He is responsible for the ongoing development and delivery of Oracle services for Miro clients. In the past 15+ years, Mr. Colon has assisted scores of companies with Oracle audit defense, contract negotiations, license optimization and management, reduction of licensing costs and increasing the value of existing Oracle licenses. Miro Consulting specializes in software audit defense, contract negotiation and licensing optimization, specifically for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, and Adobe.)

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