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1 Navigating the Enterprise Database Selection Process: A Comparison of RDMS Acquisition Costs Abstract Companies considering a new enterprise-level database system must navigate a number of variables which can add significant costs to their acquisition. To assist organizations in the decision process, Microsoft commissioned an independent thirdparty consultant, Value Prism Consulting, to conduct a transparent, realistic comparison of the licensing costs of the three leading enterprise relational database management systems: Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle 10g, and IBM DB2. This paper presents a summary of the differences in base licensing costs in addition to the costs of optional add-on products, the impact of different vendor approaches to licensing multicore processors and alternative operating systems. January

2 Value Prism Consulting, LLC. believes the statements contained in this publication are based on accurate and reliable information. However, because our information is provided from various sources, including third parties, we cannot warrant that this publication is complete and error-free. This white paper is for informational purposes only. Value Prism Consulting makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document. This publication was prepared by Value Prism Consulting for use by our clients. Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Value Prism Consulting. For more information, contact Value Prism Consulting, LLC., 600 Galleria Parkway, Suite 150, Atlanta GA Phone: Fax: Value Prism Consulting, LLC. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. 2

3 Table of Contents Executive Summary...4 Introduction...6 Enterprise Database Considerations...8 Database Software Acquisition Costs...8 Add-ons...8 Multicore processors...11 Operating Systems...13 Conclusion...15 Appendix- Methodology...16 Comparative Pricing Data...16 Add-ons...16 Operating Systems

4 Executive Summary Companies acquiring an enterprise-level database system face an increasing number of complex variables in their decision-making process. To provide organizations with clear data points to aid in their decision making, Microsoft commissioned an independent third-party consultant, Value Prism Consulting, to conduct a transparent, realistic comparison of the licensing costs of the three leading enterprise relational database management systems: Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle 10g, and IBM DB2 on two leading server operating systems, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This paper presents a summary of the differences in base licensing costs and the costs of optional add-on products offered by each vendor to bring full functionality to each enterprise database system. Multicore processors are increasingly available in low-cost server computers, offering increased performance. The major database software vendors have divergent policies on how multicore processors are treated for licensing purposes with significant potential cost implications. Therefore, this paper also describes Figure 1. All prices are per processor for retail purchases within the United vendor differences in States. multicore license policies and provides a simple example of how these policy differences translate into dollars. This analysis will provide the costs of acquisition for these database products along with the cost of two popular operating system platforms: Microsoft Windows Server and Red Hat Linux. The Bottom Line. While all three database vendors claim rich functionality in their base Enterprise edition, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 includes the highest level of functionality in the base product. Figure 1 illustrates the difference in per-processor license costs to acquire the full-featured versions of the enterprise database 4

5 systems. The SQL Server 2005 base cost of U.S.$25,000 is fully inclusive of key functionality. To get all the optional add-ons needed to enjoy the benefits of full functionality, the Oracle 10g per-processor licensing fee pushes to $252,000, and the DB2 license increases to $164,000. The differences in multicore licensing policies result in doubling the price of Oracle 10g and its add-ons when running on a dualcore processor, and DB2 costs double on a dual-core Power5 processor. Table 1 represents the cost of adding functionality to the database products with the check mark illustrating where the full functionality is included in the base product and how this cost is impacted by multicore licensing policies. Functionality SQL Server 2005 Oracle 10g DB2 Base Cost $25,000 $40,000 $25,000 Management Tools! +$16,000 +$10,000 Business Intelligence! +$60,000 +$119,000 Security! +$10,000! High Availability! +$126,000 +$10,000 Total Per Processor $25,000 $252,000 $164,000 Additional cost for second core on No additional cost $252,000 $164,000 dual-core processor Total Cost For Dual Core Processor $25,000 $504,000 $328,000 Table 1. A comparison of the database functionality that is included with the product or provided at additional cost. All prices are per processor and reflect retail pricing within the United States in U.S. Dollars. An additional consideration is the operating platform. The license and software assurance cost of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition operating system adds $1,550 while Red Hat s Linux AS Enterprise Edition annual subscription cost is $2,500. 5

