KleberLeal
Contributor
Contributor

VMware CPU affinity and Oracle license

Hi all,

first I read other messages from olds threads and cant found a aswer ...

I have a VMware host with 4*6cores server and Oracle licenses for 4 CPUs.

I want to create two virtual machines running on a differents hosts, both with 2 vCPUs. Is possible?

Can I create a VM with 2 vCPU and create a cpu affinity to 2 pCPU cores? The Oracle licensing accept this?

Kleber

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12 Replies
petedr
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

It has been a while since I was involved with Oracle licensing but I believe Oracle is still looking to license by the physical host CPUs and not what is allocated to the VM.

The link has a lot of discussion on Oracle licensing and Vmware

http://www.chriswolf.com/?p=365

www.phdvirtual.com, makers of esXpress

www.thevirtualheadline.com www.liquidwarelabs.com
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RParker
Immortal
Immortal

Yeah what Peter said is true. Oracle licenses it per host, per core, per instance. So if you have 3 VM's and they are running on a dual 6 core machine, that is 12 licenses per VM.

That's what Oracle will say they need to be paid. On the other hand, Oracle you really only need 1 Server.. right? just one big huge physical server, you don't need any more licenses after that... Smiley Wink

yeah.. and I just got some oil for free I'd like to sell...

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petedr
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I was lucky when I had my Oracle environment that we licensed by Named User so the CPUs didn't come into play. I don't think that Oracle evens has that option anymore.

www.phdvirtual.com, makers of esXpress

www.thevirtualheadline.com www.liquidwarelabs.com
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prafulkapadia
Contributor
Contributor

Hello

This is something I am looking at. None of the replies or links address the issue of VMware CPU affinity and the fact that it is analogous to Oracle VM's hard partitioning solution, which doesn't take a licence hit for Oracle software.

The issue, to summarise, is that Oracle licensing is potentially expensive if you use soft partitioning since you have to pay for all processors on a

server even if the VM in which Oracle is running uses only one processor.

Oracle distinguish between hard and soft partitioning. See here (PDF). Oracle VM is given as an example of supporting both hard and soft partitioning. Oracle VM supports hard partitioning by allowing you to bind processors to VMs. See here (PDF).

By default, VMware uses soft partitioning (to use Oracle's terminology). However, there is a VMware feature called CPU affinity. See page 21 of the vSphere manual (PDF) . This feature, like Oracle VM, lets you bind a processor to a VM. Functionally, they look identical. It appears that Oracle support hard partitioningin software when Oracle VM implements it but not when VMware does. This sounds anti-competitive!

In discussions I've seen, the focus has been on VMware in general terms not the different features of VMware. CPU affinity, whether it's VMware or Oracle

VM, is less flexible, which is why people probably don't use that feature in VMware. The VMware manual has a number of caveats (see ref above), which warn you away from using it. However, if Oracle accepts it, then that would be a reason to use it to avoid paying a licence fee for all physical processors.

Please can someone from VMware confirm whether the question of VMware's support of hard partitioning via CPU affinity has been raised with Oracle and

what their position is. If they don't support it, then why not since they accept the very same configuration in Oracle VM.

I am pursuing this with Oracle too but wanted VMware's response.

Thanks

Praful

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FredPeterson
Expert
Expert

This is something I am looking at. None of the replies or links address the issue of VMware CPU affinity and the fact that it is analogous to Oracle VM's hard partitioning solution, which doesn't take a licence hit for Oracle software.

Actually it spells out in Oracles document that basically any kind of partitioning except LPAR's on Unix are all soft partitions and therefore you must license the entire host. Regardless of whether you set affinity.

While it may be analogous, Oracle is stupid so it doesn't matter. They stand to lose a lot of money to VMware if they don't do it there way.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

For Oracle, the fact to reject CPU Affinity as Hard Partitioning is the you can hot add CPUs to the machine. In example, they only accept capped LPAR (using IBM terms). You can use LPAR, Solaris Containers (not LDOM), nPAR... They consider hard partition when you can tie pCPU to vCPU, and you can't change it in runtime, either the number of vCPU or the association to pCPU.

The reasons of this should be asked directly to Mr. Ellison. Maybe these restrictions could hide the interest to push their Oracle VM in the customers...

Kind regards.

--

Paulo García

Technical Account Manager

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prafulkapadia
Contributor
Contributor

Actually it spells out in Oracles document that basically any kind of partitioning except LPAR's on Unix are all soft partitions and therefore you must license the entire host. Regardless of whether you set affinity.

CPU affinity for Oracle VM counts as hard partitioning. Does CPU affinity for VMware count as hard or soft partitioning. The document doesn't address that. Rather it talks about VMware in general terms. I wonder if anyone has pointed out the discrepancy to Oracle.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Hard or soft partitioning is a license term for Oracle. And Oracle decides if a partitioning method is considered hard or soft, VMware provides a feature that can tie pCPU to vCPU, nothing else. From my point of view, VMware doesn't have to say anything about that. It's a Oracle license problem... And as I said in my previous email, although VMW CPU affinity can be equivalent to Oracle VM CPU affinity, forgetting of course the part of hot add, Oracle is keeping those terms regarding hard and soft partitioning to push their Oracle VM in the customer, and to limit the deployment of VMware in their customer... Remember, Oracle licenses the software by CPU or named users. If you buy a CPU (with the specific multiplier per CPU type and cores, from 0,5 to 1), you can deploy VMs to squeeze this CPU better than a physical machine. This is my personal opinion.

