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Microsoft slackens VM licensing rules

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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. ®

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