Neeraj Bhatia's Blog

January 17, 2011

Understanding Oracle Database Licensing Policies

Filed under: Oracle - General — neerajbhatia @ 17:03

Today I’ve chosen to blog about Oracle database licensing policy for two reasons. First, My experience with Oracle databases always revolved around the performance tuning work, so I never had to bother about licensing bits. In last few months quite number of times some friends in my network approached me about how Oracle license its products. In latest situation, at my workplace I’ve been asked to review the Oracle licenses for a large data center with virtualized environment. Secondly technology has evolved very fast in recent years. Virtualization and Cloud computing has really made the licensing policies more complex. This triggered me to dig into the details and write about it.

My intent is to discuss about Oracle policies for educational purpose and if you are planning to buy/renew Oracle license for your environment, I strongly recommend to refer official Oracle policies. Some of the links, I have mentioned at the end for your reference.

With the intention to make this post self-contained, I have discussed some additional things which are related to licensing policies like different Oracle database editions, hardware terminology, Cloud computing etc.

Without further ado, let’s start our discussion with licensing for an Oracle database running on physical servers (non-virtualized environments). Licensing requirements in this case depends on database edition, software environment and whether you want to license based on named users or number of processors. Before delving into actual details, let me quickly touch base on these criteria.

Database environment: Typically we can differentiate database environments into three categories:

  • Development Environment
  • Test Environment
  • Production Environment

You can use full database licenses for development OR optionally you can download absolutely free database software from Oracle Technology Network (OTN). In order to download an Oracle product from OTN, you have to accept the OTN Development License. According to this agreement, user can use the licensed product for development purpose and has not the right to deploy applications.  Please refer references section for further details on OTN licensing. Test and Production environments must be fully licensed and OTN option is only available for development environments.

Now a brief discussion about various Oracle database editions. Oracle database comes in five flavors or edition, each suitable for different scenario.

  • Express Edition: This is an entry-level, small-footprint database that’s free. Of course it comes with certain restrictions, It can be installed on any size host machine with any number of CPUs (one database per machine), but can store up to 4GB of user data, use up to 1GB of memory, and use one CPU on the host machine.
  • Personal Edition: This edition of an Oracle Database is designed to provide software developers a cost effective, yet full featured Oracle Database environment without technical limits.
  • Standard Edition One:  It is an affordable, full-featured database for servers with up to two sockets.
  • Standard Edition: Standard Edition is an affordable, full-featured database for servers with up to four sockets.
  • Enterprise Edition: The Oracle Database Enterprise Edition (EE) offers industry-leading database solution without any restriction.

For further differences between various database editions, refer MOS Doc ID 465455.1
Now let’s take a step further, and discuss hardware terminologies:

  • Socket: Physical receptacles on server main boards that accommodate CPU packages. Our laptop has 1 socket.
  • CPU package: A silicon die which fit into socket.
  • CPU core: The core is a self contained execution unit on the silicon die and capable of doing processing. Multi-core CPUs have multiple execution cores on the single piece silicon die.

These days most of the processors are of multicore capability (dual and quad core, also called 2-way and 4-way respectively). This means that a single physical package has more than one execution core. Thus a server can have multiple physical sockets and a single physical socket in turn can accommodate a package with more than one execution core. This means a machine with 2 physical sockets, can accommodate 4 CPUs; and if each package is dual core, we have 8 cores of execution.

License Metrics: Oracle database can be licensed using two metrics,  Named User Plus or Processor with the exception of the Personal Edition which can only be licensed using the Named User Plus metric.

The Named User Plus metric is used in environments where users (or non-human devices accessing the database, for eg temperature monitoring device) can be easily identified and counted.  The Processor metric is used where users cannot be easily identified and counted, such as internet-based applications.  The Processor metric is also used when it is more cost effective than Named User Plus licenses.

Let’s start with Named User Plus licensing for different database editions:

  • Standard Edition One can only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 2 sockets. It requires a minimum of 5 Named User Plus licenses or the total number of actual users, whichever is greater.
  • Standard Edition can only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 4 sockets. It requires a minimum of 5 Named User Plus licenses or the total number of actual users, whichever is greater.
  • The Enterprise Edition requires a minimum of 25 Named User Plus per Processor licenses or the total number of actual users, whichever is greater.

Example:  A customer who wants to license the Database Enterprise Edition on a 4-way box will be required to license a minimum of 4 processors * 25 Named User Plus, which is equal to 100 Named User Plus.

Oracle’s processor based licensing are based on number of CPU cores but number of total CPU cores should be converted to number of processor. Oracle has a predefined core processor licensing factor which you can use for your platform.  So all cores on all multi-core chips are to be aggregated before multiplying by the appropriate core processor licensing factor and all fractions of a number are to be rounded up to the next whole number.
As explained Oracle Standard One and Standard editions are licensed based on the sockets with restriction of 2 and 4 sockets respectively, for such editions a processor is counted equivalent to a socket; however, in the case of multicore-chip modules, each core in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket. It means 2-socket server each having one dual-core CPU, will be considered as 4 sockets server and is not eligible for Standard One edition installation.

Let’s take another example of a multi-core chip based server with total 6 cores and an Oracle Processor Core Factor of 0.25, which would require 2 processor licenses (6 multiplied by 0.25 equals 1.50, which is then rounded up  to the next whole number, which is 2).
Also a multicore hardware platform not specified in the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table, will have a core processor licensing factor of 1.0, means all the cores will be equivalent to a processor.

Now, let’s discuss licensing for virtualized environments. There can be two types of virtualized environments: soft-partitioning and hard-partitioning. In soft-partitioning, CPU capacity can be changed on runtime as additional resource is needed. This is a flexible way of managing resources. In hard-partitioning, a physical server is separated into distinct smaller systems, each with its own CPUs. Oracle licensing is straightforward. One has to license for all the CPUs configured on the system in case of soft partitioning and only for number of CPUs configured to that partition in case of hard partitioning. Here are few illustrations:

  • A server has 32 CPUs installed, but it is hard partitioned and only 16 CPUs are made available to run Oracle.  The customer is required to license Oracle for only 16 CPUs.
  • A server comes with 30 CPUs and Oracle is installed on this server.  If this server cannot be hard partitioned, the customer must obtain licenses for all 30 CPUs.

On cloud computing environment, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the only cloud service vendor licensed to run Oracle database. AWS offering is termed as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). In the cloud environment, licensing is based on the number of virtual cores and each virtual core should be considered equivalent to a physical core.
It means for Oracle Standard Edition One or Standard Edition, EC2 instances with 4 or less virtual cores are counted as 1 socket, which is considered equivalent to a processor license. For EC2 instances with more than 4 virtual cores, every 4 virtual cores used (rounded up to the closest multiple of 4) equate to a licensing requirement of 1 socket. It means, under cloud computing, Standard Edition can only be licensed on EC2 instances up to 16 virtual cores and Standard Edition One can only be licensed on EC2 instances up to 8 virtual cores.

For Enterprise editions, virtual cores should be converted to number of processors using standard core processor licensing factor. For example, licensing Enterprise Edition on a single EC2 instance of 8 virtual cores (platform with core processor licensing factor of 0.5) would require 8 * 0.5 = 4 processor licenses.
Standard named user plus licensing policies are also applicable in cloud environment.

That’s the end of the story. Please feel free to post comments if you have questions or feedback to share.

References (Further Reading) …
1) Oracle Technology Network Developer License Terms

2) Different Oracle Database Licensing Policies

3) Oracle’s Software Investment Guide

4) Oracle Price List

5) Oracle Processor Core Factor Table

6) Online Purchase of Oracle Products



  1. hi,
    I just want to drop u a question about oracle licensing. Currently my organisation had purchased oracle database 11g. What happen to our database or application if we not renew licence. in clear cut cost?

    Comment by anakkrai — February 16, 2011 @ 20:24 | Reply

    • As far as I know, though you dont renew ur license, once it is purchased, it is enough , but u will not get support/updates when it expires usually after 1 year, but license u bought for 1 year u r not illegal….still u can use the existing version of software.


      Comment by Anwar — March 1, 2011 @ 15:10 | Reply

      • Hi All,
        If you bought life long licenses for Oracle database, which is NUP or Proc, then after one year if you want to stop giving money for support(22%) of initial cost, then you can do that, its not illegal and unethical. You will not get support, security updates from MOS.
        However, if you bought Oracle licenses for term(1 years, 2 year), then you have to renew it if you are still going to use it after a year. If you continue without renewing, then its unethical, illegal and will come back and bite your ass some day.
        Once you stop paying support even in life long licenses, and you wish to renew for support at later stage, you have to pay support for all the years you did not pay for or buy new licenses.
        Source: Am Oracle solution Consultant.

