Falling Short of Software Licenses in Virtual World

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Businesses using certain virtualization technology could need up to six times as many licenses as they think they do, according to software asset management (SAM) vendor License Dashboard.

Editor’s note:  As part of our special editorial partnership, Channelnomics is publishing this recent article from CRN in the UK.

Businesses using certain virtualization technology could need up to six times as many licenses as they think they do, according to research by software asset management (SAM) vendor License Dashboard Ltd.

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The firm warns that companies using virtualized environments can leave themselves open to hefty non-compliance fines following confusion between device and user-based licensing.

It claims that most software licenses still operate on a device-based system, meaning every instance of the software on each virtual machine (VM) must be licensed.

Matt Fisher, director of License Dashboard, said licensing virtualized environments is still a grey area.

"Under virtualization, organizations operate many instances of a software program on a single physical machine. With the traditional device-centric software licenses that are the mainstay of most organizations today, such as Microsoft Corp. Office and Windows licenses, the organization is required to license each virtual machine separately," he added.

"While many vendors, including Microsoft, have added user-centric elements to their licensing terms, since the license remains at its core a device one, licensing under virtualization remains a grey area."

According to the firm's research, some 87 percent of its customers who responded to its survey claimed that virtualization is factored into their SAM strategy, but 20 percent said they have no system in place at all.

More than two thirds of organizations asked had at least one software audit in 2012, while 16 percent said they had three or more.

The vendor pinpoints VMware's Distributed Resources Scheduler (DRS) product as one piece of software which continues to catch people out, claiming that it has the potential to increase an organization’s server licensing requirements by up to 500 per cent at the flick of a switch.

Fisher added: "DRS can... lead to a significant shortfall in an organization’s licensing compliance, since an application has the potential to be used on every virtual machine if the need arises."

For more UK channel coverage from CRN, visit www.channelweb.co.uk

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