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Oracle’s latest jab at AWS: new cloud pricing schemes

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Oracle is letting its customers bring their own licenses to its cloud platform services with a set of pricing changes announced today. Larry Ellison, the company’s cofounder and CTO, said that customers who already pay for licenses to applications like Oracle Database, Middleware, and Analytics will be able to get a discount on running that software in the cloud.

Those discounts will apply to Oracle’s Platform-as-a-Service tier, which is designed to remove some of the complexity of running an application through cloud hosting and automation. Customers will pay $144 per Oracle Compute Unit (OCPU) per month for running Oracle Database Enterprise Edition on the company’s standard PaaS infrastructure. (One OCPU is equivalent to the compute capacity of a physical Intel Xeon CPU with hyperthreading enabled, which means customers get two execution threads or virtual CPUs.)

Running workloads on the more powerful Exadata infrastructure costs $240 per OCPU, plus a minimum charge for the hardware.

Oracle previously offered customers the ability to bring their licenses to its cloud infrastructure, but this is the first time that same benefit has applied to PaaS. Microsoft lets customers bring their own licenses to run SQL Server on cloud infrastructure, but that same benefit doesn’t apply to the company’s Azure SQL Database PaaS offering.

In addition to the licensing news, customers can also agree to pay Oracle a fixed amount of money per year or per month, then apply the resulting credits to any of the company’s cloud services. For example, customers could commit to spending $2 million a year on Oracle Cloud, and then receive discounts based on the size of that commitment.

The resulting Universal Credits from that commitment can be used to pay for any of Oracle’s cloud services, so customers can shift their spending from IaaS to PaaS and back again, or apply credits to new services that weren’t announced when customers initially committed.

It’s similar to systems put in place by Google and Amazon Web Services for their infrastructure-as-a-service offerings. In each case, customers can choose to purchase a certain package of computing cores and memory, and subdivide that as they choose.

On top of the pricing changes, Ellison also foreshadowed a new database service that the company will be discussing at its OpenWorld conference next month. He promised that the service would provide a 50 percent or greater savings over running the same Oracle Database workloads on AWS.

In addition, that service is supposed to offer automatic scaling, patching and setup, reducing the amount of time engineers and administrators have to spend taking care of the database.

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