Running Oracle Hypervisors on Amazon EC2 Bare Metal - Running Oracle Hypervisors on Amazon EC2 Bare Metal

Running Oracle Hypervisors on Amazon EC2 Bare Metal

Publication date: August 5, 2021 (Document history)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a wide range of operating environments to run your Oracle workloads, each offering different benefits depending on the use case and operating model. The operating environment you select can have a material impact on the cost of running the platform, especially the licensing of proprietary Oracle software. AWS provides Amazon EC2 bare metal instances with the capability for customers to bring their own hypervisor and opens the door for more flexible licensing arrangements. This whitepaper introduces the value proposition of running an Oracle Hypervisor on Amazon EC2 bare metal instances and shows how you can combine the agility and elasticity benefits of AWS with the cost efficiency of leveraging additional licensing optimizations.

All Oracle licensing policies and costs in this whitepaper are for informational purposes only and are based on the information available at the time of publication. AWS recommends that customers consult their own Oracle license agreement for more specific information.


Customers running Oracle workloads on shared tenancy Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) instances in AWS are subject to Oracle’s Cloud Licensing policy. This differs considerably from the traditional on-premise Oracle license policy and can lead to a suboptimal cost model in certain circumstances.

Some customers choose to run their Oracle workloads on Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts so that they can adhere to the traditional core-based licensing model instead. This can yield a substantial licensing saving while still leveraging the power of the AWS Cloud platform.

        Table showing Oracle licensing options for AWS Deployment patterns

Oracle licensing options for AWS Deployment patterns

To further optimize licensing costs, customers have the option to bring their own Hypervisor and run them on EC2 bare metal instances. In the case of third-party hypervisors such as VMWare ESx and Hyper-V this adds the capability to over-subscribe central processing unit (CPU) at the guest level in order to achieve higher consolidation density and make more efficient use of shared compute resources. This has been a highly effective strategy for those environments with relatively high proprietary licensing costs combined with dynamic workload levels.

However, the use of a non-Oracle hypervisor in this way does not currently satisfy Oracle’s hard partitioning requirements. Hardware partitioning is a mechanism to limit the number of CPU resources available to a server with the aim of reducing its licensing requirement. This technique has been useful in environments that separate a single large server into distinct smaller servers where each separated sub-system acts as a physically independent and self-contained server. Customers have been taking advantage of this technique to right-size their Oracle licenses and reduce their operating expenses.

In order to adhere to Oracle’s hard partitioning requirements customers must run one of the approved technologies specified in the above partitioning policy. There are two options for customers running their Oracle workloads on AWS.

By running one of these two Oracle hypervisors on EC2 bare metal instances on AWS, customers can streamline their platform spend by combining various cost optimization mechanisms.

The following diagram shows relative cost savings achievable using these cost optimization techniques. This example is provided to show a conceptual idea rather than estimate the scale of the potential savings. Customers should consult their Oracle license agreement for their own business use case.

Bar graph diagram showing license optimization mechanisms

License optimization mechanisms

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