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"We are in the process of creating a software investment guide that talks about all of our licensing policies. There is not enough information out there," said Jacqueline Woods, Oracle's vice-president in charge of pricing in a session at OracleWorld in Copenhagen.
The guide is due out late July or early August, but does not represent a change in licensing policy, Woods told delegates at the conference. Oracle's processor-based pricing model, announced in June last year, has many users wondering what they need to pay, especially when Oracle's software is used in a segmented system or in a cluster, a set up Oracle has widely promoted.
Delegates questioned Woods about Oracle's pricing policy on backup, standby, and failover machines, both standalone and connected in a cluster. Users also asked about pricing with software-based segmenting and processor resource assignment.
In all instances a user would have to pay full price, Woods said. The enterprise edition of Oracle's 9i database costs $40,000 (£26,600) per processor.
"Under our existing policy you would have to pay for all processors, unless you physically segment the CPU. It is something we are looking at and we are aware of customer questions," she said.
Users have to "disconnect" the machine "completely" if they do not want to pay, Woods said. This was not the answer some in the audience were looking for.
"I would not be able to convince my company to pay fully for two machines if one of them is only meant as a backup," said one attendee.
An IT manager for a large European telecoms company asked if he could run the standard edition of the Oracle 9i database on a machine that is designed for six processors, but only has one. The standard edition costs $15,000 (£10,000) per processor with a maximum of four CPUs allowed.
"No," said Woods, noting that there is always the risk of licence abuse. "But this question has come up before and I will go talk to Larry [Ellison, Oracle's chief executive] about that," she added.
Systems available from Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard allow users partition processors physically, so that users only pay for the actual number of CPUs used, Woods said.
Oracle's processor-based model replaced the heavily criticised power unit pricing in June last year.