6 Introduction An enterprise-level database solution is a significant investment. In addition to the database, any add-on software, and the operating system, the acquisition decision often includes new hardware. Next, the solution must be installed and integrated with existing systems and data. A full Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis would consider the upfront and ongoing costs of the alternative solutions. This paper will focus on one component of the decision process the software acquisition costs. Within this category there are several considerations that will be addressed. Companies considering an enterprise-level database solution are faced with an increasing array of variables to consider in their decision making process. Complex vendor specific pricing and licensing models make simple acquisition cost comparisons far from simple. Some database products may seem relatively inexpensive on the surface but the claimed functionality is provided at such a rudimentary level that expensive optional add-ons are required to meet the customer s functional requirements. Hardware advances are making an increasingly larger impact on the cost of database licensing. The multicore processor is being introduced into relatively low cost servers offering users higher processing capabilities per hardware dollar. Unfortunately, software vendor licensing requirements vary considerably and can make an order of magnitude difference in costs. With these issues in mind, Microsoft commissioned an independent third party consultant, Value Prism Consulting, to create a comparative fact base illustrating how the licensing costs of the three leading enterprise relational database 6

7 management systems: Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Oracle 10g, and IBM DB2 are impacted by factors such as single vs. multicore processors, add-ons and operating system platform. This study elected to analyze a set of nonmainframe database software and operating system vendors based upon their strong market share positions. The three database vendors reviewed; Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM, accounted for almost 90 percent of the new nonmainframe license revenue in (See Figure 2). Specifically, Figure 2. Non-database market share based on new license revenue this study addresses the enterprise editions of Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Oracle 10g, and IBM DB2. The Operating System platforms of Microsoft Windows and Linux were selected due to their ubiquity in the non-mainframe server market. Red Hat was included as it is the number one Linux distributor. The specific operating system products included in this analysis are the enterprise editions of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Linux AS. 1 Gartner Group. Based on new license revenue, non-mainframe only. 7

8 Enterprise Database Considerations Database Software Acquisition Costs When making an enterprise-level database decision organizations often start by comparing the acquisition costs of the base database software The price ultimately paid depends on many variables unique to each purchaser, such as existing relationship, overall purchase volume, structure of the deal, bundling of hardware, software, and services and even timing of the purchase order; however, the software vendor s listed retail price is a good starting point for comparative purposes because it enables an apples to apples comparison. This is, of course, only the first of several software acquisition cost considerations. Based upon the retail perprocessor pricing data from the vendor websites in October/November 2005, the initial acquisition price of the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 enterprise edition is $25,000. IBM s DB2 enterprise edition also has a retail price of $25,000. Oracle s 10g enterprise edition database product retails for $40,000. (See Figure 3.) Figure 3. All prices are per processor for retail purchases within the United States. Add-ons The major database vendors typically offer their broadest feature set in the enterprise editions, however, not all standard functionality is created equal. While it is beyond the scope of this paper to provide a detailed feature by feature comparison of these database products, this analysis is meant to highlight the different approaches the vendor s are taking to package and price key functions and features. For a company considering a new database their evaluation should include a thorough analysis of their functional requirements and then determine which vendor can best meet these, including the impact of add-on modules if required. A customer s acquisition decision should take into account the price difference of 8

