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Do the Math and Save Accountability Adds Up When Managing Software Licenses BY BRIEN POSEY THE

APPROACH THAT organizations use for software license management has remained largely unchanged for many years. Typically,

IT managers count on metering software to determine how many instances of software are installed. That number is then compared against the number of licenses purchased. While this approach has proven to be very effective, it is an inadequate method when managing software licenses for a virtual data center.

Auditing 101 There are two main reasons why traditional license

auditing techniques don’t work very well in a virtual data center. One reason has to do with the rapid proliferation of virtual machines (VMs). Self-service portals have made it possible for administrators and authorized users to create large numbers of VMs in a matter of minutes. Often times, these VMs are transient in nature and are decommissioned (deleted) after a few weeks. This means that if an organization used traditional metering software to perform a software license audit, the audit results would likely be invalid within minutes of its completion.

Another reason why traditional software license

metering techniques are inadequate for a virtual data center is because operating systems (OSes) tend to be licensed differently when virtualization is brought into the picture. In the past, an administrator needed a license for every deployed OS. Today, however, some Windows Server OSes come with multiuse licenses. For example, the Windows Server 2008 Standard edition can be installed on a virtualization host and on 1 virtual server—so long as the host-level OS is only used for running Microsoft Hyper-V. Likewise, the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition is licensed for installation on up to 4 VMs, while the Datacenter edition is licensed for an unlimited number of VMs.

This can be a big problem, because organizations rely

on license metering software to determine how many licenses they need to purchase. If such an application is unaware of the fact that a license may not be required for every OS, then an organization could end up spending a lot more money than it needs to on software licenses.



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