        Comment by amit — April 30, 2013 @ 00:21

    • It’s probably too late, since the question was asked in 2011 and I only stumbled across this blog by accident, but what the heck…It’s always best to obliterate misinformation. Way up at the top (granted the person who asked the question did use the wrong language) however, the person who replied, knew what was being asked and replied with what I can only assume is a complete lack of knowledge, and given the person making the reply self-identifies as: “Source: Am Oracle solution Consultant,” explains much. During my years at Oracle Solution Architects and Solution Consultant (which are SME’s) did an excellent job helping me close very large deals, typically in teams of 5-7, depending on the size of the deal and the requirements. So, I say this with no disrespect, SE’s should stick to their SME, and not become involved in Licensing issues or worst, support issues. After all, loo at what the person AFTER you said and how stupid that was? That said, here is how the conversation went:

      I just want to drop u a question about oracle licensing. Currently my organisation had purchased oracle database 11g. What happen to our database or application if we not renew licence. in clear cut cost?”

      Let me rephrase what the question should have been:

      I just want to drop u a question about oracle licensing. Currently my organisation purchased [a license] for oracle database 11g. (PERIOD) With that license purchase, we were changed 22% of the Net License cost of the database, for FIRST YEAR SUPPORT COSTS. >>>>. REMOVE COMPLETELY:THIS SENTENCE >>>>> “What happen to our database or application if we not renew licence. in clear cut cost?”” and I will make it coherent:

      What happens to the Oracle Database License we purchased, IF, we do not decide to renew support when it comes due for TEAR TWO???

      (A Database is not an Application, it’s Tech, and you are NOT renewing the cost of the License in the 2nd year. YOU PAIN FOR IT. You MUST PAY (for any product) FIRST YEAR SUPPORT which is 22% OF THE NET LICENSE. .

      What you renew in one year is the support cost. So, to simplify:

      1. You paid a Net License of $100,000 for a Product,
      2. 22% is the 1st year cost of support, or 22% of $100,00 = $22,0003.
      3. Total initial budget cost: $122,000.
      4. NOW, year 2 a bill arrives, not for the database, YOU OWN IT, (assuming you purchased perpetual, if you did not, you would not be asking this question).
      5. The bill you will receive is Assuming you do not know how to obtain approval for support increase price caps for the first 2-6 years on support, the base bill in year two will be:
      6. 22,000 and perhaps let’s use 4% for the inflationary adjustment, so your support renewal would be:
      7. $22,880. THAT IS WHAT

      That is what Anwar was trying to explain, but he left much out. He did correct the STUPIDITY of the next person who said this:
      _________________________________________________________________________________________ ,

      You must renew your Oracle database licence, because: (It’s called SUPPORT)

      1) Using unlicensed software is unethical. (He bought the database, (how is it UNlicenced, when he already purchased it?)

      2) It is illegal.(What should be illegal are any words you type, but I am a fan of free speech and have no problem when people make fools of themselves)

      3) Using licensed software is an audit-able thing, so will be caught during External IT auditing. (Dude, your knowledge of LMS policy, is so very wanting, that in one breath you call the database license the person PURCHASED: “unlicensed,” and “illegal” and then go on to say:

      “Using licensed software is an audit-able thing.” BTW, do you realize, you just stated that it is an LMS violation to use “licensed software,” never mind that in 1 and 2 you called it unlicensed and illegal?” .

      4) You will not get product support (MOS).VERY GOOD, YOU GOT ONE OUT OF 4 CORRECT, If you do not renew support, you do not get what can be critical patches, telephone support, etc.

      “So in short, this is illegal and Oracle can sue your organization” (If that were true I can sue you for being so stupid).

      “There are other ways of cost cutting which you should consider (for e.g. reducing staff)” OK, you’re not worth it. You presume a company you know nothing about can reduce staff and back with up with a complete and utter lack of knowledge.


      anakkrai, while I realize your comment is old, My hope is stumbling across this will be of help to others.I can’t explain this here, but the time to reduce support, by 40-60% is at the time of purchase and NO, it is NEVER done with large discounts.

      That said, you did not provide enough information,

      1. Did you purchase only one Database Processor Edition perhaps? IF and only IF you made that as a single purchase and not with 3-50 other Applications and more Technology in ONE order then you can easily cancel support, and continue to use the Database unsupported (without the patches, and without support and more). Why? It is within ONE LICENSE SET, OR ONE CSI HAS BEEN ASSIGNED TO IT. When an order is placed with Oracle (unless you know how to properly place them) usually multiple products (Tech and Apps) are placed on one OD. That one OD has ONE CSI assigned to it. If the purchase was for say, 15 modules, and you want to cancel 4, it won’t matter, REPRICING, will bring you right back to the same support level. I will give you one free hint, but it does not help that much. When you buy Applications and Technology, always ask for at the very lease the Apps and Tech on two OD’s, which at least gives you two CSI’s. However, the proper and legal way, is using Oracle Business Practices and if you are purchasing a large order, you have a very little known right to let’s just say, group certain Tech, with Tech, and Apps with Apps, and you may end up with a 15 product deal, and 9 OD’s which equals 9 CSI’s all separate license sets, which can be cancelled.

      2. My 9 OD’s trick, has been done VERY RARELY. The bottom line is you DO NOT COME OFF ORACLE SUPPORT, IF YOU DO, YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR BUSINESS AT RISK, I was at Oracle when SAP’s TomorrowNow was taken down (3rd party support). The media focused too much on the award Oracle got, while I watched over 250,000 employees lose their jobs because they kept calling TomorrowNow for help and waited too long.and would have paid 10X Oracle’s 150% back support reinstatement charges. These companies waited too long,

      Certain Core failures, corrupt the code of an ERP system if the company waits too long, that even Oracle Support can do NOTHING.

      What did all these companies have in common? After purchasing a very large deal from Oracle, and by large I mean $2.5MM-$10MM in NET, so consider the discount the obtained off list, typically 65-85%. DISCOUNTS MEAN NOTHING. In 10 years with support increases, all the client can think of is: “HOW DO I DROP THIS SUPPORT BY 50% and along comes the latest 3rd Party you support company and the company may get lucky and never need the type of support that if what happened to a set of my Client did, all declared Chapter 7, but why take the risk, when you can reach the 10 year mark and compare the cost of support, to the 75% discount the company was so proud to negotiate and realize, had they went through with the purchase, their annual support costs would be a major every growing expense.

      There is a fix for rising support costs and they do not include canceling Oracle support, nor do they include going to a 3rd Party, where the game is this: “Bring over as many angry Oracle and SAP and MSFT customers, charge them 50%, the average lawsuit takes 7 years and meanwhile you are collecting MILLIONS and along the line, will put employees out of work.

      Anyone have doubts? OK, then learn:

      Here is one quote:

      “Support Period
      Technical support is effective upon the effective date of your order unless stated otherwise in your order. If your
      order was placed through the Oracle Store, the effective date is the date your order was accepted by Oracle.
      Unless otherwise stated in the order, Oracle technical support terms, including pricing, reflect a 12 month support
      period (the “support period”). Once placed, your order for technical support services is non-cancelable and the
      sums paid non-refundable, except as provided in the relevant order. Oracle is not obligated to provide technical
      support beyond the end of the support period, if you do not renew support.”

      Does that sound illegal?

      Just because I advice client against ever cancelling support, that is because I should them their first 5-Yr-TCO with support increases on that BIG 75% discount AND THEN their 10-Year TCO and then their 20 yr.


      This may or may not be a self-promotion site, but even if it is, I don’t self promote, however, since I do need to leave my email: dpoulos – at – to make a post, well, usually if curious where is the typical domain of an email address located? 🙂

      Comment by dpoulos2013 — November 15, 2015 @ 06:53 | Reply

  2. Anakkrai,

    You must renew your Oracle database licence, because:

    1) Using unlicensed software is unethical.
    2) It is illegal.
    3) Using licensed software is an audit-able thing, so will be caught during External IT auditing
    4) You will not get product support (MOS).

    So in short, this is illegal and Oracle can sue your organization. There are other ways of cost cutting which you should consider (for e.g. reducing staff).


    Comment by neerajbhatia — February 18, 2011 @ 09:58 | Reply

    • I don’t see how this is illegal. You have paid for the software and the license for one year. You are paying for maintenance not the license for the years following. If you don’t pay for maintenace you will not receive patches and any help from Oracle.

      Comment by Jeff — October 18, 2011 @ 21:27 | Reply

      • hi
        can anyone attest/verify to this oracle license renewal issue? i am not a technical person but i tend to agree with Jeff that we have paid for the software and license for one year and the renewal of license is just for the continuous support and software updates. If we do not renew the license the only thing we do not get are support and new patches.

        currently my organisation is using Oracle Enterprise 10g and the hardware does not support 11g. So what is the point of renewing the licenses? further the license Enterprise 10g was purchased about 5 years ago. Any input guys?

        Comment by Lee Seng — March 8, 2012 @ 11:38

      • The licenses if purchased as “perpetual” licenses are owned indefinitely. Only the support needs to be renewed every year. If you dont renew support, you dont lose the ownership of the licenses.

        However, if the licenses are Term Licenses, then the ownership would end on the term end date.

        Botton line: in a normal scenario, you purchase License plus support. License cost is one time and support is recurring and optional.

