The announcement by Oracle this week that they are "on the cloud" was once again quite an amusing piece of public relations. I don't know if Oracle is serious when they make these announcements or if they are secretly smiling to themselves.
Another interesting comparison is revealed by this amusing press release from Oracle about a start-up customer named Qtrax. Look at the stack Oracle managed to sell them to build their application. I put in brackets the price per CPU for each Oracle product from the official price list, and I quote:
"Qtrax's implementation includes Oracle Database [$17.5k to $47.5k], Oracle Real Application Clusters [$23k], Oracle Enterprise Manager [$3.5 to $20k+] and components of Oracle Fusion Middleware [?], including Oracle Application Server [$10k to $30k] and Oracle Coherence [$4k to $25k]. With this software now in place, Qtrax will have the ability to support millions of concurrent users [they better!]."
On top of these numbers (which total in the range of $58k to $145.5k per CPU1)add a 22% annual support fee. As these are perpetual licenses, let's break the license numbers to an hourly rate by assuming 24/7 for 3 years: we get $2.20 to $5.54. Even if you decide to be generous and divide by 4 years, you get $1.65 to $4.15. Now, let's not forget that Oracle doesn't actually offer any special pricing for it's products on EC2 (i.e., an hourly rate)2 so you would have to buy the licenses upfront, as Qtrax apparently did.