9 acquiring any optional add-on functionality as well as the additional cost of integrating and supporting add-on products with the database. A brief overview of the functions and features provided in four key areas of the database solutions follows: Management tools. An enterprise database solution should include tools to simplify the deployment, management and optimization of enterprise data and analytical data. Tools such as diagnostics, performance monitoring and tuning tools are included as standard features in Microsoft s SQL Server Oracle offers optional Diagnostics and Tuning Packs which must be purchased separately and at additional cost to achieve the same level of functionality. Business Intelligence. Enterprise database systems should provide rich business intelligence (BI) features such as scalability, online analytical processing (OLAP), data integration, enterprise reporting, data mining and analytics. Microsoft s SQL Server 2005 includes these features as standard. IBM s DB2 and Oracle s 10g both offer optional OLAP and business intelligence add-ons, at additional cost, to provide this functionality. As of November, 2005, IBM has discontinued the marketing of the DB2 OLAP Server add-on product 2. Previously, IBM had been marketing Hyperion s Essbase OEM OLAP product. Going forward, a purchaser wanting OLAP with DB2 will be required to seek out a third party OLAP solution and integrate this with DB2. Security. Enterprise database software now more than ever must have powerful security features such as network packet encryption, granularity in terms of specifying permissions in the authorization space, public key infrastructure and single sign-on support. These security capabilities are standard in SQL Server 2005 enterprise edition. Oracle offers an extra-cost Advanced Security add-on product providing these key security features. High Availability. High availability features such as database mirroring, failover clustering, database snapshots, log shipping, replication and enhanced online operations will minimize downtime and help to ensure that critical enterprise systems remain accessible. SQL Server 2005 includes these features as standard. Oracle 2 Additional reading regarding this development can be found at: 9

10 and IBM include high availability features in their enterprise database systems, however, they both require additional database licenses for the backup database instance. This effectively doubles the software license cost in order to take advantage of the high availability features. In contrast, Figure 4. All prices are per processor for retail purchases within the United States. Microsoft does not charge extra for SQL Server 2005 on a standby server. Moving from base functionality to full functionality with Oracle 10g and IBM DB2 does not come cheaply. Based upon pricing from the vendor websites, when a customer includes the optional add-ons in order to bring full functionality to the enterprise database offerings the cost of Oracle 10g grows from $40,000 to $136,000; IBM DB2 increases in cost from $33,000 to $175,000. By comparison, the fully functional Microsoft SQL Server 2005 cost remains at $25,000 due to its high degree of base functionality. (See Figure 4.) Table 2 below provides the detailed breakdown of the add-on costs. Add-on Functionality Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Oracle 10g IBM DB2 Manageability Partitioning No charge $10,000 Diagnostics No charge $3,000 Tuning No charge $3,000 Performance Expert No charge $10,000 Business OLAP No charge $20,000 Intelligence Mining No charge $20,000 BI Bundle No charge $20,000 DB2 OLAP No charge $35,000 DB2 Warehouse No charge $75,000 Cube Views No charge $9,400 Security Advanced security No charge $10,000 $10,000 High Availability Additional license for backup server No charge $126,000 Recovery Expert No charge $10,000 Table 2. A comparison of the per-processor license fees for add-on software features. All prices are per processor for retail purchases within the United States. All costs are in U.S. Dollars. 10

11 Multicore processors In April 2005, AMD began shipping dual-core x86 server chips, followed in October 2005 by Intel. The multicore AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon chips are rapidly gaining favor in x86-based servers. Intel expects more than 80 percent of its server products to be shipping with multicore technology by the end of (For more information on multicore processors see: and Multicore processor refers to two or more execution cores on a single processor chip. This multicore processor then plugs in to a single processor socket in the server. The operating system perceives each core as a separate processing unit. Multicore processors have evolved to provide a solution to the increasing heat generation and power consumption experienced with continually increasing processor clock speed, also referred to as frequency. Power consumption increases proportionally with frequency. Simply increasing the clock speed of processors was creating a tradeoff with how small the computing package could be made as the increased heat had to be dissipated and the growing power demands greatly diminished the performance per watt. In a multicore processor the clock speed of each core can be set at a lower frequency but the overall compute speed of a given processor is significantly increased with the same power consumption. Processor performance is increased due to multitasking and since each core has its own cache, resources exist to handle even compute intensive tasks in parallel. For the enterprise, a significant benefit of x86 multicore processors is the availability of low cost servers which use less power, generate less heat and take up less space with improved performance. Integrating two cores onto one chip, however, does not double the performance of a similar single processor. For example, AMD has stated that its dual-core server chips increase performance by up to around 70% over their single-core counterparts. Other analysts have reported that a 50%-60% performance improvement can be expected in a dual-core processor versus a processor with a single-core running at a higher frequency, performance improvements being highly dependent on the application being run as well as the chip. 11

