We are looking at software that is licensed by socket. Right now our hypervisor (EXSi) underutilizes the 2 socket 8 core processing power it has. Most guests only have 4 virtual cores. In order be compliant with the software I can either a) buy 2 cpus licenses b) buy a dedicated server or c) pull one of the sockets from the hypervisor. C is a non-cash move. My question is, which performs better a vm using 8 virtual cores from 1 socket or 2 sockets?

I should mention that the application is Oracle 11 DB Standard Edition.

  • 2
    Unfortunately, pulling the socket might not be a feasible approach. These days, most servers assign RAM DIMMs on a per socket-basis, so you may end up not being able to use all your RAM, or having to buy higher capacity DIMMs. Also, Oracle licensing is painful. And evil. And generally a fate worse than death. – HopelessN00b Mar 15 '13 at 14:05
  • @HopelessN00b Almost all licensing is painful and evil to deal with. It seems to get worse as the companies get bigger.. – Rex Mar 15 '13 at 15:25

Since your multiple core server is bsed on NUMA architecture, you'll generally get better performance when the VM is using 8 cores from 1 CPU, instead of 4 cores from each of both CPUs. VMware will do the right thing most of the time.

To understand this issue in more depth, you'll definitely want to read VMware's NUMA documentation.

Whether you need to physically remove a CPU to make Oracle happy is a licensing issue, rather than a technical issue, and is not something we can help you with.

  • Agreed that licensing is not something we can help you with. I will say, some companies do make some concessions with processor licensing in a VMWare environment (IBM sub-capacity licensing comes to mind), however, per Oracle (oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/partitioning-070609.pdf), VMware is considered "soft partitioning" and will require you to license all physical sockets on the host(s). – Rex Mar 15 '13 at 15:31

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