        Comment by Mujeeb — March 21, 2012 @ 14:14

  3. Hi,

    I am testing my application with oraclexe. I know oraclexe is free to use. Suppose I want to test my application with oracle personal edition. Should I have to buy license for this? Please note application and database is in my local machine and it’s not in a testing server or production server. My question is that is it possible to use my application with oracle personal edition in my local machine for testing and development purposes without licensing? Also, please note this is all done locally and my machine not connecting to network.

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards,
    Santosh Kumar.

    Comment by santosh kumar — February 25, 2011 @ 16:05 | Reply

    • Why don’t you read the OTN licensing (accept if you like the terms) and do your testing/development on your machine under the OTN licensing. Then, you can use the EE version instead of the Personal Edition. Personal edition is personal and requires a license. (that is a period 😉 If your company is OPN member, that makes testing/development much easier – have you guys considered that as well ?

      Comment by Z — February 1, 2012 @ 00:33 | Reply

  4. We have server having 8 core processors , we are about to buy oracle 10g enterprize license, For testing purpose we installed enterprize oracle 10g 64bit, Please let me know without license max processors utilization will happen or not?

    Comment by mahesh.kasbe — March 25, 2011 @ 01:16 | Reply

    • Yes it will happen if you are using Oracle software downloaded from OTN.


      Comment by neerajbhatia — March 28, 2011 @ 15:56 | Reply

  5. I have a question about the way Personal Oracle License works.

    I am a developer and I can see that if you us what I call a traditional development environment you have personal oracle installed on your development machine plus your full development environment and everytuhing is fine, no license issues. I would guess you can have several sessions open to database, SQLPlus and the application you are testing but because you are running everything on one machine there are no Issues.

    But I preffer to work in an environment where the database is on a virtual machine and develop and test against that. This has a number of advantages, it is more realistic of a live environment. It is very easy to have different versions of the database in different VMs and switch between which database you test against. Easy to backup a virtual machine. Easy to configure on another development machine…

    But will Personal Oracle be OK, in particular with regard Licensing, now is possible to have several sessions open to the database or will it be blocked because these are considered as multiple users?

    Comment by Brett Collins — April 27, 2011 @ 18:02 | Reply

  6. Hello Neeraj,

    You write the following about Oracle Standard One and Oracle Standard editions:

    “As explained Oracle Standard One and Standard editions are licensed based on the sockets with restriction of 2 and 4 sockets respectively, for such editions a processor is counted equivalent to a socket; however, in the case of multicore-chip modules, each core in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket. It means 2-socket server each having one dual-core CPU, will be considered as 4 sockets server and is not eligible for Standard One edition installation.”

    If you read the Oracle’s Software Investment Guide ( carefully Oracle mentions multi-chip modules (and not multicore-chip modules). The number of cores is not important but the number of chips per module. So a 2-socket server with each a dual-core CPU in it needs 2 CPU licenses in case of Oracle Standard edition.

    Comment by Dennis Veenstra — May 2, 2011 @ 19:43 | Reply

    • Hi Dennis,

      Yes you are right! Thanks for correcting me.

      Comment by neerajbhatia — March 13, 2012 @ 15:39 | Reply

  7. I am still confused about development licenses. What does it mean “to develop but not deploy”? Does this mean that once a DB is deployed to test/prod, the development environment used for maintenance needs to be licensed (the same as test/prod, not using OTN dev licenses)?

    Comment by Julie — May 18, 2011 @ 23:50 | Reply

  8. Hi Neeraj,

    Thanks for posting this article. Please let me know what will be right edition for us having following scenario:

    1. Server with Intel Quad Core Processor. (only one processor).
    2. Only one named user will be created.
    3. 50 network computers will connect from network using single named user.

    Can we go with Standard One Edition?
    and How many licenses we need to buy ?

    Hitendra Sharma

    Comment by Hitendra Sharma — May 30, 2011 @ 15:27 | Reply

  9. Hi Neeraj,

    We have a license of 8 cpu on a single server. How many database within that box I can create.


    Comment by laxmi pathi — July 8, 2011 @ 03:12 | Reply

    • Hi Laxmi,

      You can create any number of databases if you have a license for 8-CPUs database. However you need to consider the performance implications if many databases run at the same time.

      Comment by neerajbhatia — October 8, 2011 @ 01:32 | Reply

      • Thank you Neeraj, lately I found out that information. Even I saw your mail regarding the AIOUG, I can’t make it. I might attend AIOUG some other time. Once again Thank you for your valuable info.


        Comment by Pathi — October 10, 2011 @ 02:23

      • Hi Neeraj,

        We have partitioning license on Prod. But when we checked with below query for viloation on licenses.

        select samp.dbid,, samp.version, detected_usages, total_samples,
        decode(to_char(last_usage_date, ‘MM/DD/YYYY, HH:MI:SS’), NULL, ‘FALSE’, to_char(last_sample_date, ‘MM/DD/YYYY, HH:MI:SS’), ‘TRUE’,’FALSE’) currently_used, first_usage_date, last_usage_date, aux_count,
        feature_info, last_sample_date, last_sample_period, sample_interval, mt.description
        from wri$_dbu_usage_sample samp, wri$_dbu_feature_usage fu, wri$_dbu_feature_metadata mt
        where samp.dbid = fu.dbid and samp.version = fu.version and = and not like ‘_DBFUS_TEST%’ and /* filter out test features */
        bitand(mt.usg_det_method, 4) != 4 /* filter out disabled features */

        Found that Partitioning(system) & Partitioning (user) is True and used for quite long period. Since we don’t have partitioning license on Dev. We never created any partition tables on Dev.

        So how exactly we can find out the partitioning license on servers.
        Both are Enterprise Edition.

        thanks & Regards,


        Comment by LPathi — March 13, 2013 @ 02:24

  10. Hi Neeraj,

    I must admit that I did not understand most of the post since I am not really into IT hardware. I wanted to ask you 2 questions, before that, a brief background:

    I am doing the budgeting for a IT project: basically the project involves hosting a web application made in Java using an Oracle 11g backend.

    Currently the quote I got from a dealer is as follows:

    Oracle 11g Standard – Rs 463043 (in INR) for 20 users

    My questions are:

    1. What is the concept of ‘users’ and will 20 users be required (I don’t expect more than 50 -100 simultaneous browsers accessing the application at any given point in time).

    2. Is this quote too high?

    Comment by tusay — October 31, 2011 @ 23:13 | Reply

    • Hi Tusay,

      Understanding of named user is really important. 1 Named User license is required for every person or device accessing the database. Connection can be established with same database username. For a web-based application, it can be number of users accessing the website which resulting in database connection. I think you need licenses for expected maximum simultaneous users accessing the database.

      Please note that Standard Edition can only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 4 sockets.

      For actual price you need to discuss with Oracle sales, I don’t have any information on the pricing part. In addition to that, you can check the price from Oracle’s website:

      In case you find the difference, you can discuss with Oracle sales. To may it is showing Rs 16,366.00 / Named User Plus for Oracle 11g Standard Ed.

      Hope this helps!


      Comment by neerajbhatia — November 3, 2011 @ 22:49 | Reply

      • “every person or device accessing the database”
        or process such as a cron job

        Comment by Z — February 1, 2012 @ 00:34

  11. The information you gave about Socket, CPU, Cores are bit confusing. Will you please make it a bit more clear?. As far as I know, A Socket can contain only one physical Processor. A physical processor contains Multiple cores. If Hyper threading is enabled, a core can have two threads.

    2 dual core CPU= 2×2=4 Cores
    4 Cores x 2 Threads=8 virtual CPUs.

    Comment by Rahul — January 9, 2012 @ 14:37 | Reply

    • Rahul,

      Yes you’re right. A socket can have one CPU package (physical processor) which in turn can have more than one execution cores (CPU cores). Threading is operating system’s feature where OS can in parallel multiple threads.

      The example you gave is ok, can you tell what exactly is your confusion.


      Comment by neerajbhatia — January 9, 2012 @ 19:09 | Reply

  12. Neerajbhatia,
    Though this post is just about a year old, it is still helpful and insightful to me.
    I have the following licenses : Oracle Database Standard Edition – Named User Plus Perpetual (Quantity = 50) and
    Internet Application Server Standard Edition – Named User Plus Perpetual (Quantity = 50).
    However, I want to set up a test environment with these licenses only to be told by my vendor that it is illegal for me to install Oracle on the test environment as the license cannot cover this. The reason of the vendor is that the named users already has reached 80 users.
    My arguement is that the named users has to do with simultaneous users and not total number of users so far.
    To install Oracle for my test environment, what do I do in this situation?
    Your input will be well appreciated.

    Comment by Kunle Elutade — January 13, 2012 @ 20:00 | Reply

    • Yes you are right in saying that named users are concurrent users and not total number of users.

