Licensing Comparison Lite: Oracle vs. MariaDB

Sharing a quick comparison of DBMS Cluster licensing for Oracle and MariaDB from the complexity standpoint for vendor management, for a full breakdown and cost analysis please refer to my forthcoming book: Migrating to MariaDB from Apress publishing.


  • Licensed by Named User or by Processor
    • Named User: cheaper under very specific circumstances, but be very careful as anything you connect to the database can, and will be, considered a multiplexor
    • Processor: licensing costs are calculated based on the number of cores
      • Safest bet contrary to what one may be sold, do your own research and licensing deep dive and become informed, the alternative can be costly


  • Licensed by server


  • Oracle
    • Must be very careful of hardware, CPU architecture, and manufacturer
    • Be very careful with any type of hardware partitioning and/or virtualization
    • A simple hardware refresh can be very costly
  • MariaDB
    • 1 license = 1 server, quoting Metallica “nothing else matters”

Security and Encryption:

  • Oracle
    • Must purchase additional licensing for ASO, also by core
      • To use ASO, one must purchase Enterprise Edition database software, also by core
  • MariaDB
    • Included


  • Oracle RAC
    • Must purchase additional licensing for RAC, also by core
  • MariaDB Galera
    • Included

Data Masking:

  • Oracle
    • Must purchase additional licensing
  • MariaDB
    • Must be using Maxscale, included with Maxscale licensing
    • Other benefits of Maxscale:
      • Database proxy
      • Read/write splitting
      • Connection routing for failover
      • Database firewall
        • Must purchase additional licensing for Oracle’s database firewall
      • Filtering for functions and prepared statements
      • And on…and on….

The Maxscale licensing is precisely like the MariaDB database server licensing. You run it on a server, arbitrary of that servers hardware, number of cores/processors, and whether it is virtualized or hardware partitioning is used. It is that simple.

Oracle’s licensing specifics change often, one must not only keep up with these changes, but also be very involved in the deployment of the software and the hardware that it will reside on. This creates a vendor management nightmare that MariaDB solves eloquently with a rock solid solution with some very capable functionality.

For a dependable, high performance, and high availability DBMS solution Oracle RAC, with a huge amount of user friendly built-ins, is very hard to beat, however MariaDB is making it easier.

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