Software licensing is a gray area for many companies, but it can become even more complicated thanks to virtualization.
By Erik Sherman
April 13, 2012
One of the biggest issues in corporate computing is virtualization. At one time that meant an enterprise with thousands of servers, but hardware vendors are now trying to push the concept into the SMB market. As companies virtualize, they can throw their Microsoft licensing situation into confusion.
The problem is that the virtual machine running an application or database could run on any physical machine. What if a package suddenly shifts from a 32-bit server with 64GB of RAM to a 64-bit box with hundreds of gigabytes of memory? The company might suddenly be out of license compliance.
A channel professional should pay careful attention to the server metric on any volume agreement if the client virtualizes its infrastructure or runs a private cloud. “Even licenses two or three years ago didn’t take into account this will be running in one of these environments,” says Amy Konary, research vice president for software licensing and provisioning at IDC. The good news is that she says Microsoft is on the “front of the curve” in trying to address the situation, and has started to change licensing to allow virtualization without pinning it to a given physical server, undercutting the advantages of the virtualization.
For example, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 has licensing that is friendlier to customers who eventually want to move to a hosting environment or virtualization. When such variations exist, they are more expensive. For now, expect that a company will need to negotiate reasonable compliance terms.
For more information on software licensing issues, visit the following resources:
Time for a Licensing Health Check
A research study exposes the sad fact that far too many companies are using unlicensed software and are unprepared for a software audit.
The Insider’s Guide to Microsoft Licensing
It may be complex, but Microsoft licensing is not rocket science. It simply requires attention to detail and practice. Here’s your guide.
Cost-Control Tips for Microsoft Licensing
For smaller clients right on up to the midmarket, there are programs and procedures out there to keep Microsoft licensing dollars in check.
Software Licensing: Legal Issues and Hurdles
Software licensing (or the lack thereof) can create a number of headaches for VARs and their customers. Find out how you can avoid legal issues in the future.
The Disastrous Impact of Pirated Software
Pirated software may save your customers a few bucks, but in addition to opening them up to potential data breaches and system failure, software piracy funds organized crime and undermines the economy.