      ~ Thanks,

      Comment by neerajbhatia — January 26, 2012 @ 19:06 | Reply

    • Check the OTN licensing and operate under the OTN licensing if possible. Better yet, try to become OPN member and operate under the OPN licensing, which gives you more flexibility especially for this type of situations. Test environment under OPN or OTN should be free, you are not pushing to production. Sometimes people confuse the test and production environments. If you constantly test your code prior to the production – that is really not a test environment, that is another sort of production environment 😉 Read the OTN licensing very carefully and you will see that. OPN licensing terms are more flexible (because it is a paid service).

      Comment by Z — February 1, 2012 @ 00:38 | Reply

    • “My arguement is that the named users has to do with simultaneous users and not total number of users so far”

      That is an incorrect argument. The “Named User Plus” license metric specified that “All human users and non-human operated devices that are accessing the program must be licensed.

      It is NOT a Concurrent Usage license. You must have a license for every end user who CAN connect to the database. The license metric that used to count only Concurrent Usage, the “Concurrent Device” license, has not been sold by Oracle for some time now.

      In your scenario, the vendor is quite right. If you have 80 users in total already, you are under licensed by 30 users.

      Furthermore, if you are installed a Test Environment on another server, be aware that you will be subject to minimum Named Users License requirements (based on CPU cores). For example, you may only need 5 Named Users for your Test System, but the server minimum for Standard Edition DB is 5 Users per CPU Core. The total number of Named Users must be greater than or equal to the sum of all the server minimum requirements where the Oracle Product is installed.

      Comment by Paul — February 6, 2012 @ 08:28 | Reply

  13. A blog post about Oracle edition installed

    Comment by neerajbhatia — January 31, 2012 @ 17:01 | Reply

  14. Hi Neeraj,
    I have a server with 2 physical Xeon X5550 Quad Core Processors and a maximum of 200 users.
    I would like to buy Oracle 11g Standard but I am unsure if I can use standard due to having 8 cores in total.
    Could you tell me if this is possible and factors I should use as this process is not listed in the core factor table.
    Many thanks

    Comment by Jason — January 31, 2012 @ 22:19 | Reply

    • When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to a socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket. Standard Edition has a 4 socket maximum. Your Xeon Quad-Core is most likely 2 sockets.

      Now to choose the correct license metric; if licensed by SE Processor it appears you will need Processors. If licensed by Named User Plus then you want measure the distinct user population accessing the server from the multiplexed front-end. If that number is 200 then you would need 200 Named User Plus (NUP) of SE. I always recommend purchasing additional licenses and not licensing your exact user population just to provide for growth and to ensure you are not out of compliance if your population grows.


      Please note that SE includes RAC but once servers in the RAC configuration exceed the 4 socket maximum you will need to upgrade to Enterprise Edition. Standard Edition also does not allow for any Oracle Management Tool & Option usage (except RAC). If you need those features you will need to use Enterprise Edition.

      Comment by Kyle Smida — July 20, 2012 @ 21:20 | Reply

  15. Hi Jason,
    With this scenario you would require 2 processor licences of Standard Edition – this would allow unlimited user numbers making administration easier, as well as being the most cost effective licence metric.
    Generally a processor licence is the same cost as 50 Named Users, so where you have more than 50 users per (licence) processor, the processor licence metric is more cost effective.
    With Standard Edition DB products each occupied processor socket requires licencing – hence you would require 2 processor licences. If the server has a max of 2 processor sockets then the lower cost Standard Edition One can be considered. So long as the server doesn’t have more than 4 processor sockets (even through only 2 are occupied) then Standard Edition would be required.
    Generally (for Database ) with multi-core processors, the cores only need to be counted and multiplied by a factor for Enterprise Edition products.
    Hope this helps

    Comment by Agile TS (@AgileTS) — February 1, 2012 @ 20:48 | Reply

  16. Just what I needed to know, thanks!

    Comment by Jason — February 10, 2012 @ 14:30 | Reply

  17. We have 2 Physical Processors and 6 Cores per processor and Oracle Processor Core Factor of 0.5. This is equal to 6. Now my question is it 6 for the machine whether you have 1 or more oracle instances/databases on the same machine. We are going for the Core Processor Licencing.
    Your answer will be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Yemi Ayofe

    Comment by Yemi Ayofe — February 15, 2012 @ 18:16 | Reply

  18. I am looking to buy a new Oracle 11g database server as part of a project. I am looking at either a single 6 core CPU or two 6 core CPUs.
    I am looking at Oracle Standard edition license and understood this was per processor (and ignored how many cores (so need either 1 or 2 licenses depending on how many CPUs I go with).
    However a software vendor today indicated that the Oracle definition of a processor is based on a maximum of 2 cores in a CPU. So if I have one CPU with 6 cores, then I need 3 Oracle Standard Edition licenses (or 6 licenses if I go with 2 CPUs of 6 cores each).
    This does not make sense and will cost considerably more.

    Please help advise which is correct.

    Also if I get Processor licenses, do I need separate user licenses – I only have maximum of 20 users who will use the system?


    Comment by Simon — February 29, 2012 @ 22:25 | Reply

  19. Hi ,

    I am Barun and I have a question. I have a 6 core intel E5645 server running on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise version. I know we can go to BIOS of the DL 380 server and disable 2 cores in the processors so that I would be left with 4 cores. In that case if I need to procure Oracle EE 10g based on processors do I need to purchase 2 server license or 3 ? With best regards.

    Comment by Barun — March 8, 2012 @ 07:04 | Reply

  20. good job neeraj

    Comment by hassan — March 12, 2012 @ 18:40 | Reply

  21. Hi Neeraj,

    Thank you for posting such a wonderful article! I just wanted to confirm a small doubt that I had. My company has got 5 servers on which we have installed Oracle Database Enterprise Edition 11G having Named User Plus Perpetual License (25 users). Am I correct in saying that since the license is “perpetual”, we don’t need to renew it every year? Also are there any legal consequences if we stop paying for support?

    If we do opt for support 2-3 years after we stopped paying the support charges, is there some sort of penalty/re-instatement charges?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Comment by Ameya — April 22, 2012 @ 10:28 | Reply

    • Hi Ameya,

      Yes perpetual license means you don’t need to renew it every year however for support you have to pay every year. Optionally you can stop paying for support and in that case you don’t lose the ownership of the licenses but in that case you will not receive any my Oracle support, patches etc.

      I am not sure about re-instatement charges (if any). However I do believe that there should not be any such charges as support as totally optional.


      Comment by neerajbhatia — April 22, 2012 @ 11:02 | Reply

      • There is a reinstatement fee if you want to re-support those licenses. However, depending on the time period since you purchased the licenses it may be simpler and cheaper buy new licences. 5 years is usually the rule of thumb.

        Please see this link:

        I recommend reaching out to Oracle’s License Management Services. They can help any licensing questions that you may have.

        Comment by kyle smida — May 10, 2012 @ 23:20

      • Thanks Kyle. I appreciate that you cleared the confusion …

        Cheers, Neeraj

        Comment by neerajbhatia — May 10, 2012 @ 23:24

  22. Hi Neeraj,

    We have Oracle 10g on Win 2003, want to go for Linux + 11g combination as s final step.
    We are thinking first to Upgrade 11g on Win 2003 and then to Linux.
    Here we are talking about 3 steps.

    If we upgrade to 11g then we will get another CSI number or same CSI number will be used.
    So, if we use same CSI number, we don’t pay anything to Oracle or we have to pay.

    When we download Oracle software from OTN, there will be 3 different versions
    i. Oracle 10g on Win 2003
    ii. Oracle 11g on Win 2003
    iii. Oracle 11g on Linux

    My question is, do we have to pay / buy every download on different versions / OS or we can buy once and renew the support every year.

    Sorry for confusion and so many question at one shot.


    Comment by laxmipathi — April 24, 2012 @ 18:23 | Reply

    • Hi Laxmipathi,

      Your questions are very specific to you and I advice you to get in touch with local Oracle sales guy.

      Based on my experience I can tell you that you need to re-negotiate your licensing while moving from 10g to 11g. Also – as you need 11g on Win 2003 temporarily you can negotiate it with Oracle. Finally 11g on Linux based on CPU cores/users needs licensing.

      This is all I can offer at this time ….

      Comment by neerajbhatia — April 26, 2012 @ 11:41 | Reply

    • Oracle production licenses is based on number of processors (cores in case of EE and sockets in case of SE), irrespective of platform or edition. You need to have enough licenses to support the number of processors you are running on. You get a CSI only once for each purchase. After that you use it for 10g , 11g or whatever, as long as the number of processors remain the same. If you want more processors then you purchase once more and you get one more CSI. Support has to be renewed every year for the number of processors you have. For non production licenses you would license using named user licensing at the rate of min. 25 named users per processor.
      So if your windows setup is already licensed then you can move to your linux setup with you existing setup as long as the number of processors does not exceed on the new environment and you remove your windows setup. Otherwise you need to purchase more depending on the new env. This is just my understanding. Please do your own research as you know your env best.

      Comment by rajesh — May 1, 2012 @ 02:14 | Reply

      • Thank you Rajesh.

        We have license on the Prod, we are upgrading to 11g with same no. of licenses.
        My only concern is two different platforms and two different versions.
        As long as I am not violating my present no. of processor license. Can I go with upgration / migration any times.

        Thanks in Advance.

        Comment by lpathi — May 1, 2012 @ 13:42

  23. Development environment licensing is NOT FREE. It is a commonly misunderstood thing. Only free for your own learning instance at home.

    Comment by rajesh — May 1, 2012 @ 02:05 | Reply

    • Yes Rajesh. We have licenses on Dev as well

      Comment by lpathi — May 1, 2012 @ 13:43 | Reply

  24. It is neither illegal nor unethical to not renew an Oracle database license. But, you will not get support / updates / patches etc., once you are not under support. Still you can legally use it as long as you wish.

    Comment by Kamal — May 9, 2012 @ 18:06 | Reply

  25. I like your description. Everything up to “License metrics:”. The following statement from your article confuses two terms that should not be confused: “As explained Oracle Standard One and Standard editions are licensed based on the sockets with restriction of 2 and 4 sockets respectively, for such editions a processor is counted equivalent to a socket; however, in the case of multicore-chip modules, each core in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket. It means 2-socket server each having one dual-core CPU, will be considered as 4 sockets server and is not eligible for Standard One edition installation.”

    Mutli-chip does not mean the same thing as mutli-core. Oracle licensing documents do not use the terms synonymously, and nowhere will you find the term “muticore-chip module”. A multi-chip module is something specific and a very rare creature these days. In fact, it was quite rare even in its day. Further, it is most definitely different than a multi-core package – using your terms.

    Therefore your conclusion in the last sentence is incorrect. In fact, and we help customers with this almost every day, and we have verified it with Oracle in countless licensing exercises. A 2-socket server having two occupied sockets, each with a dual-core processor has 4 processor cores, yes – BUT STILL ONLY 2 SOCKETS. It can be licensed as 2 sockets using either Standard Edition One or Standard Edition. Enterprise Edition would be licensed as 2 CPUs (assuming x86; 4 cores * core-multiplier of 0.5).

    Think about it. The scenario you describe would price Oracle right out of the market for start-up ventures and many SMBs. You can hardly buy anything less than a quad-core server processor anymore. Oracle wants start-ups and SMBs to use their software and become dependent on it – then hopefully grow into EE customers. Hence the reason for the existence of SE1 and SE in the first place. Your friendly (commission-based) Oracle sales rep will probably take exception with this, but you can refer him/her to their own licensing documentation.

    Comment by M Stone — May 15, 2012 @ 04:19 | Reply

  26. Upon further research, I find that the use of multi-chip modules (MCMs) is a little more prevalent than I thought. This Wiki article has some modern examples, MCMs were most commonly used in servers by IBM – and a long time ago. However, unless you’re running RS6000 (POWER5 or earlier) or Pentium chips you are still most likely not using MCMs. The Intel Core 2 quad chips are also MCMs, but again, not very common in the server room. So, although my previous posting stands, I will temper it with caution – particularly if you’re using older technology or desktop technology for your servers.

    Comment by M Stone — May 15, 2012 @ 20:03 | Reply

  27. Hi

    I have a Dell PowerEdge T110 II server. Can it support the Oracle Standard Edition.

    Comment by manu — May 25, 2012 @ 18:37 | Reply

    • I am assuming the Dell PowerEdge T110 II server is a 1 socket servers as is the T310. You will be OK using Standard Edition because SE has a 4 socket maximum.

      Please note that SE includes RAC but once servers in the RAC configuration exceed the 4 socket maximum you will need to upgrade to Enterprise Edition.

      Standard Edition also does not allow for any Oracle Management Tool & Option usage (except RAC). If you need those features you will need to use Enterprise Edition.

      Comment by Kyle Smida — July 20, 2012 @ 21:07 | Reply

  28. Hi,
    I have a question and I can not find the answer in the contract …
    We bought 5 processor license, does that mean 5 processor licenses per environment:
    5 for the development environment
    5 for the test environment
    5 for the production

    Or 5 for all environments?

    Thank you in advance!

    Comment by Ben — May 30, 2012 @ 18:48 | Reply

    • Ben

      If I understand correctly you own 5 Processors licenses to use over Prod, Test, & Dev not 15. Also, do not forget DR. DR must be licensed as well.

      What kind of Processor license did you purchase? Standard or Enterprise?

      As a general rule, Oracle’s pricing practices do not restrict the number of database instances a customer installs on a server, nor do they differentiate between single server and networked environments. Multiple environments may be installed on the same server. All users of all environments must be properly licensed.

      If you purchased Standard then you need to consider the number of ‘sockets’. When licensing Oracle programs with Standard Edition One or Standard Edition in the product name, a processor is counted equivalent to a socket; however, in the case of multi-chip modules, each chip in the multi-chip module is counted as one occupied socket.

      If you purchased enterprise then the number of required licenses is determined by multiplying the total number of cores of the processor by a core processor licensing factor specified on the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table which can be accessed at:…/processor-core-factor-table-070634.pdf

      Comment by Kyle Smida — July 20, 2012 @ 20:55 | Reply

  29. Hello,
    I’m just reading this article and i have one concern.

    I actually have Oracle STD running on many virtual machines hosted on a esxi with 2 intel xeon 4 cores.
    If i read right i have a problem because with your calculation each core is counted as a socket i so have 8 sockets and i’m note eligible for installing oracle STD???

    Can you plz confirm this?

    Comment by Stéphan — June 6, 2012 @ 11:24 | Reply

  30. I spoke with Oracle yesterday and they explained it as processor = socket so if you have a dual/quad core processor and there is only one socket(1 physical CPU) then all you need is one license.

    However in a Virtual Environment ( this document, paired with the core factor table. You should be able t0 determine your pricing.

    EG: (From above linked document)
    “Example, for Database Enterprise Edition licensing in Amazon EC2 environment: Licensing
    Oracle Database Enterprise Edition on a single EC2 instance of 8 virtual cores (on Intel
    multicore chips; see the processor metric definition on the price list), which would require 8
    * 0.5 = 4 processor licenses (each virtual core is considered equivalent to a physical core).

    Example, for Database Standard Edition licensing in Amazon EC2 environment: For EC2
    instance containing 1 to 4 virtual cores, the number of Oracle Database Standard Edition
    licenses required will be 1 processor. On an EC2 instance with 5 to 8 virtual cores, two
    processor licenses would be needed. On the other hand, if one were to use one 4 virtual core
    EC2 instance and 4 single virtual core instances (total of 5 EC2 instances and 8 virtual cores),
    5 processor licenses would be requires i.e. one processor license for each of the EC2

    Hope this helps! I know I racked my brain trying to figure it out!


    Comment by Bill — July 18, 2012 @ 00:07 | Reply

    • Bill

      Here is something additional guidelines/cheat sheet to assist you in determining licensing for Oracle with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

      Licensing a Cloud Environment (e.g. – Amazon EC2):

      • Processor Licenses: When licensing Oracle in the Cloud environment, customers are required to count each virtual core as equivalent to a physical core
      • SE1 or SE: For any SE1 or SE product, the pricing is based on the size of the Amazon Cloud instances.
      • Example: EC2 instances with 4 virtual cores = every 4 virtual cores used (rounded up) = 1 socket.
      • NUP: Same rules apply, including minimums where applicable.
      • Oracle Database SE: Can only be licensed on EC2 instances up to 16 virtual cores (i.e. – 4 processors)
      • Oracle Database SE1: Can only be licensed on EC2 instances up to 8 virtual cores (i.e. – 2 processors)

      Licensing Example (Amazon EC2):
      • DB EE on a single EC2 instance of 8 virtual cores (Intel multicore chips) = 8 * 0.5 (Intel core factor) = 4 processor licenses (each virtual core is considered equivalent to a physical core)
      • EC2 instance with 4 virtual cores = 1 DB SE processor license
      • EC2 instance with 7 virtual cores = 2 DB SE processor licenses
      • NOTE for multiple instances: Each EC2 instance needs a license
      • EXAMPLE: One 4 virtual core EC2 instance and 4 single virtual core instances (total of 5 EC2 instances and 8 virtual cores) = 5 processor licenses required (i.e. – one processor license for each of the EC2 instances)

      Comment by Kyle Smida — July 20, 2012 @ 20:22 | Reply

    • Bill

      I forgot this information; for specific licensing requirements, refer to the following:

      • Licensing Oracle Software in the Cloud Computing Environment:

      Comment by Kyle Smida — July 20, 2012 @ 20:37 | Reply

    • The issue here is the difference of what is a Processor. AWS defines a Core (or vCPU) as a Hardware Hyperthread.

      “For M3, G2, CC2 and CR1 Instances, each vCPU is a hardware hyperthread from Intel Xeon E5-2670 processors”

      This is different to Oracle’s interpretation of a processor. Oracle doesn’t consider a Hardware Hyperthread a Core. The Xeon-E5-26xx has 8 cores and 16 threads. Oracle license at the core. There is a disconnect between AWS’s definition of a “core” and Oracle’s.

