Kickstarting the Discussion
"They picked a wiser approach to software licensing to start the ball rolling by recognizing that a server is not going to be running just one instance of an operating systems," she said. "I think other vendors are going to have to sit down and immediately start making adjustments," Lewis said.The decision will also likely add more movement toward alternative licensing models such as site licenses, or per user license, she said. The new policy may actually help Microsoft sell more copies of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition rather than the Standard Edition if customers are convinced the new policy will provide more value for their money, Lewis said. But the licensing policies have to change as more IT organizations start to move toward virtualization and providing computing services on a utility model, she said. "Within a year we are going to see a huge movement," of revised licensing policies to accommodate virtualization as software companies review their policies in light of Microsofts decision, she said. "I dont think you are going to see five press releases in the next two weeks," but as the next year progresses there will be more announcements in this area, Lewis said. Database, grid computing, storage management, system management and security software are among the technology categories that will have to respond to the Microsoft announcement, she said. The licensing model that Microsoft is implementing "seems to be the way to go" to enable customers to get the best utilization of the systems they have in place while complying with licensing terms, said Paul Oliphant, application support manager with the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It certainly appears that software "licensing is going to be the bottleneck" that impedes the implementation of virtualized IT systems, just as licensing impeded the implementation of grid computing, Oliphant said. Click here to read about Microsofts new security alliance. However, Microsofts new policy will have little short-term impact on the University of Wisconsins IT infrastructure. "In the university environment we are a little bit behind the curve than private industry in the virtualization field," he said. But it will likely examine the potential of the technology at some point, he added. Microsofts virtualization policy comes none too soon because some "people have been struggling with that issue for a long time," said Nelson Ruest, a consultant with Resolutions Enterprises, an IT consulting firm based in Victoria, British Columbia. The licensing policy is going to help convince some organizations that this is the time to start exploring virtualization, clustered servers, grid computing, Ruest said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
"But they arent necessarily going to do it happily, because it is far different from what they are used to doing," she said.