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I'm confused by Oracle's licensing for their Standard Edition.

My understanding is that licensing for the Standard Edition is determined by the number or physical processors (actual chips, not cores) available in the host machine. For example if I have a host box with 8 processors and I have 4 virtual machines running on it, Oracle's documentation says that each of those processors counts toward the license total regardless of how many are allocated to the virtual machine running the database.

The part that confuses me is that Standard Edition is limited to 4 processors. Does this mean that I'd have to pay for 4 processor licenses, 8 processor licenses, or not be allowed to install Oracle Standard on such a box because it has too many processors?

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closed as off-topic by Justin Cave, Phil, Mark Storey-Smith, Max Vernon, Paul White Oct 2 '13 at 1:02

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If you want a proper answer, you should go to and click Live Sales Chat. – Bill Karwin Oct 1 '13 at 20:34
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about licensing. – Justin Cave Oct 1 '13 at 20:49
Actually no. The question is about process and basically the answer is "read the relevant licensing documents". The OP - per headline - does not ask for the solution but for the way to find it out. Obviously he knows asking for the solution is off topic here. – TomTom Oct 1 '13 at 21:30
You are not allowed to install Standard Edition on such box. Actually you are even not allowed to install Standard Edition on the server which has 8 sockets but only 4 CPUs installed. – Mindaugas Riauba Oct 2 '13 at 4:36

I am not a licensing expert but from my understanding licensing for the enterprise edition is based on the physical core on the server for both Microsofts hyper V and VMware. So if you have a dual core you need one licence, for a quad core it's two licences.

The only exception is to use oracles virtual box were you assign core affinity between the vm core and the underlying processor.

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I believe this is going to be closed as off topic because it is a licensing question.

In general, Oracle licenses based on processors * cores * core factor multiplier where the core factor multiplier depends on the physical hardware. If we're talking about, say, an Intel-based server (with a multiplier of 0.5 if memory serves) with 8 quad-core chips, that would require 8 * 4 * 0.5 = 16 processor licenses.

There are additional restrictions, though, on what size servers you can run standard edition on. That's something that I don't recall off the top of my head but last I looked was related to the number of physical sockets in the box (whether or not those sockets have a chip in them). If your box has too many sockets, you can't use the standard edition.

Whether or not you need to count all the processors or whether you can just count the number of processors available to the VM depends on exactly what VM technology you are using. Oracle's licensing rules get rather complicated when we start talking about what Oracle recognizes as soft vs. hard partitioning.

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You are talking about Enterprise Edition here. Standard Edition and Standard Edition One are licensed per socket not counting cores. – Mindaugas Riauba Oct 2 '13 at 4:38

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