Microsoft slackens VM licensing rules
Give 'em enough rope...
Microsoft will relax its virtual machine licensing policy to make it easier for businesses to move a VM freely about physical servers.
The widely expected change will be implemented at the start of next month. It will apply to 41 server applications on the MS roster, including the enterprise version of SQL Server 2008, standard and enterprise editions of Exchange Server 2007 and assorted flavours of Dynamics CRM 4.0.
At the moment a customer must reassign the licence for software such as Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2005, and Exchange Server 2007 if they want to move the code to a different physical server. Microsoft also currently restricts a transfer between physical hosts to once every 90 days.
Today the firm announced it will lift those cumbersome limitations on 1 September. It also plans to cough up support for businesses that run its software inside rival virtualisation platforms such as VMware, Citrix and Novell, as well as of course its own hypervisor, Hyper-V.
Microsoft has to date been unsurprisingly protective of its software. But the evolving and increasingly lucrative V game has forced the firm to open its arms to its price hike-obsessed competitors. And, by allowing that chink of light to shine on VMs, Microsoft has finally acknowledged the important role virtualisation plays in the future of its own server software.
As might be expected from the software giant, it’s waited for everyone else to put in the hard slog before making its own play over licensing. The firm’s server and tools biz director for virtualisation Zane Adam prefers to see that Johnny-come-lately move as “innovative”.
"Businesses are taking steps to make their IT operations more dynamic and are delving into virtualization as a cornerstone strategy," he said. "Microsoft recognises this and is innovating its licensing policies, product support, and a wide range of IT solutions to help customers get virtual now."
Of course, it could also help the firm flog more copies of Hyper-V. ®
The true litmus for virtualisation is consolidating Microsoft licensing cost without increasing license management overhead or license risk exposure.
When the posters above truly mature into this technology, they will find value in what VMWare calls "Virtual Desktop Infrastructure". Those posters should then find that the Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD) connection license is the only* legal way that they can run virtual instances of Microsoft's Desktop Windows OS (VECD is downgraded to allow XP to be deployed) under their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. Further, they should find that VECD is a per end user device license (including per public Internet terminal) and not a per virtual image license and that VECD costs more (becomes a different class of VECD) if the accessing end user device is not a Microsoft Windows based PC. Ultimately those posters should find a number of other caveats, that I won't spoil for your (ask your Reseller), which should help to remove the value that they thought they had once found.
* A Google search will show that one US hardware vendor has sold Microsoft Windows XP OEM licenses based on the server hardware/BIOS serial numbering that was to eventually be used for the Virtual Server Software that would run the Desktop OS images.
I have literally dozens of customers who have successfully implemented virtualisation.
One recently went down from 44 old servers to 4 new ones, using VMware - VMotion on shared storage. Performance is up, the refresh cost less than 50% of a non-virtual refresh and the maintenance costs are a fraction of what the customer was originally looking at.
As for the mainframes and AIX, I'm keeping food on my table and clothing my family by taking these dinosaurs out of customers' data centres and migrating them to X86 platforms. It's old school to think that SAP, Oracle etc cannot run well - and cost effectively on anything but big iron. Replacing Sun/HP Unix with AIX is out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Even Oracle runs Oracle and hosts Oracle on X86. Watch your back...
A few people have already responded to your post but I feel so strongly about how wrong you are that I feel compeled to chip in too.
Sure any business that has such things as "Virtualisation Goals" is doomed to failure. VM is a tool. You shouldnt have goals to use tools. Same can be said about SaaS , offshoring or other trends.
You should be looking at solving problems and if VM is the most cost effective tool for the job then you should use it, but the tool shouldnt drive your business.
We use VM effectively. We have two servers serving a total of 9 VM machines. Each machine has fairly light use, ie document management, source control, fault management etc. So for us VM has meant that we can keep things managable by having the different functions on different VM machines, yet dont have the hardware costs , rack usage or power consumption issues associated with 9 real machines.
We also use VM for development and testing.
I'm not advocating that everyone should use VM, I am just pointing out that its a good tool and certainly not a gimmic.
Your "Virtualisation Goals" is the problem. You should have goals that reflect business objectives like reduce cost and increase uptime. VM may offer the answer but maybe not, maybe the answer is upgrading hardware, or using a SaaS service or something.
As for the actual topic, it was only a matter of time before M$ acknowledged that licensing needs to be done differently with the advent of large scale adoption of VM.