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CPU and core basics

You will have to excuse my ignorance as I am not a hardware expert - but when it comes to processors, does every processor have a number of "cores", or is this only for newer processors. These are server hardware by the way.

The reason I ask is a lot of software licences now work on a per core basis. Whereas before they were on a CPU basis. Is a CPU classed as the physical processor, i.e. 1 per server?

Why do software vendors now licence per core as opposed to CPU, where is the logic? I presume its to do with how hardware and infrastructures have evolved but still not sure. Please keep answers pretty basic tech free/management friendly if possible.
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pma111
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pma111
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Sir LearnalotCommented:
Most CPU's (especially in Servers) come in QUAD CORE (4 cores), OCTOVORE (8 Cores), and even more. However, I doubt that is the licensing scheme reference to "Cores". I believe the licensing system "per core" means if your server utilises DUAL processors (meaning each of these processors can have any amount of their own cores). So if you are using a DUAL PROCESSOR setup, then you will require license for the additional core (the second processor).
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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
Yes, every computer/server has at least one physical CPU, and each CPU may have 1 or more cores, but nearly all modern processors are multi-core.

"Why do software vendors now licence per core as opposed to CPU, where is the logic? I presume its to do with how hardware and infrastructures have evolved but still not sure."

Yes, hardware and infrastructures have evolved, so software companies have felt the need and opportunity to evolve their pricing to match.  When servers evolved beyond a single processor, software companies decided that they were losing money by people getting 4-socket/CPU servers to handle extreme/heavy loads on the software, where they used to need two single or dual socket servers (each with their own license).  Now that a single processor can have 15 cores, with the ability to process heavy loads while bypassing the need to have multiple processors (and thus multiple licenses), software companies are trying again to restructure their pricing to make up for lost revenue due to more powerful CPU's.  It's all about the money, but what can you do?  Writing your own software is often more costly (in a lot of ways) than just paying the licensing premiums.

"I doubt that is the licensing scheme reference to "Cores". I believe the licensing system "per core" means if your server utilises DUAL processors"

Many software packages are moving to a per-core licensing scheme, like SQL Server.
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garycaseCommented:
The evolution of licensing from "per CPU" to "per Core" is simple:  Revenue.

In the very distant past, a Central Processing Unit (CPU) was actually a cabinet full of electronics.    This evolved to where the CPU could be implemented on a single board.   Then finally it became a single chip (starting in the mid-70's).    The power of the processor on this chip kept growing, and evolving in the width of the data it could process (from 4 -> 8 -> 16 -> 32 -> 64 bits).    Then, as silicon density continued to improve, they began to put more than one central processing unit on the same chip.   So the CPU chip now had more than one processing unit on it ... thus the "dual core" CPU.    This is, in effect, two complete processing units that simply happen to occupy the same physical integrated circuit chip.   As fabrication technology continued to improve, the chip makers could put 4, 6, 8, and even 16 processing units on the same chip ... this is possible because of the extremely high density of modern chips with fabrication technology as small as 22 nanometers (and getting smaller), and the improving "yield" of the wafers, which allows larger chips (necessary for 8 and 16 core CPUs).

From the software vendors' perspective, this presented a bit of an issue:   If there license was "per CPU", but the term "CPU" was being used to represent the PHYSICAL chip, then with multi-core processors, that meant you could have effectively 2, 4, or more processors on a single chip, while they only received licensing fees for one CPU.    Simple marketing choice on their part:  just switch to a "per core" license, so they'd get the same revenue from someone using a dual-CPU motherboard with 2 single-core CPUs or a single-CPU motherboard with a dual core CPU.    ... or a dual-CPU motherboard using 2 dual-core CPU's vs. a single CPU board with a quad-core CPU.
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Sir LearnalotCommented:
Alas, I stand down! The experts are here
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