12 To fully exploit the multicore performance benefits the software applications in use must be written to take advantage of the processor capabilities. The Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Oracle 10g, and IBM DB2 enterprise database products reviewed in this paper are all designed to take advantage of this architecture. This hardware advance is, however, leading to potential order of magnitude discrepancies in software pricing as the major database vendors have taken different approaches to licensing multicore processors. Microsoft and Oracle are at different ends of the multicore licensing spectrum while IBM has a foot in both camps with their dual policy. A summary of these policies is as follows: Microsoft Microsoft s multicore policy is to charge the same amount per processor regardless of how many cores are in the processor, for Microsoft software currently licensed by the processor. This has also been described as licensing by the socket. For more details see: Oracle Oracle has taken the position that they will charge for processing power and therefore will treat each core as 75% of a processor, and will then round up to the next highest whole number for the number of processor licenses required. As an example, for a dual-core processor, Oracle will require two licenses (ie. 2 x.75 = 1.5 rounded up to 2). For additional details see: IBM IBM is following a dual licensing approach. They are taking the position that they will charge for incremental processing power provided by multicore POWER5 based chips and charge per core for these processors. However, for x86 based chips and IBM s OpenPower processors they are treating dual-core chips as a single processor for licensing purposes. For details see: It is very important for organizations to understand the different licensing approaches applied by software vendors to multicore processors. Order of magnitude differences in software license costs result, even in the most basic 12

13 scenario of one single core processor versus one dual core processor. (See Figure 5.) This example shows how Oracle s policy of treating a multicore processor as multiple processors (2 cores x 0.75=1.5 rounded up to 2 processors) adds $40,000 to the base license costs of 10g on a single dual-core processor. With AMD and Intel currently developing multicore chips with 4 and 8 cores per processor, Oracle s current multicore licensing approach will drive their enterprise software license costs orders of magnitude higher. Running IBM DB2 on a dual-core Power5 chip requires two processor licenses as well, doubling the base license cost of $25,000. Figure 5. Comparative database licensing costs for one dual-core processor. Based on retail prices available within the United States. Operating Systems The database selection process may include an evaluation of operating system platforms. The primary non-mainframe operating system platform alternatives are Windows Server and Linux. The enterprise editions of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Linux AS have been included for comparison purposes. A popular misperception is that being an open source product, Linux is free. However, the reality is that the primary commercialized Linux distributors such as Red Hat and Novell charge licensing fees and support costs. As an example, Red Hat Linux enterprise edition is sold on an annual subscription basis. The subscription entitles the purchaser to software updates and support. Levels of support vary between standard and premium level subscriptions. An important licensing difference to be aware of is that while Microsoft requires a Windows Server license for every server on which you are running the software, Red Hat requires a copy of software (subscription) on each box on which Linux is installed, per installed copy. This would mean an additional copy of Linux must be purchased (subscribed to) for installation on a standby server, while Microsoft 13

14 Windows Server would not require an additional license for the standby machine. When considering the operating system acquisition costs it is also important to consider the costs of additional third party tools and utilities required to provide functionality comparable to Windows Server, not to mention the additional integration and support costs. (The Yankee Group published a comprehensive TCO comparison of the Linux and Windows platforms in April b93e/Yankee_TCO.pdf ). Based upon the retail per-processor pricing data from the vendor websites in October/November 2005, the annual subscription fee for Red Hat Linux AS enterprise edition is $2,500 for premium support level which provides 24/7 telephone support for Severity 1 issues. This subscription fee is payable each year for every installed copy of Linux. The annual fee for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 enterprise edition, when the license fee is paid in annual installments over three years is $1,550, including software assurance. The Microsoft fee is charged for every processor running the software. We reviewed pricing data for the following four enterprise level database/operating system pairings: 1. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 with Microsoft Windows Server 2003; 2. Oracle 10g with Red Hat Linux AS; 3. Oracle 10g with Microsoft Windows Server 2003; and Figure 6. All prices are per processor for retail purchases within the U.S. 4. IBM DB2 with Red Hat Linux AS. Based upon retail pricing data from the vendors websites the initial acquisition price of the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system with SQL Server 2005 of $26,550 is the lowest-cost option and approximately 36% less expensive than the Oracle 10g options. (See Figure 6.) 14

