Server virtualization is changing the way companies think about and manage their server hardware purchases. The old equation of "new application = new server hardware" is gone, as companies can create a new virtual machine (VM) on a single physical server to support a new application without necessarily needing to buy new server hardware. Yet one rule from the old world of server management, "more servers = more software licenses," still applies more often than not.
Every time a company creates a new VM, it still has an obligation to license the software used by the new VM. While some companies may have enterprise software licensing agreements that help them avoid this unpleasant reality, many more companies do not. So every time a company creates a new VM, the new VM is subject to all of the software-licensing fees that operating systems, data-protection software and any server agents that a company normally installs on a new server.
While one might think that software companies would move to alleviate this situation and make licensing simpler, licensing still varies by vendor. For instance, Double-Take Software Inc. continues to license its newest 3.0 version of Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure at a cost of $500 per VM. Other vendors, such as Tek-Tools Software, a storage resource management software provider, license its Profiler SRM software by VMware ESX server, regardless of how many VMs the ESX server hosts.
Companies have put down their foot when it comes to putting an end to server hardware sprawl by introducing server virtualization technologies. Now it is time for companies to put a similar end to the hidden but equally high costs of software licensing and demand more equitable and favorable licensing terms for their emerging virtual server environments from software vendors.
Jerome Wendt is the president and lead analyst of DCIG Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .