Feeds

Microsoft to shelve per processor prices for users willing to get virtual

Redmond gets licensing friendly?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft continues to surprise by being one of the most aggressive large software vendors on the virtualized software licensing front. The giant this week revealed a new licensing scheme that should save some customers money, if they use VMware or Microsoft's own Virtual Server partitioning products.

In the past, Microsoft would charge users of its server software for a four processor license if they ran the software on a four-processor box. The policy makes sense for most customers, but some who were divvying up their processor power via partitioning software found the terms unacceptable. After all, they were running BizTalk Server on a two-way virtual machine and not the whole four-processor box, so the argument goes.

As of December, Microsoft plans to charge customers on a per instance instead of per processor model. This scheme will cover products such as SQL Server, BizTalk Server, Internet Security Accelerator Server and other server software. Most impressively, it will apply whether you run Virtual Server or rival VMware virtual machine software, which is much more popular than Microsoft's code.

The sharp cookies out there will have noticed that there's a catch here. If you're a virtual machine god and have, say, six instances of SQL Server running on a four-processor box, then you're actually going to pay more under the new system. You're paying for all six instances. You're also, however, running pretty puny databases and certainly in the minority.

Microsoft will also only charge customers for the instances of a product running at a given time. This means customers can set up clusters or other virtualized mechanisms and not pay for redundant copies of the server software. Now that's forward thinking.

Microsoft's VP of pricing Brent Callinicos elaborates,

"First, we are licensing by running instance, which is to say the number of images, installations and/or copies of the original software stored on a local or storage network. Instead of licensing every inactive or stored virtual instance of a Windows Server System product, customers can now create and store an unlimited number of instances, including those for back-up and recovery, and only pay for the maximum number of running instances at any given time.

"Second, we are providing easier deployment across servers. Customers can now move active instances from one licensed server to another licensed server without limitation, as long as the physical server is licensed for that same product. So, customers will now be able to store a set of instances on a storage network and deploy any instance to a rack server or blade server that has an available license for that server software."

But wait! There's more!

Microsoft has also kicked off a new policy for Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition that will let customers buy a single license and run up to four virtual instances at no extra cost. When the Datacenter Edition of Longhorn Server ships, that policy will extend to cover an unlimited number of virtual instances.

Close Microsoft watchers will recall that the company was one of the first big software makers to say that it would treat new dual-core processors as a single chip in per processor licensing schemes. At the time, this move put Microsoft in select company. Most of the enterprise software makers preferred to charge on a per-core model and keep bringing in the big bucks.

Since then, the likes of BEA, IBM and Oracle have made some licensing concessions as well.

Now, Microsoft has taken a near leadership position with regard to virtualized server software. Why?

Well, for one, it helps the company compete against members of the Unix and Linux world. Sun Microsystems, for example, lets customers run tons of Solaris 10 instances on a server at no extra charge today. In addition, Sun has thrown out the per processor licensing model for server software all together, picking a per employee scheme instead.

Linux makers too have tended to let customers use as many copies of their OSes as they like on a given system. Open source software makers generally have smaller franchises to protect than the likes of Oracle or BEA and could use a licensing edge to win business.

Lastly, you'll notice that Microsoft's plan helps promote some of its underachieving products such as Virtual Server, code that goes up against an Oracle or BEA and its high-end versions of Windows Server. Maybe being nice on the licensing front instead of a Beast will win new business. Has Microsoft actually learned from past mistakes?

Microsoft has a fancy feature on its new policies ready for you here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Hey - who wants 4.8 TERABYTES almost AS FAST AS MEMORY?
China's Memblaze says they've got it in PCIe. Yow
IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!
Don't be so sure, so-surers
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
This time it's SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO
If the web giants need it to work, hey, maybe it'll work
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.