Oracle pricing in Azure – who’s the target market?

 

Overnight, Microsoft released the General Availability pricing for Oracle software provided inside Windows Azure virtual machines.  For those not familiar with Oracle’s licensing rules, traditionally its been infamous for being very un-friendly in virtual and cloud environments.  As a result, I imagine the number of Oracle deployments in virtual let alone cloud worlds has been significantly lower than its competitors, most significantly Microsoft.

 

Initial public pricing

The table below is a quick summary of the current Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle Database Server software licensing costs when you buy your licensing from within the Windows Azure:

 

Msft Std

Oracle Std

Msft Ent

Oracle Ent

Cores

       

1

304

209

1037

559

2

346

417

1080

1113

4

431

607

1165

2226

 

 

A few initial observations and thoughts

When I compared Microsoft SQL Server’s pricing next to Oracle’s,  a few things jumped out at me straight away:

  • Oracle are keen to get into the small footprint database server market – being roughly 30-50% cheaper than SQL Server for a 1 core VM is an interesting move
  • Microsoft are keen to get larger VMs running SQL Server enterprise edition in Azure – the price differences are almost minimal between the 1 and 4 core VM options
  • Even in the cloud, the cost of Oracle’s enterprise edition has never been an issue for its target market.  What I mean by that is that application systems that use the enterprise edition of Oracle’s database server software are so large the cost of the database server software becomes less of a competitive component.
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