The latest Oracle processor core scaling factor table now rates an IBM Power6 processor at a scaling factor of 1.0 per core, which means no more 25 per cent discount on Power6 processor cores when it comes to Oracle products.
The Power6 processor, launched initially in the summer of 2007, is a dual-core chip and design, just like its predecessors the Power5 and the Power5+ kicker. But the Power6 chip is said to have roughly twice the performance vis-à-vis the Power5 chips in online transaction processing workloads.
The Oracle price hike on Power6 chips might appear to some as unfair given that the quad-core Sparc64 VII processors used in Sun machines have the same 0.75 scaling factor. Ditto for quad-core x64 chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices; and dual-core Itanium 9100 series chips from Intel, which currently have a 0.50 scaling factor. (That is effectively the same thing as saying a Power6 core is worth two x64 or Itanium cores.)
In Oracle’s defense, IBM’s analog to their processor scaling factor methodology, which it calls value unit pricing and introduced in the summer of 2006, is a sort of comparable scaling metric for processor-based pricing. In fact IBM charges more for Power6 processors for IBM’s own DB2 and other systems software than it does for Power5 systems. Power6 and System z10 mainframes have a rating of 120 per core, compared to 100 for Power5 cores and 80 for Power6 chips used in the JS12 and JS22 blade servers sold by IBM.