[rescue] Sun licensing costs (was Re: E10k systems coming down in price)

Gavin Hubbard ghub005 at xtra.co.nz
Fri Jul 18 00:53:33 CDT 2003

>On Fri, Jul 18, 2003 at 12:08:38AM -0400, vance at neurotica.com wrote:
>> Wow.  That's *almost* affordable.  I've spent that much on a system in the
>> past.
>> Peace...  Sridhar
>> On Fri, 18 Jul 2003, Gavin Hubbard wrote:
>That is a Cray-derived backplane, right?  Not a regular VME backplane.
>I don't think this machine is covered under the "Free Solaris 9" promo
>however, what do you think?  If an E4K costs > $20,000 to license,
>what would this cost?

Since you asked :-)

The part you need is SOLIS-090-C9U9 (Solaris 9 DataCentre64 Upgrade RTU, 64 CPU Maximum, SPARC Platform Edition). In New Zealand this costs $382,100 NZD which at the current exchange rate of 0.60 is a cool $229,260 USD give or take a little bit. 

The trick with an E10k system is to make sure that you also get at least one of the SSP systems which holds all of the system's license codes. This is a bit like the Cray CS6400 architecture - without this machine you're completely stuck. The other gotcha for E10k systems is that Sun refuses point blank to supply contract support for a second-hand machine. Fortunately they are many global providers such as Fujitsu and StorageTek who are happy to do so (where did Sun think that all the E10k FEs they've laid off recently would go?)

The real catch with Solaris relicensing is that you pay for the maximum number of CPUs your machine is capable of holding, not the number of CPUs installed. The other catch is that you pay a lot more for server licensing than you do for workstation licensing. The license tiers (and list prices, converted from NZD to USD) are as follows:

Workstations (SPARC platform edition, Solaris 9):

1 - $144
2 - $288

Servers (SPARC platform edition, Solaris 9):

1 - $144
2 - $354
4 - $1440
8 - $8,610
16 - $28,680
32 - $85,980
64 - $229,260
128 - $573,180

The hobbiest license used to cover machines with up to eight CPUs. However when Solaris 9 was released, they changed this to uniprocessor capable systems only.
AFAIK the only reason Sun charges so much for licenses is that they are trying to restrict the trade in new and used system on the secondary markets. Note that I include 'new' as only Sun resellers are allowed to sell systems with licenses. It is impossible to get Sun licenses any other way. However it is possible to buy unused RTU kits for Solaris 7 which allow your machine to be registered with Sun. Unfortunately the legality of this approach has never been proven either way.



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