      If I was to license an EC2 envionment on AWS with 4 AWS vCPU for Oracle DB EE. I should only require the following:

      4 vCPU’s (AWS) = 4 Hardware Hyperthreads = 2 Cores * 0.5 (E5-26xx processor factor) = 1 DB Enterprise Edition Licenses.

      If AWS or Oracle require me to use two licenses, I’m devaluing my EE license by 50%.

      I’m saying there is a diconnect between the terminology used between AWS and Oracle.

      Oracle day the folloiwng: :”From an Oracle product licensing point of view, this means that each virtual
      processor is equivalent to a physical core, and the standard Oracle Processor metric definition

      I don’t dispute that, I just think that AWS’s definition of a “core” is not correct, as they are talking about Threads. P-Seris (p5, p6, p7). all have hyperthreads. Oracle ignores these and will still only licenses by core.

      Comment by Finnate — November 7, 2013 @ 05:11 | Reply

      • So to expand on this, Oracle’s Exadata Machine X3-2 used Intel Xeon E5-26xx chips. Oracle licenses it’s own machine by number of cores. eg. Cores * 0.5 processor factor (I know this becuase we own and have one licensed). Oracle doesn’t go to the hyperthread level on it’s own product, yet AWS what us to believe a hyperthread = a core?. Something is not right here.

        Comment by Finnate — November 7, 2013 @ 05:33

  31. Kyle

    Thanks for the response. I’m my situation, for a customer of mine we’re going to be hosting Oracle in a VMware environment. I’ve conferred with Oracle resellers on a Gold and Platinum level. What they told me would blow your mind! There is huge money to be made with this approach!


    Comment by Bill — July 27, 2012 @ 10:38 | Reply

  32. Hi,

    I have a query on Oracle Licensing.

    We have a development database (located in US). Our front end application (development instance) connects to that database and performs task. In order to avoid the network bandwidth between Database Server in US and Application Server (which is in INDIA). we are planning to install a database in our development environment (INDIA).

    Just wanted to check with you how did the Oracle licensing works.
    Is it that Licensing comes as a component along with Oracle Database EE.
    Does it fetch licensing information from any of the network sources (preferably centralized
    Is it possible to fetch the license information of Database (In US) and use the same license
    information for the database in INDIA…?


    Comment by Ananth — August 15, 2012 @ 22:01 | Reply

  33. Hello All,

    I was hoping someone could help me understand if a Pentium Processor is considered 0.5 or 0.75 based on the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table?



    Comment by Jason — September 6, 2012 @ 02:08 | Reply

    • Jason

      Please provide more detailed processor information and the server specifications.

      Comment by kyle smida — September 6, 2012 @ 19:34 | Reply

  34. Hi Neeraj,

    licensing on Pre-VM given by Oracle.

    1. Can we use VM for testing and development in our organization, without any problem from Oracle.
    2. Can we modify according to our requirement lets say, they gave SOA-BPM, i configured UCM of the VM and purely for testing & learning only in my organization.

    Oracle mentioned in their licensing policies for Test env. only. But, still I have above doubts I could not find. Please help me with above questions.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Comment by laxmipathi — September 17, 2012 @ 16:09 | Reply

    • Laxmipathi

      You may use VM on any server and in any environment but if you are using VMWare you must license the entire server and if the server is part of a cluster you must fully license all of the servers in the cluster.

      Oracle classifies VMWare as a soft partitioning technology, and is not permitted as a means to determine or limit the number of software licenses required. This means that all processors on a server where the Oracle product is installed must be licensed. Additionally, when servers are clustered the entire cluster must be fully licensed.

      Comment by Kyle Smida — January 24, 2013 @ 22:14 | Reply

  35. Hello Everyone!

    Looking for some guidance: When looking at Named User Plus minimum licensing rules, ( – where it states “10 Named Users Plus per Processor” – are they referring to a Physical Processor or “Processor” as defined by their calculation of (cores of the processor * core processor licensing factor).

    I’m trying to figure out if you use Named User Plus licensing if you use the same calculation for processors as if you were using Processor licensing, or if you just use physical processors.

    Oracle doesn’t make this easy, that’s for sure.

    Comment by Jonathan — September 17, 2012 @ 20:58 | Reply

    • Jonathan — Oracle licensing is based on the type of processor you have (SPARC, x86) and the type of license you want to buy (named user, named user plus, or processor). There is a metric 0.5 or 0.75 that is used to calculate the number of licenses you will need to cover the number of processor cores you have. Use the 0.75 metric for SPARC processors and 0.5 for x86. I would advise you to contact your Oracle sales rep to determine the licenses to be sure.

      Comment by Tom — November 20, 2012 @ 06:24 | Reply

    • Jonathon

      Named User Plus (NUP) is 25 NUP per Processor. An old metric Named User (NU) was 10 NU per Processor. It is important to be clear on which one you own when applying your license entitlement to your servers.

      Feel free to send me your server specifications and I can do the calculation for you. You should verify the core-factor for your chip because SPARC can be wither .5 or .75 depending on which version.

      Here is the link to the Oracle Core-Factor table to research your chip:

      Here is a link to the Oracle Software Investment Guide (SIG).

      You will find good information here to start but always ask you Oracle sales rep or contact Oracle License Management Services (LMS) for free advice.

      Finally here is a definition of Processor. The calculation for determining the # of processors to license on a server is: total cores * core-factor = Procs to license.

      Processor Metric

      This metric is mostly used in environments where the software users cannot be easily identified or counted, such as internet-based applications. The Processor metric is also used when it is more cost effective than Named User Plus licenses. All processors where the Oracle programs are installed and/or running must be licensed.

      The number of required licenses shall be determined by multiplying the total number of cores of the processor by a core processor licensing factor specified on the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table which can be accessed at All cores on all multicore chips for each licensed
      program are to be aggregated before multiplying by the appropriate core processor licensing factor and all fractions of a number are to be rounded up to the next whole number. 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.

      For example, a multicore chip based server with an Oracle Processor Core Factor of 0.25 installed and/or running the program (other than Standard Edition One programs or Standard Edition programs) on 6 cores would require 2 processor licenses (6 multiplied by a core processor licensing factor of .25 equals 1.50, which is then rounded up to the next whole number, which is 2). As another example, a
      multicore server for a hardware platform not specified in the Oracle Processor Core Factor Table installed and/or running the program on 10 cores would require 10 processor licenses (10 multiplied by a core processor licensing factor of 1.0 for ‘All other multicore chips’ equals 10).

      Comment by Kyle Smida — January 24, 2013 @ 22:09 | Reply

  36. I have a question on named user licenses vs. database instances on a single server — we have a single physical test server with 75 named user plus licenses and have three databases (all three run from one oracle_home). Can each database use up to 75 named user licenses or must these licenses be shared between all three databases (i.e. 25 max licenses each)?

    Comment by Tom — November 20, 2012 @ 06:29 | Reply

    • You want to license the server minimums or the actual distinct users accessing the servers from the front-end. For example, If the server is a 2 Proc box it would require 25 Named User Plus (NUP) or per Processor or 50 NUP. If the users is over the minimum, lets say 75 then you license 75 NUP.

      Licensing is based on the servers specifications and total users accessing it and not how many instances are on each server.

      Also can you confirm if the license is the older metric Named User (NU) or is it Named User Plus (NUP). The minimums per processor for NU may be 10 while NUP is 25. It is important to know the difference. Can you also share the server specifications and I can tell you the minimums?

      Comment by Kyle Smida — January 24, 2013 @ 21:51 | Reply

  37. Hi Neeraj. I just have one question: do you know if there is any restriction for a company in which it is obligated to buy oracle standard edition instead of oracle standard edition one???

    Comment by Julio Guillen — December 29, 2012 @ 22:41 | Reply

    • Julio

      Yes & No. Yes you may be restricted if your company is already under an Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) with an Oracle Partner or Oracle for a specific database license and version. I.E. ULA covers unlimited Oracle DB Enterprise Edition but does not cover SE or SE1.

      Even with a ULA you may still buy products not included in the ULA but you do not get the pricing deal you get under a ULA. You may buy whatever version suits your needs however remember there are restrictions on the version you choose:

      * If you wish to deploy SE1 over SE on a server it may not exceed 2 sockets. SE is 4 sockets.

      * With SE1 and SE you also may not use tools and options like Partitioning, Tuning or Diagnostics. SE does come with RAC.

      Comment by Kyle Smida — January 24, 2013 @ 21:45 | Reply

  38. Hi,

    I have a query regarding Oracle Standard Edition 11.2v 64 bit on clustering. We are planning to implement clustering using windows 2008 Enterprise R2. My query is do we need to buy license for oracle which will be installed on the secondary node in cluster. We are buying 10 named users license in the above edition.

    Comment by andy — January 10, 2013 @ 10:13 | Reply

    • I assume you have one server and will be adding one more and clustering them.


