Per-core licensing charges?

Terry Slattery
Principal Architect

Some vendors are charging licensing fees for each processor or even each processor core in a server.  In an article on Network World Oracle is described as charging for each individual core on multi-cpu, multi-core systems.  My view is that this type of pricing is too confusing and cumbersome for vendors or customers to track, espeically as virtualization allows a server instance to migrate between various physical systems.  I think the licensing should be according to the server instance and dispense with trying to grab every possible dollar off the table.  Some vendors license their software according to the power of the processor instance in use and I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, as long as the power increments are in big enough chunks that it doesn’t cause customers headaches when they try to honor the vendor’s licensing policy.  When you look at most of the apps, you’ll find that other factors create bottlenecks that limit overall performance, so the vendors aren’t giving away major value with a more easily implemented licensing policy.  I say “So What” if there are 16 cores working on a DB server when the I/O system is limiting performance to the same as for a 4 core server.

This sort of thinking is what drove us at Netcordia to license our products based on device count.  The major performance limitation of a good network management system is the number of SNMP objects polled and the polling frequency.  The number of interfaces typically drive the number of SNMP objecs at a greater rate than any other factor.  We found that few customers know how many interfaces they have in their network, but they often know roughly how many devices they have.  Computer Associates has used ‘per element’ licensing, which customers disliked because they didn’t know how many elements they had.  Licensing by device follows the ‘Simpler is better’ approach, making our customers much happier and making it easier to work with them.



Re-posted with Permission 

NetCraftsmen would like to acknowledge Infoblox for their permission to re-post this article which originally appeared in the Applied Infrastructure blog under


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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.