Sun and Oracle TPC Price/Performance Tactics Revealed
Sun and Oracle have a TPC-C benchmark result that delivers 7,646,486 tpmC with a price performance of $2.36 USD/tpmC*. Here are a couple of things about that result (and other recent results from Oracle) that you may not be aware of:
- The Oracle benchmark result does not use perpetual software licenses
- The Oracle benchmark result uses a Web-based incident support contract
Oracle are comparing their result to the IBM TPC-C result with $2.81 USD/tpmC**. However, this may not be an apples-to-apples comparison because the IBM result includes pricing for 24×7 support, upgrade protection, and perpetual licenses; the Oracle result does not include any of these features. If you include 24×7 support, upgrade protection, and perpetual licensing, you’ll find that the prices most customers will pay are significantly different than what Oracle includes in the benchmark. Let’s see why this is so…
When Oracle prepares TPC-C benchmark results, they typically use a special license called the Oracle Term License (denoted by the ‘Unlimited Users for 3 Years’ text below):
The Oracle Term License is not a perpetual license, like the software license that organizations typically purchase. Instead, it is like a lease. This term license for three years costs 45% less than a perpetual license. After the three year period, you no longer own the right to use the software. At that stage, to keep using the software, you either have to purchase the software license for an additional term or purchase a perpetual license. To truely compare this result with TPC-C results that use perpetual licenses, like the IBM results, you need to do some math with the Oracle Database license costs.
When it comes to support, things get a little more interesting. First of all, you should note that the cost of support for a term license is the same as the cost of support for a perpetual license. If you have a look at the Oracle Web site and do some math, the costs for support work out to be more than 40% of the term license cost. But, support costs for this benchmark are not more than 40% of the software license costs. They are actually a little more than 1% of the software license costs.
You see, for this benchmark and many others, Oracle uses something called the Oracle Incident Server Support Package (OISP). The OISP is a support package that has no telephone support. Instead, it allows you up to 10 Web-based incident requests per server (that expire within one year). What’s more, OISP has no upgrade protection and does not entitle you to future upgrades of the Oracle Database software. The cost of the OISP is $2,300 per server, which is why you see the cost of Oracle support for this benchmark at $82,800 (12 nodes in the cluster for 3 years of support). This represents a little more than 1% of the costs of the term license costs.
As you can see, Oracle manage to significantly improve their price performance result by using term licenses and by using a limited support offering. In the event that you do not use term licenses or this limited support offering, you will need to do additional work to see what the systems would cost for you, or to compare the Oracle results with other TPC-C results.
All TPC results available on the Transaction Processing Performance Council Web site at http://www.tpc.org.
* 12-Node Sun SPARC Enteprise T5440 server cluster; 7,646,486 tmpC; $2.36/tpmC; available 03/19/10.
** IBM Power 595 Server Model 9119-FHA; 6,085,166 tpmC; $2.81/tpmC; available 12/10/08.