      Will you be using any Oracle tools or options? SE only comes with RAC. If you use anything else other than RAC then you must then use Enterprise Edition.

      What are you using for clustering? Is it VMWare?

      Oracle Database Standard Edition can only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 4 sockets.

      • If licensing by Named User Plus, the minimum is 5 Named User Plus licenses or whatever the actual total number of distinct users accessing both servers in the cluster from whatever the front end is. If it is internet facing then you may need to consider a Processor license.

      • Oracle DatabaseStandard Edition, when used with Oracle Real Application Clusters, may only be licensed on a single cluster of servers supporting up to a total maximum capacity of 4 sockets. With RAC you total all the sockets in the RAC cluster and if exceeds 4 sockets you cannot use SE.

      • However if clustering with VMWare then we do not add up all the sockets in the cluster but no single server in the cluster can exceed 4 sockets.

      Comment by Kyle Smida — January 24, 2013 @ 22:25 | Reply

  39. *** Development Environments must also be licensed!!!*****
    The rule is simple, if it is installed and it is running, it must be licensed.

    When you download software from OTN, you can use it non-productively – but there is a very clear clause that restricts the usage for up to 30 days. So there is a misconception that you can “develop” for free on Oracle. Developing is production use. OTN only allows you to evaluate the software for up to 30 days.

    Another point you forgot to mention is Stand-By database – they must also be licensed in full.

    Comment by TheExpet — January 23, 2013 @ 04:50 | Reply

    • Regarding licensing the Stand-By databases. Oracle separates Disaster Recovery into 4 categories and has specific definitions of each. Each option has licensing implications and the only DR option that usually does not requiring a license is “Back-Up.”

      1) Back-up
      2) Stand-By
      3) Failover
      4) Remote Mirroring

      You can find the definitions and other information here at this link:

      The Oracle definition of backup is:

      Backup: In this method, a copy of the physical database structures of the database is made. When the original data is lost, the backup files can be used to reconstruct the lost information that constitutes the Oracle Database. This backup copy includes important parts of the database’s physical structures such as control files, redo logs and data files. These physical files can be stored on a server, storage array, disk drive, or Compact Disc.

      Comment by Kyle Smida — January 24, 2013 @ 21:36 | Reply

  40. Can you please elaborate?

    Comment by neerajbhatia — January 29, 2013 @ 16:45 | Reply

  41. One Q: when licensing Oracle EE under Named User Plus, is the minimum User count calculated from sockets, processors or cores?

    Say I have a 2-socket machine with 2 Intel Xeon’s with 8 cores each (

    Is it

    a) 2 x 25 = 50 users minimum or
    b) 2 x 8 x 0.5 x 25 = 200 users minimum


    Comment by Tobias Oberstein — February 7, 2013 @ 00:22 | Reply

    • To determine the total number of processor licenses required when counting multi-core chips, the total number of processors (chips) in the server should be multiplied by the number of cores then multiplied by the Processor Factor. (Processor Licenses Required = # CPU * # CORE* Processor factor)
      Processor Factor is a multiplier used to determine the total number of processor license required when counting multi-core chips.

      The answer is b) 16 total cores times .5 core factor is 8. 8 times 25 NUP minimum is 200 NUP required for that server as a minimum.

      Comment by kyle smida — February 14, 2013 @ 21:42 | Reply

      • Thanks for clarifying!

        Comment by Tobias Oberstein — February 14, 2013 @ 21:49

      • Hi, I have been trying to find Oracle documentation that defines whether or not the core factor is taken into consideration when calculating Named User Plus Licenses. I can’t find it anywhere. Can anyone point me to a an Oracle Document stating this? Thanks in advance…Dan

        Comment by Dan Donovan — June 1, 2013 @ 01:30

      • Hi,

        for the post bewlow: licensing and user minimums are described in the Oracle Software Investment Guide – search for this and you will find it. The core factor comes only into account when we speak about DB Enterprise Edition. And then it is also important for the user minimums.

        Example: 1 server 2 Intel CPU with 4 cores each (Oracle Corefactor is 0.5 in this case):

        2 CPU * 4 Cores = 8 Cores * 0.5 Core Factor = 4 Processor Licenses required or 4 * 25 Named User Plus (25 per Proc is minimum) = 100 Named User Plus Licenses

        so you either buy 4 Processor Licenses or 100 Named User Plus licenses if you can count an name all users, machines, sensors or whatever (they are all users) and the total number is up to 100. if you have a webbased application where you can not really count the users you have to license by processor anyway.


        Comment by IP — August 9, 2013 @ 14:31

  42. All references for running Oracle Data Base in the cloud are for AWS EC2 – How do you license an Oracle Data Base with other Public Cloud Service Providers with a VMware infratructure?

    Comment by Bill — February 12, 2013 @ 22:17 | Reply

  43. Whatever really moved u to create “Understanding Oracle
    Database Licensing Policies | Neeraj Bhatia’s Blog” fueldistributorlouisiana ? Iabsolutely enjoyed the post! Many thanks ,Bette

    Comment by Madelaine — March 1, 2013 @ 06:28 | Reply

  44. Hi, I have a question. I will have to implement an infrastucture for providing DBaaS. As i have researched i have to License Oracle Enterprise Database, and oracle enterprise manager 12c cloud management. Do you have any information how should i license the Oracle database in order to procvide database schemmas for our clients as a service?

    Comment by Nezri — March 8, 2013 @ 19:27 | Reply

  45. Dear Neeraj, Your guidance is very useful. I have a query. I am planning to buy Oracle ebs with 50 users. I am going to customize. If I buy 50 NUP for data base is enough or do I have to buy core based licenses. My application will run on 4 core server – Intel processor.

    Comment by Kali — April 14, 2013 @ 15:36 | Reply

  46. Your e-commerce business is growing fast. You currently have the Standard Edition of Oracle 11gR2 on your server. Your server is having trouble with servicing more than five customers at a time. Write a recommendation letter describing a solution to this problem. Using the configuration shown in Table 4-2 (page 67) to calculate the increase in the licensing cost your solution would entail. If you change the hardware, what would you change?

    Comment by Michael — April 17, 2013 @ 19:11 | Reply

  47. What is your recommendation to improve servicing more than 5 customers at a time if I have Oracle Standard Licensing Cost for a Low-End Configuration consisting of four Dell PowerEdge 2900 III servers, each with two 2.5 GHz Intel Xeon E5420 4 core CPUs. Would increasing the licensing, or hardware, or both?

    Comment by Michael — April 17, 2013 @ 19:24 | Reply

  48. How to i install database license, please assist.

    Comment by Thomas — May 10, 2013 @ 16:56 | Reply

  49. hi, we have production license for oracle 10g, can we use test server for same license. please advice.

    Comment by senthilkumar — May 24, 2013 @ 19:09 | Reply

    • Hi,

      every environment has to be licensed. Prod, Test, Desaster Recovery and so on. Simple rule: wherever an Oracle Database is installed it has to be licensed. Exception only in desaster recovery environment if it qualifies as “Failover” from Oracle point of view: applies when a number of machines are arranged in a cluster and share one disk array. Once the primary node is repaired, you must switch back to the primary node. Only one failover node per clustered environment is at no charge for up to ten separate days even if multiple nodes are configured as failover nodes.


      Comment by IP — August 9, 2013 @ 14:21 | Reply

  50. Hi Neeraj,
    I have a query regarding the Oracle Licensee name…….recently we had purchased Oracle Standard One (5 user) software which was supposed to be given to one of our customers as part of project implementation (we are not any dealer or distributor for Software/hardware sales). But by mistake the Licensee name was given my company name instead of the customer company name.

    My concern regarding this is, Is it possible to change the Licensee name from our company to the customer name as we won’t be using it for any reason. If yes, what is the procedure or any additional charges to be paid to change the name…etc.

    Thanks in advance
    With Regards

    Comment by Sachin — July 31, 2013 @ 16:47 | Reply

    • Hi,

      allow me to answer as I came across this website and maybe know one or two things about Oracle licensing.

      If you are not a registered Oracle reseller you can not resell Oracle licenses or buy licenses for a third party nor give them away as a present so to speak. As you bought the licenses they are yours. The end customer therefore holds no licenses. Changing the name of the license owner is highly complicated from Oracle point of view and only possible if a company is acquired by another company or part of a company sold or the legal name changed. Something like that.

      In any way get in contact with your Oracle sales person and see what they say. Maybe they find a way or get special approval to do what you want but its highly unlikely.


      Comment by IP — August 9, 2013 @ 14:06 | Reply

  51. Hi Neeraj,
    I have a query regarding component/option licenses for Oracle Database Enterprise. if components are installed but are not and have never been used is licensing required for these components? Or is licensing only required for components that have been or are being used?

