Datacenter server virtualization is an effective means of reducing hardware, power and maintenance costs. But virtualization can dramatically increase the probability of software license non-compliance, for several reasons:
- the ease of duplicating operating systems and applications in virtual machines
- virtual machine mobility—moving them from one physical host to another
- the complexity of software license terms for virtual environments
While launching a new virtual machine—a virtual computer with all the software—takes seconds, each application and operating system on each virtual machine is subject to vendor license terms, which may include special virtual use rights and restrictions.
Server virtualization problematic license types and rules include:
- Device-specific software license models: These tie the software license to a particular computer and may also impose move restrictions. With this kind of license, the dynamic load balancing that is sometimes used in VMware environments can cause a non-compliance situation
- Processor-based software license models: These software licenses require details of the physical processor(s) in order to determine license compliance, but on a virtual machine the hardware details are often hidden by the hypervisor
- Virtual machines per host software license rules: These allow the software to run on a certain number of virtual machines for each physical machine with a valid license
FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises includes VMware discovery and inventory capabilities, making it the only Software License Optimization solution with comprehensive functionality for discovering, identifying, and determining license entitlements for software in a virtualized world. Understanding which applications are running in a virtualized environment is an essential requirement to being able to ensure continuous compliance with your software license agreements.