Feeds

Microsoft blesses Datacenter users with limitless OS copies

Go virtual, go nuts

Boost IT visibility and business value

Microsoft, of all companies, continues to lead the way with free and loose licensing terms around server virtualization software and multi-core processors.

As of Oct 1, Windows Server Datacenter Edition operating system customers will have the right to run "an unlimted number of virtualized Windows Server instances." This policy applies to licenses covering new servers and previous licenses upgraded with new version rights. All told, it means that you pay to run Windows Server Datacenter Edition on a server with a set number of processors and can then divvy that box up with any combination of Windows Server Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition and/or Datacenter Edition without needing to count the number of virtual machines being created or pay for extra Windows Server licenses.

Customers playing with server virtualization software have long complained about the licensing ambiguities that come with running multiple operating systems and applications on a single machine or "pool" of servers.

The one-to-one relationships that once existed between servers and applications has started to erode. In truly virtualized data centers, applications can be moved from server to server depending on demand or failures, and software is spread across all systems in a much more fluid manner.

Some companies such as Cassatt offer tracking services to see how often a customer, for example, uses their Java application server software, what kinds of systems the software runs on and how many users are being served. With such data, customers can then hypothetically go to BEA or IBM and claim they should only pay for X number of application server licenses.

Microsoft's new model could make this simpler on the operating system front by not forcing customers to keep track of any server slicing minutiae.

Redmond has made similar moves on the multi-core processor front, saying customers need only count the number of "chips" they have in a system rather than individual cores for per processor licensing schemes.

These liberal policies have proved shocking to some who associate Microsoft with licensing shenanigans and vice-like software purchasing plans. Microsoft, however, is the underdog in the server virtualization game at the moment. It's far behind leader VMware in terms of market share and behind all major rivals from a pure technology perspective. So it needs to play nice.

In addition, Microsoft's moves could help it gain traction against the IBM/Oracle/Unix (IOU) crowd that have proved more reticent to adjust their software pricing models. Hence the focus on the Datacenter Edition.

You can find Microsoft's official announcement of the licensing change here and some kudos from virtualization player SWsoft here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.