Ok, this is a long entry but it's worth the read.
I recently helped a friend of mine who work for a quite small company to sort out one of their secondary Oracle system. They only really have one big database, but they need to have a secondary box for training, testing and development. The system they used to have was a four proc HP DL580g2 server running RHEL 3.
Their main problem was that since they had a training system on the machine they had to pay for Oracle licensing and support for the machine, for all four CPU's. And since their application schema used partitioning and other EE features they had to have EE on this system as well.
They had opted for a term license from Oracle costing $32k annually. The server was starting to run a bit slow as well. Developers often have that effect on systems, starting with one test schema and ending up with about 37. The training system was used by a 10 user classroom perhaps twice a month. Minimal usage (for the training functionality) and load, still a massive license.
The problem, they need a faster system and reduce costs. Both where hard requirements.
Their suggestion was to replace the machine with a HP DL585 with four Opteron processors with RHEL 4, still a $32k per year term license plus support on that. Time to cut back a bit here. Why do they need four cpu's on a training system?
Oracle are nice enough to accept per zone licensing of Oracle under Solaris if you use the resource manager to limit the number of processors the zone can use. I first suggested that they would opt for a Sun T2000 server but they where quite set on using the HP box. Fair enough, they are a HP shop and I'm not in any position to argue with them. So let's stick with the HP box, but let's run Solaris 10 on it. HP even officially support* Solaris 10 on that system. They agreed to do so. Very simple setup, two RAID1 arrays on 15kRPM disks. The databases on the machine aren't very large so there is currently no need for an external disk subsystem.
We installed Solaris 10 update 1 on the server and created two zones. First zone is “training” which was given one CPU and the second zone “dev” was not resource limited at all and could use all CPU's in the system.
One CPU for the training system that had to be licensed, thats a neat little saving of $24k per annum plus the reduced support cost. The server itself came in at about $15k and the Solaris support contract costs $960 per annum compared to the $1500 per year for RedHat. So even with the new hardware they had a nifty saving at about $10k for the first year. Not to mention the full $24k save for year two and three.
I almost sound like a Sun marketer here, but hey, it's plain facts. To prove I'm not a Sun fanboy I'm going to skip the step where I pull out the graphs and ROI calculations. Draw your own graphs! (And may I suggest you do that in Oracle BI Discoverer)