15 Table 3 below shows the breakout between the database and operating system perprocessor license costs. Enterprise Edition License Costs Windows Server 2003 SQL Server 2005 Linux AS Oracle 10g Windows Server 2003 Oracle 10g Linux AS IBM DB2 Database $25,000 $40,000 $40,000 $25,000 Operating System $1,550 $2,500 $1,550 $2,500 Total $26,550 $42,500 $41,550 $27,500 Table 3. A comparison of the per-processor license fees for database and operating system alternatives. All prices are per processor for retail purchases within the United States. All costs are in U.S. Dollars. Conclusion There are many issues which must be considered when investing in an enterpriselevel database management system. A comprehensive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) study would include the initial hardware and software acquisition costs, costs of migration and integration, and on-going costs such as maintenance, support, and IT personnel. The analysis of the software acquisition cost is an important component of the overall decision process. The listed retail price of the base database system is a useful starting point but as we have illustrated this base cost can be dwarfed by extra cost add-on software and the impact of multi-core licensing policies. Our analysis has shown that Microsoft SQL Server 2005 offers the lowest base perprocessor license cost of $25,000 and this price remains constant while Oracle 10g and IBM DB2 licensing costs increase up to 4 times the base price, depending on add-ons and hardware configuration. There is a choice of operating platforms but as we have illustrated the retail acquisition and support costs of the enterprise editions of Microsoft Windows Server is very competitive with Red Hat Linux. When considered in relation to the overall database software they are a relatively small component of the acquisition costs. 15

16 Appendix- Methodology Comparative Pricing Data To make this paper useful to the broadest possible audience we chose to focus on the narrow set of costs around the acquisition of the software licenses. Furthermore, to ensure transparency, we used publicly available pricing data from the vendor web sites. While it is unlikely that an enterprise customer will pay full sticker price for the software, the ultimate discount will be based upon the individual circumstances of the customer and the unique structure of the overall purchase. Therefore, we believe that the full retail price provides the best starting point for an objective cost analysis. We tested our hypothesis by interviewing several resellers and being told that enterprise purchasers will be eligible for significant discounting from the software vendors with the discount unique to the specific situation. Therefore, in the interest of providing transparency, we focused on the published retail pricing. Add-ons A full comparative analysis of the functions and features of the three database products is beyond the scope of this paper. We have sourced our information from publicly available material on the internet. Not all customers will require all of the add-ons included in this analysis. Operating Systems The operating system acquisition costs compared in this paper are equal to the first year fee that would be payable to either Microsoft or Red Hat. This approach was selected because Red Hat charges an annual subscription fee while Microsoft offers a license fee payable over three years (under the Microsoft Open Value license plan). The Microsoft Open Value license plan is available to any customers with over 5 desktops. This arrangement splits the license cost into 3 equal annual payments. An annual software assurance fee is added to the license fee each year. After three years the license fee will be paid off and only the software assurance fee will be charged. The base license fee and software assurance provide the closest comparison to Red Hat s annual subscription arrangement. 16

17 The calculation of the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 enterprise edition annual cost is as follows: From Microsoft website, Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition perprocessor license fee including 1 year Software Assurance = $4000. Typically, the annual software assurance fee is equal to 25 percent of the annual license fee. Therefore, the $4000 cost quoted is equal to 3.25x, where x is equal to the annualized license fee split over 3 years. Setting 3.25x equal to $4000 yields an annualized license fee, x equal to $1231. The annual Software Assurance fee is typically about 25 percent of the license fee or $310 ($1231 multiplied by.25). Then adding the annual license fee of $1231 to the Software Assurance fee of $310 equals $1541 per year, for the first three years. The Red Hat annual subscription rate used is for Red Hat AS enterprise edition Premium Level. The premium level is most appropriate for enterprise customers running critical applications and is comparable with the support levels under the Microsoft Open Value license arrangement with Software Assurance. 17

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