Rationalising software licensing in the virtual age

When it comes to offering simple value-for-money licensing models for a virtual environment, many software suppliers have been dragging their feet, preferring to exploit the mismatch between traditional licensing models and modern systems architectures.

There are exceptions, of course, and some suppliers have been quick to evolve their thinking, but many are still not making it easy. Variation between suppliers then adds to the problem, making it very difficult to create standardised virtual systems that can be deployed predictably anywhere in the datacentre. These restrictive terms often force architectural workarounds to be developed. For example one database vendor’s licencing is written so that if a single virtual machine running a database was deployed on a server, then the entire physical server needs to be licenced. This would have the net effect of tying supported database workloads to a fixed pool of dedicated servers. While this can work well for static consolidation and predictable workloads, it hardly fits the vision of a dynamic private cloud that software suppliers are shouting about.

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