Monday, May 15, 2006

Software Licensing and Virtualization

Any organization looking to deploy server virtualization technology needs to look very carefully at the application and operating system mix it has in use. If Windows servers are an important part of the mix it is ciritical to look at the use of Windows server technology because it has a major impact on your cost structure. Microsoft has recognized the trend to virtualization and is moving aggressively to provide solutions, such as Virtual Server 2005 R2. In order to encourage adoption of it's virtualization technology Microsoft has had to make changes to it's licensing model. The company has made major changes to simplify licensing in a virtual environment. However, it is essential that you look carefully at your physical and virtual configurations and assess how this drives your licensing costs. Small changes in your server farm configuration can yield large savings. Don't overlook the OS and application licensing aspect of any server virtualization strategy. Failure to consider the implications can lead to major cost impacts that significantly effect the return on investment and on going operating costs for a virtualized infrastructure. Licensing impacts to consider: - Per processor licensing for applications such as Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2004, SQL Server 2005 or ISA Server 2004 will be driven by the number of virtual processors configured, regardless of the number of physical processors on the host system. - Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition is licensed for one physical and up to four virtual instances. - You can't reassign licenses on a short-term basis (less than 90 days). - Each blade or hardware partition in a multi-bllade chassis is considered to be a separate physical server and requires appropriate licensing. Calculating license requirements, particularly in a dynamic environment, can become a complex task, but one that must be done carefully to avoid incurring unnecessary cost.

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