Oracle Multitenant licensing and the licensing costs

Oracle Multitenant licensing

  • Oracle Multitenant: Consolidates multiple databases into a single Container Database (CDB).
  • License Metrics: Named User Plus (NUP) and Per Processor.
  • Cost: $17,500 per processor or $350 per NUP.
  • Free Usage: Up to 3 Pluggable Databases (PDBs) in Oracle 19c.
  • Requirement: License needed for 4+ PDBs.

Oracle Multitenant Licensing

Oracle Multitenant licensing

Oracle has made several changes to its Oracle Multitenant licensing rules. Some aspects are free, but it depends on how much you use the product and which Oracle database version you are running.

This article will help you understand the basic concepts of Oracle Multitenant, its licensing, and associated costs.

Understanding Oracle Multitenant

What is Oracle Multitenant?

Oracle Multitenant is a feature introduced in Oracle Database 12c. It is designed to support cloud infrastructure and consolidation strategies in data centers. This option allows database practitioners to consolidate multiple physical databases into one.

  • Compatibility: Works with Oracle Database 12c and later.
  • Features: Compatible with Real Application Clusters and Data Guard.

Benefits of Oracle Multitenant

  • Ease of Adoption: Simplifies database deployment and management.
  • Improved Manageability: Centralizes database management.
  • Database Isolation and Security: Provides isolated environments for different databases.
  • Resource Prioritization: Allows prioritization of resources for each database.

Oracle Multitenant Architecture

Oracle Multitenant architecture introduces two key concepts: Container Database (CDB) and Pluggable Database (PDB).

Container Database (CDB)

A CDB is a database that contains:

  • Control files
  • Data files
  • Undo files
  • Temporary files
  • Redo logs
  • Data dictionary for items owned by the root container

Pluggable Database (PDB)

A PDB is a self-contained collection of schemas, schema objects, and non-schema objects. It:

  • Contains its data files and temporary files.
  • Has a data dictionary with information specific to the PDB.
  • Can have a local undo tablespace starting from Oracle 12.2.

Multitenant Architecture in Action

Starting with Oracle Database 21c, the multitenant container database is the only supported architecture. In previous releases, non-container databases were also supported. A CDB can contain several user-created PDBs and application containers. An application container is an optional container within a CDB that stores data and metadata for one or more applications.

Licensing Oracle Multitenant

Licensing Oracle Multitenant

Oracle Multitenant supports two types of licensing metrics:

  • Named User Plus (NUP)
  • Per Processor

Named User Plus (NUP) Licensing

This metric licenses all users and physical devices that access a user-created PDB.

Per Processor Licensing

This metric licenses the processor cores on all physical hosts running a user-created PDB.

Important Licensing Considerations

To determine if the Oracle Multitenant option is required for your database deployment, consider the following:

  • Oracle Database Version and Edition: Check the versions and editions of your PDBs and CDBs.
  • Number of User-Created PDBs: Calculate the user-created PDBs within each database instance.
  • Oracle Core Factor Licensing Rules: Apply these rules to calculate the required licenses.

Licensing in Oracle 19c

With Oracle 19c, you can have up to three user-created PDBs of any type without requiring a Multitenant license. However, you will need a Multitenant license if you need four or more PDBs within one CDB. In versions before 19c, only one PDB was allowed without a license.

Oracle Multitenant License Costs

The costs for the Oracle Multitenant option are as follows:

  • Per Processor License: $17,500 per processor.
  • Named User Plus License: $350 per user.

Example Cost Calculation

To calculate the cost for a company that needs eight processor licenses and 100 Named User Plus licenses, use the following formula:

Total Cost=(Number of Processor Licenses×Processor License Cost)+(Number of Named User Plus Licenses×Named User Plus Cost)Total Cost=(Number of Processor Licenses×Processor License Cost)+(Number of Named User Plus Licenses×Named User Plus Cost)

Using the given costs: Total Cost=(8×$17,500)+(100×$350)=$140,000+$35,000=$175,000Total Cost=(8×$17,500)+(100×$350)=$140,000+$35,000=$175,000

So, the total cost for this company would be $175,000 for the Oracle Multitenant option.

Detailed Oracle Multitenant Overview

Key Features

  1. Ease of Adoption
    • Simplifies the process of adopting Oracle databases in a consolidated infrastructure.
    • Reduces the time and effort required for database deployment and management.
  2. Improved Manageability
    • Centralizes management of multiple databases within a single CDB.
    • Provides tools for easier monitoring and maintenance.
  3. Database Isolation and Security
    • Ensures that each PDB operates independently, providing isolation and security.
    • Facilitates the implementation of security policies at the PDB level.
  4. Resource Prioritization
    • Allows prioritization of resources such as CPU and memory for each PDB.
    • Helps in optimizing performance for critical databases.

Components of Oracle Multitenant

Container Database (CDB)

A CDB acts as a container for multiple PDBs. It contains:

  • System Data Files: Store metadata for the CDB.
  • Control Files: Manage the structure and state of the database.
  • Online Redo Log Files: Record all changes made to the database.
  • Undo Files: Store information required to undo changes.

Pluggable Database (PDB)

A PDB is a fully functional database that:

  • Contains its data files and temporary files.
  • Appears as a separate database to applications.
  • It can be moved or archived by unplugging and plugging into different CDBs.

Oracle Multitenant Licensing Options

Named User Plus (NUP) Licensing

  • Scope: Licenses all users and devices accessing a PDB.
  • Calculation: Requires a minimum of 10 NUP licenses per 8 vCPUs.

Per Processor Licensing

  • Scope: Licenses processor cores on all hosts running a PDB.
  • Calculation: Apply Oracle core factor licensing rules to determine the licenses needed.

Licensing Calculation Example

To license Oracle Database Enterprise Edition on an Azure instance with 32 vCPUs:

  • Multi-threading Enabled: Count two vCPUs as equivalent to one Oracle CPU license.
  • Multi-threading Disabled: Count one vCPU as equivalent to one Oracle CPU license.

For a 32 vCPU instance with multi-threading enabled: Total Licenses=322=16Total Licenses=232​=16

For a 32 vCPU instance with multi-threading disabled: Total Licenses=32Total Licenses=32

Oracle Multitenant Licensing in AWS and Azure


  • Multi-threading Enabled: Two vCPUs equal one Oracle CPU license.
  • Multi-threading Disabled: One vCPU equals one Oracle Processor license.

Microsoft Azure

  • Multi-threading Enabled: Two vCPUs equal one Oracle CPU license.
  • Multi-threading Disabled: One vCPU equals one Oracle Processor license.


Oracle Multitenant provides a robust solution for database consolidation and cloud infrastructure support. Understanding the licensing requirements and costs associated with Oracle Multitenant is crucial for efficient database management and cost optimization. Organizations can ensure compliance and maximize their Oracle database investments by adhering to Oracle’s licensing policies.


Oracle Multitenant licensing can seem complex, but understanding the basic principles and requirements can help you make informed decisions. Consider the number of PDBs and the Oracle Database version, and apply the appropriate licensing metrics to calculate costs accurately. Stay updated with Oracle’s licensing policies to ensure compliance and optimize your database management strategy.

By consolidating multiple databases into a single CDB, Oracle Multitenant simplifies management, enhances security, and allows efficient resource allocation. Whether you choose Named User Plus or Per Processor licensing, understanding the costs and requirements is key to maximizing the benefits of Oracle Multitenant.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson is an Oracle licensing expert with over 20 years of experience in Oracle license management. He spent 10 years working for Oracle corporation and then 10 years at a consultant leading engagements on Oracle license assessments, audits, ULAs. He is a public speaker and author

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