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Lower Oracle operating costs with power from IBM

As important and useful as Oracle databases may be, license and maintenance prices can become a heavy burden on the IT budget. With this article we would like to show you how you can not only keep license costs under control, but also benefit in other ways, especially when Oracle databases interact with the IBM Power architecture.

The big frown begins at the latest when the Oracle Standard Edition no longer meets the requirements functionally or because of its limitation to two server sockets or a few users. Those who activate the significantly more expensive Enterprise Edition are themselves responsible for correctly licensing these usually business-critical databases. And that without exploding costs or compromising availability and security. Many IT managers are not even aware how relaxing the use of IBM Power technology would be for them. Below is an overview of the most important arguments for running Oracle DBs on IBM Power. Arguments which are of course also valid for Oracle WebLogic and software of many other manufacturers.

Limit the number of licensed cores with hardware partitioning

In order to provide the database with computing power dynamically and according to demand, server virtualization is probably a basic requirement for the operation of Oracle DBs. Unlike the x86 hypervisors from VMware or Microsoft, for example, which rely on soft partitioning, the IBM hypervisor (PowerVM) enables hard partitioning. Oracle’s licensing rules only accept with this hard partitioning that only the cores used must be licensed. With IBM Power Systems, therefore, exactly the required performance can be licensed, while with VMware ESXi, for example, all server cores of the virtual environment incur licensing and maintenance costs. In the interest of lean licensing, you should consider using IBM Power technology for this reason alone.

Do you take it for granted that you only pay for the parking space you use?

Maximize performance from resource pool, keep number of cores small

We learned above that with IBM PowerVM we can limit Oracle license costs per core thanks to hardware partitioning. Especially with processor-based licensing, we now need to limit the partition to as few cores as possible to optimize the benefit of hard partitioning. Here, too, the IBM Power architecture can score points:

  • No competitor processor can boast similarly high values in terms of data throughput, number of parallel processes and transactions per core as IBM. No one can allocate more memory per processor core.
  • No competitor processor can show similar high values regarding data throughput, number of parallel processes and transactions per core as IBM. No one can allocate more memory per processor core.
  • IBM’s PowerVM hardware hypervisor allows all computing power to be used at 100%. With typical x86 software virtualization for Oracle, the reality is more like 60-70%.
  • IBM’s virtualization technology allows multiple Oracle databases to have all resources from the pool available in parallel, resulting in ideal load balancing.
  • IBM’s approach allows about twice the over-provisioning of available virtual resources compared to x86 virtualization technology.

All of this means that companies using IBM Power systems will have to provide, and thus license, significantly fewer cores to their Oracle database environment. Even though Oracle’s “Processor Core Factor Table” does not define per-core licensing prices uniformly (but, for example, with a price factor of 0.5 for Intel Xeon or Oracle SPARC versus 1 for IBM POWER9), this diminishes the potential Oracle database price advantage for IBM users, but does not eliminate it by a long shot.

General scalability and stability for good measure

Without direct correlation to the pricing of Oracle licenses: IBM servers are explicitly made for demanding data applications. They provide the best possible operating platform for mission-critical workloads and are world-renowned for the highest levels of stability and functionality. Not least precisely because of the extremely robust and scalable Power VM technology, whose licenses, by the way, are supplied free of charge in IBM Power systems of the enterprise class.

Generally, the ability to grow with increasing requirements is one of the plus points of IBM Power Systems. In all directions, across multiple operating systems, and most especially upward. Admittedly, scalability to 192 cores and 64 TB of memory in a single system is not among the typical requirements for the bulk of Swiss companies. But it underscores the fact that IBM is effortlessly able to provide appropriate technology for even the most dynamic and critical Oracle databases.

Conclusion: Check IBM Power

Faced with potentially astronomical sums for Oracle database licenses and maintenance, IT managers in many companies are switching to x86 systems that are as “coreless” as possible and separating them from the rest of the virtual x86 infrastructure. This swing to a suboptimal server island nevertheless tends to lead to unnecessarily high payments to Oracle. And it torpedoes such important factors as reliability, availability and manageability. This does not have to be the case. IBM’s server systems are tailor-made for the cost-effective, stable, scalable operation of Oracle databases and other critical applications. Especially in IT environments with Oracle databases, the slightly higher price for IBM computing power compared to x86 servers should soon pay for itself. Therefore: Where Oracle is used in the company, operation on IBM Power technology should automatically be checked.

About ITpoint and IBM Power

  • No competitor processor can show similarly high values in terms of data throughput, number of parallel processes and transactions per core as IBM. No one can allocate more memory per processor core.
  • IBM’s PowerVM hardware hypervisor allows 100% of the computing power to be used. With typical x86 software virtualization for Oracle, the reality is more like 60-70%.
  • IBM virtualization technology allows multiple Oracle databases to have all resources from the pool available in parallel, resulting in ideal load balancing.
  • The IBM approach allows about twice as much overprovisioning of the available virtual resources compared to the x86 virtualization technology.

Do you have any questions or would you like to get to know us?

Contact me now for an exchange. I look forward to meeting you!

Ronald Veidt

Ronald Veidt, Senior Account Manager