Feeds

How many VMs are on your LAN – and how sure are you?

Server sprawl is virtually back

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Server virtualisation is taking companies back to the bad old days when they had no idea how many PCs and servers they had, because employees were buying them unchecked.

Now it is all too easy to run up a new virtual Windows server, without realising that under Microsoft's rules, each virtual machine (VM) needs its own software licence. As a result, company bosses risk being hit with large fines for running unlicensed systems, warns Walter Scott, the CEO of backup software developer Acronis.

"Right now people are bringing up machines without management knowing – in my company we had 12 added without my knowledge," he said. "We see a lot of customers trying to balance their VM count – they're losing control of it. It's like the server sprawl we saw 10 or 15 years ago.

"My concern is people will bring up unlicenced machines, and that's a big fine for wilful infringement."

He suggested this could even be one reason why Microsoft has sought to limit the number of times a Windows licence can be moved from server to server as part of a VM.

"I think software asset management is why Microsoft is changing its licensing," he said. "My understanding is that you're only allowed to move a VM so many times a year, they own't let you move it to and fro."

He pointed out that you can't find VMs with a physical asset check - you have to audit the network and hope they are online.

Even then, much network auditing software was written with physical servers in mind, and it can have problems detecting VMs, simply because it is not looking for the right things.

Craig Isaacs, president of Neon Software, said that while it is no problem for his LANsurveyor auditing tool to track VMs once they have been detected, it needed work to enable it to pick them up in the first place.

"We put special hooks into LANsurveyor for discovering and identifying VMs because people were having so many problems with understanding exactly what was running on their networks," he explained.

"In most cases it actually is no more difficult to discover the VMs and what's on them," agreed Francis Sullivan, CTO of Spiceworks, which is about to release a new version of its free IT management and discovery software.

"Of course, just like physical assets, people can configure them incorrectly making them undiscoverable or they can do that intentionally," he said. "The good news is that that's a small percent of the time."

Isaacs added that it's possible a VM won't be spotted on the first scan, particularly if attempts have been made to hide it, although a continuous network scan should pick it up later.

The irony in all this is that Walter Scott's company is at least partly responsible for the growing virtual sprawl and his resulting sleepless nights – as part of its backup mission, Acronis sells software that makes it easy to convert physical servers into virtual and vice versa. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.