Macrovision, Platform Tackle Grid Licensing

Grid computing vendor Platform Computing emerges as one of the first ISVs to use Macrovision's FLEXnet Connector, a set of connections that lets ISVs tap directly into Macrovision's platform for managing software licensing.

Macrovision earlier this week rolled out FLEXnet Connector, a set of connections that will enable ISVs to tap directly into Macrovisions FLEXnet platform for managing software licensing, with grid computing vendor Platform Computing standing up as one of the first ISVs to do so.

Platform is hooking up its LSF License Scheduler and LSF Analytics products with FLEXnet Manager through FLEXnet Connector.

Peter Nichol, general manager of electronics at Platform Computing Inc., said the partnership with Macrovision Corp. will result in customers ability to impose business priorities that allow management to prioritize the way software resources are used.

This comes into play in the semiconductor industry, for example, in which a company typically spends much more on software—say, 5 percent to 10 percent of capital costs—than on hardware, which takes up only about 1 percent, Nichol said.

"Look at how things happen today," he said. "Engineers get access to EDA [Electronic Design Automation] licenses on a first-come, first-served basis. He who shouts the loudest gets the most resources. Thats not optimum from a companys point of view. They may be devoting key resources to low-priority projects. Instead, you want to match resources on a priority basis."

The partnership is aimed at removing a large obstacle to the adoption of grid: problematic issues around licensing.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read about the complexities of licensing in a grid computing environment, click here.

William Fellows, an analyst at The 451 Group, said the Platform/Macrovision partnership might help to push the ISV community into supporting more flexible pricing models. "Macrovision was always able to support Platform, but the relationship wasnt always a vice-versa one, and this news gets the two together more," he said.

But just because Macrovision continues to offer new ways to do grid licensing doesnt mean that the ISVs are going to pick up on it, Fellows said. "In some sense, its not as simple as [ISVs] just picking up the latest bit from Macrovision and throwing it into their software or enabling that," he said. "It has to do with the ramifications to different business models: what an ISVs competitor is doing, [for example]."

While the partnership is a step toward solving the challenge of software licensing on grid, Fellows said that in the grander scheme of things, theres a lot of money involved with licensing fees. Until an SAP or an Oracle makes a move, the rest of the industry wont make the jump, he said.

"Its a baby step, but its a good thing," Fellows said. "The challenge to vendors is not to let the issue of software licensing throttle back the momentum in grid computing thats been achieved so far."

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