Oracle Database Enterprise edition costs $47 000 per processor. I wonder what features make it worth this money?
My personal opinion (and do feel free to mark it down if you don't agree) is that the people at Oracle aren't that dumb. They know their marketplace and segment there offerings to match. So they price it based on what they believe the customer is willing to pay for the features available.
From the customer perspective i'm sure Oracle's clients do look at the feature set and services they offer. Then if the ROI proposition is sound and the features are required then thats what will be paid.
Having said that the $47,000 is the list price and depending on the company size and influence with Oracle this can be reduced when negotiating contracts.
The reality is that it is not worth that price and almost nobody pays it. All of the DB vendors have large list prices except for MS. Talk to a sales rep. from each. Have them come in and do their pitch and they each submit a proposal based upon your needs. If there is one brand you want more than the others, bring them back in and tell them how you really thought their product was the best fit for your needs, but there is no way you can justify a 10x price difference, they need to drastically sharpen their pencil and give you a much better bid to win your service. Most of the time, if you time it near quarter or year end properly, these vendors will not lose the sale based upon price. Your next challenge will be the maintenance / service contract. They will try to base it on a percentage of list, and you will need to get it based on that same % of their price on the bid.
The features that make it worth the money are the ones you can't live without ;-)
Have a look at Burleson's blog for a list of features in EE that aren't in SE.
Standard Edition is designed for smaller businesses and enterprises. It offers a subset of the features/ functionality implemented in Enterprise Edition. Database options like Data Guard, Partitioning, Spatial, etc. is not available with Standard Edition (from 10g one can use RAC with Standard Edition). Standard Edition can only be licensed on servers with a maximum capacity of four processors.
Looking at the most recent list, I think the biggest thing right now is streams capture. That's a key part to geographically distributing data. Of course the CPU limit means it's only useful to for small to medium businesses but 4 CPUs on Oracle gets you a ton of capacity that will likely be more than your I/O subsystem can use.