Of course, some rules can be bent... Several customer are using specific servers to deploy Oracle software, they pay the whole CPUs of the server (ie DB) and they deploy as much VMs with Oracle DB as they can to squeeze their CPUs.

My advice is that you ask to Oracle LMS team in your country for more information about partitioning, and what they consider hard partitioning... In this way you can avoid painful surprises...

--

Paulo García

Technical Account Manager

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prafulkapadia
Contributor
Contributor

Hard or soft partitioning is a license term for Oracle. And Oracle decides if a partitioning method is considered hard or soft, VMware provides a feature that can tie pCPU to vCPU, nothing else. From my point of view, VMware doesn't have to say anything about that. It's a Oracle license problem... And as I said in my previous email, although VMW CPU affinity can be equivalent to Oracle VM CPU affinity, forgetting of course the part of hot add, Oracle is keeping those terms regarding hard and soft partitioning to push their Oracle VM in the customer, and to limit the deployment of VMware in their customer... Remember, Oracle licenses the software by CPU or named users. If you buy a CPU (with the specific multiplier per CPU type and cores, from 0,5 to 1), you can deploy VMs to squeeze this CPU better than a physical machine. This is my personal opinion.

Of course, some rules can be bent... Several customer are using specific servers to deploy Oracle software, they pay the whole CPUs of the server (ie DB) and they deploy as much VMs with Oracle DB as they can to squeeze their CPUs.

My advice is that you ask to Oracle LMS team in your country for more information about partitioning, and what they consider hard partitioning... In this way you can avoid painful surprises...

--

Paulo García

Technical Account Manager

Thanks Paulo. I appreciate that it is Oracle who have created the problem.

It would be in the interest of VMware to get a definitive statement from Oracle and publish it because most people want to use VMware not Oracle VM. It also seems anti-competitive for Oracle to say Oracle VM uses hard partitioning when VMware has the same feature (with hot add). VMware could legitimately pursue the anti-competitive line.

Of couse, the fact that soft partitioning can be more flexible than hard partitioning means that Oracle are penalising their customers by insisting they use hard partitioning (or pay higher licensing fees) when they should leave that decision to their customers.

It's only because of this confusion that we are now considering Oracle VM. Otherwise we end up paying a lot for licensing Oracle on our large VMware server.

Praful

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asolana
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

This is an interesting thread...

As I see it, it looks exactly to same situations with other ISV vendors that finally have to adapt their licensing policies to virtual environments. I agree with Paulo this is something Oracle has created, but probably using CPU Affinity customers have a good justification to demand from Oracle proper licensing and support statements for their VMware environments. There were similar situations in the past, and finally the customers obtained proper licensing and support from other ISVs. Correct?

Best Regards,

Alejandro.

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VirtualWatts
Contributor
Contributor

Old thread but as an update -

In 2010 we virtualized all of our Oracle servers on vSphere 4.1.  Oracle VM is not an option as it only supports the newer Oracle releases and the whole point of our virtualization is to consolidate old legacy systems.  When we did that the Oracle Enterprise licensing cost increased by an order of magnitude.

That's because Enterprise licenses are based upon cores of the CPU.  Our hexa-core CPU's were quite pricey in Oracle EE.

There were 16 relevant features different between Std and EE and we evaluated each one against the cost.  Only 5 were in use in our environment.

Therefore, we downgraded to Oracle Standard which licenses based upon socket, then designated specific servers within our cluster as production servers.  Doing this reduced our Oracle licensing from 48 CPU to 4 CPU and saved us millions of dollars in the process.

Something to consider for small shops or legacy virtualization.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

This is the ugly truth! If you evaluate which EE features are being used, maybe 70%-80% of the EE editions can be turned into SE.

This fact is based in feature usage, not in "commercial arguments". The only argument to use EE instead of SE can be the need of Enterprise Manager to monitor the DB. SE DBs can be monitored with EM, and works fine, but it's not supported. License terms says that you can't use "Enterprise" Manager to monitor "Standard" Edition DBs.

Cheers.

--

Paulo García

Technical Account Manager

From: Communities emailer <communities-emailer@vmware.com<mailto:communities-emailer@vmware.com>>

Reply-To: Communities emailer <communities-emailer@vmware.com<mailto:communities-emailer@vmware.com>>

Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 07:01:43 -0800

To: Paulo Garcia <pgarcia@vmware.com<mailto:pgarcia@vmware.com>>

Subject: New message: "VMware CPU affinity and Oracle license"

VMware Communities<http://communities.vmware.com/index.jspa>

VMware CPU affinity and Oracle license

reply from VirtualWatts<http://communities.vmware.com/people/VirtualWatts> in Virtualizing Oracle - View the full discussion<http://communities.vmware.com/message/1675217#1675217

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