Be Careful With Oracle SE2 – Especially With RAC!

Jon Lingard Sep 2, 2015 3:57:26 PM

Updated 02/05/2019

Since December 2015 Database “Standard Edition 2” has replaced SE1 and SE as the only Database Edition, other than Enterprise Edition, which brings challenges to Database performance, high availability and cost.

The new version of SE for Database brings new licensing rules which will have a huge impact on anyone who has been using Standard Edition One and/or Standard Edition to date, especially if they’re running RAC on SE.

Here’s the detail from the updated “Database Licensing” document found here.

“Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 may only be licensed on servers that have a maximum capacity of 2 sockets. When used with Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 may only be licensed on a maximum of 2 one-socket servers. In addition, notwithstanding any provision in Your Oracle license agreement to the contrary, each Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 database may use a maximum of 16 CPU threads at any time. When used with Oracle Real Application Clusters, each Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 database may use a maximum of 8 CPU threads per instance at any time. The minimums when licensing by Named User Plus (NUP) metric are 10 NUP licenses per server.”

More information about SE2 and its feature matrix compared to SE1/SE and EE can be found here.


So what does this mean for customers?

  • Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (SE2) replaced SE and SE1 from version
  • SE2 has a limitation of maximum 2 socket systems and a total of 16 CPU threads*
  • *note not cores!
  • SE2 is hard coded in Resource Manager to use no more than 16 CPU threads.
  • RAC is still included with SE2 but is restricted to 2 sockets across the cluster. Therefore, each Server must be single socket.
  • One socket occupied in a two socket server for RAC is not recongised!
  • Effective with Oracle Database 19c, Standard Edition 2 (SE2) RAC will no longer be allowed/supported. This change will mainly take effect with 19c (19.3) GA and hence is not widely documented yet.[/box] – Table 1.9 Scalability


Consider NOW before upgrading to 19c:

Convert SE2 RAC Databases to Single Instance
Migrate your SE2 RAC Databases to Enterprise Edition (EE) and purchase the RAC Database Option
Migrate your SE2 RAC to the Oracle Cloud

  • SE One and SE were no longer available to purchase from 10th November 2015.
  • If you need to purchase additional DB SE and SE One Licenses you must purchase SE2 instead and install the version of 11g as required from here. Note – you must still comply with the license rules for SE2.
  • Oracle is offering a FREE license migration from SE One* and SE to SE2.
  • *SE One customers will have to pay a 20% increase in support as part of the migration.
  • SE customers face no other cost increases for license or support, subject to Named User minimums being met.
  • Named user minimums for SE2 are now 10 per server
  • All the usual warnings about Oracle and VMware still exist – don’t do it and stay away from the potential to become none-compliant and face a big bill from an Oracle audit. Contact us for advice if you’re in this situation today.
  • was the last SE and SE1 release
  • If SE1, SE or SE2 licenses are to be deployed in the Oracle Cloud 1 Processor license is equal to 4 OCPU. For more information about Cloud licensing rules see this blog.


In short, if you’re planning on applying new patches to your SE1/SE Databases past you’re going to trigger these new licensing rules and you’re at risk of becoming none-compliant. If you continue using RAC on SE2, with 19c, you will also be none-compliant.


Why is Oracle doing this?

Our guess, it’s quite simple;

  1. With the proliferation of multi-core processors in commodity Servers customers were getting a lot of “Oracle” for their money, meaning customers were not upgrading to Enterprise Edition soon enough. The introduction of SE2 and its limitations on thread resources effectively means customers are wasting money on refreshing commodity hardware with more cores.
  2. Generate new Cloud revenue. Oracle Cloud is a low cost and an extremely simple proposition to understand and we’re seeing more and more SE and SE One customers move their Databases to the Cloud, especially since Oracle gives you access to more cores in their Cloud than on premise or in any other Cloud provider.
  3. Drive new business with Oracle Database Appliance. There are 2 models that are designed to address SE workloads, offering fantastic performance from the latest intel chips and NVMe storage.


How will Oracle enforce this?

If you download the patchset for SE don’t be surprised if you get contacted by your Oracle sales rep and/or LMS for an audit.


What should you do now?

Work with Explorer to get a license health check for current and future usage. We’ll help you understand;

  1. Your hardware and software landscape – number of servers, cores, threads, DB versions etc.
  2. Your usage/dependency on RAC & DR/Failover
  3. Your DB performance
  4. When you plan to upgrade to
  5. The cost impact for purchasing new licenses.
  6. The options/benefits of using OVM or doing a hardware refresh

For more information or help/guidance on the impact of this change contact a member of the team and we’re happy to help advise you.



Author: Jon Lingard

Job Title: Practice Director

Bio: Jon is a member of the Oracle sales team and works with customers from start-ups, SMEs to large corporations to gain maximum value from their investment in Oracle technology. Jon works with the technical and development teams to shape solutions based on customer demands and develops long lasting customer relationships based on his open and trustworthy approach.