Software licenses will become a nightmare in virtual infrastructures

Microsoft is moving in the right direction about virtual machines licensing in the server space. I cannot say the same for the desktop space.

In any case Windows Product Activation (WPA) and limited number of allowed virtual machines in every product but Windows Server Datacenter Edition will create the biggest management issue in virtual infrastructures.
Blessed will be those provisioning tools (we call them today virtual lab management solutions) integrating a strong licensing management system.

I’m not the only one thinking this way. ComputerWorld published a long article about possible market scenarios and trends:

A recent survey by software management provider Macrovision found that only 28% of organisations surveyed were satisfied with their vendor’s pricing and licensing strategy.

And virtualisation will become an issue soon, as it moves out of the test and development phase and into production environments. Lechner says 54% of IBM’s customers plan to start applying virtualisation this year.

Forrester Research believes new licensing models based around virtualisation will be introduced by vendors — and will be accepted by large enterprises — by the end of 2008.

Tim Grieser, vice president of system management software at IDC, sees two approaches as the favourites for how virtualisation licensing will eventually be decided: either a base licence price based on some average of virtual machine images a user decides to employ, or a tiered per-server hardware price that doesn’t take virtualisation into account.

“Software vendors are telling us we will have to pay a licence for every single virtual machine, but, if I am still using the same [physical] machine as before why should I do that?” Tang asks. “Vendors are trying to take a free ride with virtualisation, and they can’t do that.”…

The last quote is remarkable.

Read the whole article at source.