Oracle standard edition has no multi-core licensing restrictions

Posted in: Technical Track

Reading this in hemant’s blog from last June, he made an interesting observation:

1. Oracle has priced for the Xeon QuadCore Processor at the rate of 1 Processor based on
the single socket justified as “When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to an occupied socket” for a 3-year licence. Thus, Oracle used the combination of “Processor, not Core” for SE/SE-One and 50% of List price for a 3-Year Licence.

The Oracle store website’s licensing page has the exact same wording.

This means that, with SE/SEOne, you can really stretch your Oracle licensing dollar: an 8-way box with a pair of quad-core processors can be licensed with SEOne (in the US) for $10k, and $2k/year for support (sold on a per-chip basis too).

Now imagine running it on an 80-core chip!

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About the Author

Marc is a passionate and creative problem solver, drawing on deep understanding of the full enterprise application stack to identify the root cause of problems and to deploy sustainable solutions. Marc has a strong background in performance tuning and high availability, developing many of the tools and processes used to monitor and manage critical production databases at Pythian. He is proud to be the very first DataStax Platinum Certified Administrator for Apache Cassandra.

13 Comments. Leave new

Tyrone Fernandes
January 5, 2010 4:13 am

I have 2 Intel Quad Core Processors.

We want to install SEOne named users. How many named users are required minimum per processor?

Marc Fielding
January 5, 2010 12:05 pm

@Tyrone: you can license Oracle by named user rather than by processor. Oracle’s licensing definition of named users is quite restrictive however, and includes any person who might access the database information, either directly or through an application. Often a processor license ends up being more cost-effective. If you opt for a named user license Standard Edition One license, the minimum purchase is 5 users total (not per processor).

Mark Brinsmead
January 15, 2010 6:13 pm

Note that the rules for licensing Oracle Standard Edition and Standard Edition ONE have changed since this BLOG was posted.

Specifically, Oracle has changed the definition of “Socket”; when using processors implemented as a Mult-Chip Module, Oracle now counts each CHIP in the device as a “socket” for the purposes of licensing.

There is a very good chance, for example, that each of Tyrone’s Quad-Core “processors” (depending on the model) actually counts as TWO “sockets”. It is my understanding that this affects not only the number of “processor” licenses that need to be purchased (if using that metric) but also the eligibility of a given server to host Standard Edition (or Standard Edition ONE) licenses.


this mean, for 8-core processors, I need number of licenses: “how many chips is there in processors” that number of licenses is necessary?

Marc Fielding
December 8, 2010 9:42 am

The actual license requirements depend on the CPU architecture and the edition of Oracle software. Oracle publishes a full list at

A few examples of license requirements an 8-core chip:

Intel Xeon chips newer than 75XX: 8 (factor 1)
SPARC64/PA-RISC: 6 (factor 0.75)
Intel Xeon 75XX or earlier: 4 (factor 0.5)
T-Series SPARC, 1.2Ghz or less: 2 (factor 0.25)
Oracle standard edition one (any architecture, maximum capacity of 2 sockets per machine): 1 (per-socket, not per-core)



How did you understand this :
“When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to an occupied socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket.”
Extract from :
If OSE ou OSE-One is installed on a INTEL server with 1 processor 4-core, how to calculate the number of required licences ? 1 or 2 (=4*0,50) or 4 ?
If OSE ou OSE-One is installed on a server RISC6000 Power5+ with 2 processor dual-core, how to calculate the number of required licences ? 1, 2 , 3 (= 2*2*0,75) or 4 ?
Are you absolutely certain that Oracle standard edition one, in any architecture, with a maximum capacity of 2 sockets per machine)required 1 licence per socket (processor) and not per-core.

and in case of control by the editor, what evidence to bring?

Thanks for your explanations.


Hi Thomas,

The real question is: is your multicore CPU considered to be a multi-chip module (and therefore subject to licensing per chip). This depends very much on the individual processor selected, rather than the architecture. From the Wikipedia article on the Xeon processor, the 5300 series implemented as “two Woodcrest dies on a multi-chip module” and they list the POWER2, POWER4, and POWER5 processors as being multi-chip modules as well.

This post on the network management blog says that the newer Intel Nehalam (55xx) processors are not multi-chip modules at all.

But when it comes to licensing, the best place for authoritative information would be your Oracle sales rep.

Hope this helps!



Hi Marc,
First, I want to thank you for your clarification and I agree with you. We still must consider the type of CPU, even if the version is OSE ou OSE-One. I will also follow your advice and contact Oracle.
Thank you again for your help.
Sincerely yours.


So are we saying that OSE-One on a system with two sockets, but only one processor installed needs a single license?

Marc Fielding
January 25, 2011 3:51 pm

@Matt: That’s right: with only one of two sockets occupied under SE One, you only need a single processor license. Just make sure that the machine has maximum capacity of two sockets or less, otherwise you can’t license SE One at all.


@Marc: Thank you very much for this, I feel a lot better now as I was concered that I had it all wrong.


@Marc, today I received a quote from my vendor that I’ll have to buy two license for SE1 even if only one processor is there in the machine with two socket capacity. What’s your suggestion.

Marc Fielding
October 3, 2011 1:37 pm

Hi Avinash,

I’m not aware of any processor minimums for Standard Edition one. I just went to the US Oracle Store website ( and was able to get a single Standard Edition One processor license at the US$5800 list price, plus $1276 for the first year of support. Maybe you can show your reseller how Oracle can sell you this license directly?



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