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Licensed to BILL: How much should you cough for software licences?

Nobody really knows - so we all get screwed

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Storagebod “Yet another change to a licensing model. You can bet it’s not going to work out any cheaper for me," was the first thought that flickered through my mind during a presentation about GPFS 4.1 at the GPFS UG meeting in London.

This started up another train of thought: in this new world of software-defined storage, how should the software be licensed? And how should the value be reflected?

Should we be moving to a capacity-based model? Should I get charged per terabyte of storage being “managed”? Or perhaps per server that has this software-defined storage presented to it? Perhaps per socket? Per core? But what if I’m running at hyperscale?

And if I fully embrace a programmatic provisioning model that dynamically changes the storage configuration, does any model make any sense apart from some kind of flat-fee, all-you-can-eat model?

Chatting to a few people, it seems that no one really has any idea what the licensing model should look like. Funnily enough, it is this sort of thing which could really de-rail ServerSAN and Software Defined Storage: it’s not going to be a technical challenge but if the licensing model gets too complex, hard to manage and generally too costly, it is going to fail.

Of course, inevitably someone is going to pop-up and mention open source … and I will simply point out that Red Hat makes quite a lot of money out of open source; you pay for support based on some kind of model. Cost of acquisition is just a part of IT infrastructure spend.

So what is a reasonable price? Anyone?

Bootnote

If you are a GPFS user in the UK, you should attend the GPFS UG meeting next time it's on. It's probably the best UG meeting I’ve been at for a long time.

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