    Comment by LP — August 6, 2013 @ 09:09 | Reply

    • Hi,

      with components you mean DB Options or Management Packs, correct? In general I would recommend to not install anything if you dont use it 😉 Anyway from licensing point of view: lets say Oracle will audit your company, then Oracle will see which software is enabled (installed and ready to be used) but Oracle also will see which software is in use – enabled and in use are not the same. So lets say you have Partitioning installed but you tell Oracle you have not used it and Oracle cant find any indication in their reports that you actually used it, then they will not charge you for it. But if someone in your company used it in the past then Oracle will see it in their report and they will make you pay even though you might be under the impression you never used it.


      Comment by IP — August 9, 2013 @ 14:53 | Reply

  52. Hi Experts,

    I have a scenario to discuss. My company had purchased 100 Named User Plus License for Oracle Database 11g Standard Edition and 30 Named User Plus licenses for Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition. Can you please suggest the maximum number of processors i can use in my server for installation ? If I have to buy two separate servers for both of the versions or can I install both the database on single server ?

    Thanks in advance,


    Comment by RS — August 28, 2013 @ 15:27 | Reply

  53. Hi,

    May I know the meaning/understanding of socket in the oracle?

    Oracle Standard Edition costs about the same as Microsoft SQL Server. It can only be licensed on servers, or server clusters, that have a maximum capacity of 4 processor sockets.
    Oracle Standard Edition One is less expensive than SQL Server. It may only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 2 processor sockets.

    thanks. 🙂

    Comment by Jacky — October 1, 2013 @ 15:15 | Reply

    • Socket = Physical place on the motherboard of a system where you install processor (CPU).

      Standard Edition ODB can only be licensed on a system with maximum capacity of 4 socket. It means that a system that can have maximum of processors (CPUs).

      Same as SE ODB can be licensed with a server with maximum capacity of 2 processors (CPUs).

      Be it any CPU with any number of cores.

      Hope it helps.


      Comment by Rocky — October 1, 2013 @ 21:13 | Reply

  54. regarding development environments –
    look under development environment.

    if it’s just you and you install it on your PC, for you and you only, then go with the OTN licence.
    if you bung it on the dev server for the rest of the dev team to connect to. need a full licence.

    Comment by Fred — October 18, 2013 @ 18:33 | Reply

  55. What happen if you detect that Options (Diagnostic and Tuning Pack) are being used on Standard Edition?
    Do we have to purchase Enterprise Edition or can we simply disabled these options?
    Or penalty fees apply?


    Comment by Steve — February 13, 2014 @ 17:52 | Reply

    • As far as I am aware you cannot run these options on SE so you have inadvertently installed EE and should have a license for EE. If Oracle runs an audit they can charge backdated support. When I worked for Oracle in licensing I charged one customer 3 years backdated support.

      Comment by Andy — January 31, 2015 @ 01:37 | Reply

  56. […] Understanding Oracle Database Licensing Policies […]

    Pingback by Oracle DataBase licensing Options and queries | Govardhan Gunnala — March 25, 2014 @ 19:31 | Reply

  57. Hi,
    I work for a software development company who design and develop bespoke software to sell on to our customer who use it for production. We are currently using the free Express version and based on conversations with Oracle, it seems like this is fine (but then again, you never seem to get a straight Yes/No answer from them). Do you agree that the Express version is fine for us to use. (we don’t use the software for manufacturing/production purposes).
    I should also add that we are an Oracle partner and purchase licences on behalf of some of our customers.
    Many Thanks

    Comment by Stephen — July 15, 2014 @ 15:22 | Reply

  58. hi,

    May i know what are the chargeable view’s for SE1 license.

    Comment by vinat — July 29, 2014 @ 15:36 | Reply

  59. Good day am Tobi

    Am a business intelligence expert. I just want to confirm this.. Can I use the same licence for Oracle DB for ODI, OWB and OBIEE? Many thanks.

    Comment by Oluwatobi Adewale — August 1, 2014 @ 16:22 | Reply

    • Yes, if you are underpiining any Oracle Apps with Oracle DB licenses they can be used across the board….

      Comment by Andy — February 22, 2015 @ 06:54 | Reply

  60. Hi Neeraj,
    I found the article very clear but reading that you believe Oracle licensing is straightforward for virtualisation, would be interested in your views or experiences on this, which I assume to be a fairly normal situation, but it is exactly stated in my opinion. Oracle has a partitioning policy (see ref) that recognises Solaris 10 or 11 (capped) Containers as hard partitions for Oracle database licensing purposes, however it does not say what the policy is for non-capped Containers, ( which are therefore viewed as Soft Partitions)
    A statement in the partitioning policy is: “Soft partitioning is not permitted as a means to determine or limit the number of software licenses required for any given server”. It actually states that soft partitions are not permitted as a means to determine the number for a server (not – for a container) . Therefore would it be correct to understand licensing all the physical CPUs in the server (Full Use), allows to install Oracle in as many Solaris Containers as can be installed on the server in principle (8192)? And if so can I use resource controls that do not partition or limit the number of CPU cores for them (such as the capped-cpu quantity or fair share scheduling shares)?
    (This seems equivalent to licensing VMs in VMware, and for VMware, I had been advised that is the case ,only physical CPUs need to be licensed and only once for multiple VMs). (provided the ESX cluster is fully licensed). If it’s not the case, where does the policy differentiate them)?
    Oracle Partitioning Policy :

    Comment by Harvey — September 22, 2014 @ 17:36 | Reply

  61. Hi
    I have Intel Xeon M5 2X 2650 8core ?

    how many license should i buy?

    thank you

    Comment by zaid — November 2, 2014 @ 18:51 | Reply

    • Xeon processors have a core factor of 0.5, so for every Xeon processor that has 8 cores you will need either 4 processor Oracle Database EE or 100 NUP Oracle Database EE – 1 x 8 x 0.5 = 4 processor or 1 x 0.5 x 8 x 25 = 100 NUP

      Comment by Andy — January 31, 2015 @ 01:28 | Reply

  62. thank you for a great article and blog – being useful to many of us for so many years! Can you explain also how the licencing matters change with Oracle VM, as being their own VM, it should be more interesting to the clients.

    Comment by Sonja — November 11, 2014 @ 19:08 | Reply

    • For approved Oracle Engineered Systems, Oracle permits the use of Oracle VM Server (OVM) as a means to limit the number of Oracle Processor licenses required, i.e., to license a sub-capacity of total physical cores. Oracle’s Trusted Partitions policy also requires use of Oracle Enterprise Manager – if both of these conditions are met, the partition is deemed a ‘Trusted Partition.’ For virtual machines to participate under Oracle Trusted Partition based licensing, they need to
      be monitored by Oracle Enterprise Manager (also known as 12c Release 2) or later. This means that the Enterprise Manager agent should be deployed on the guest
      operating system running on those VMs. The Enterprise Manager can be configured to run in either connected or disconnected mode.
      1) Connected mode: In Connected mode, Enterprise Manager will be connected to My Oracle Support. Enterprise Manager would report on usage locally and also upload to My Oracle Support (requires a current Oracle support contract and valid CSI number).
      2) Disconnected mode: In disconnected mode, there is no Internet connectivity. Enterprise Manager would run locally and customers are required to run collections quarterly and maintain a backup of the report. Such reports must be maintained for at least two (2) years, and reports must be provided to Oracle upon request.

      Comment by Andy — January 31, 2015 @ 01:35 | Reply

  63. Hi,

    thanks for the great article.

    just have one question If I am running a SPARC machine(T5-8) with Hard partitioning(solaris Containers). The physical server has 8 processors with 8 cores per socket. Can I run Oracle Database Standard edition on this server within Oracle Solaris Container only allowing the zone to use 4 of the physical sockets(32 cores)..

    Thanks in advance

    Comment by Warren Ridley — January 15, 2015 @ 00:26 | Reply

    • No you cannot. To run SE the server can physically only have a maximum of 4 sockets…. this excludes any larger servers even if you do partition them. This is an issue I find quite often at customer sites when I am helping them with their licensing. It is a bit of a trap that customers fall into….

      Comment by Andy — February 22, 2015 @ 06:51 | Reply

  64. This is a detailed and great writeup, but still quite complex for some of us. I would love it, if you could add up some examples of some standard Tower servers of LENOVO and IBM , for reference sake

    Comment by Sangeet Kr Gupta — November 26, 2015 @ 18:52 | Reply

  65. Remember that Oracle no longer sells SE or SE1. Only SE2 which has a restriction of 2 sockets, so if you are running SE on a 4 socket server support will end in 2016 and then you have a problem, upgrade to EE or shrink your server when your license transfers from SE to SE2…

    Comment by Andy — December 22, 2015 @ 07:17 | Reply

  66. Hello to all Oracle expert!

    I have Oracle Standard Edition NUP Perpetual 15 license. My question, if i installed Oracle in one server and only have one instance:

    1. So i must have maximum 15 user create in that database?

    2. 15 user equal to 15 people connect to database?

    Please help me. Thanks.

    Comment by ondeq — October 19, 2016 @ 09:38 | Reply

  67. Thanks for a good article. I created this simple infographic about Oracle Licensing by processor, which you can find here:

    Comment by Richard Chambers — November 16, 2016 @ 16:39 | Reply

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