(from our CEO Serguei Beloussov)
We know that the implications of virtualization technology on software licensing are huge. I wrote about this in an opinion column, http://news.com.com/Rethinking+software+licensing/2010-1012_3-6110449.html.
Just recently, Microsoft took a step in the right direction for the users of virtualization technology. In a change effective October 1, Microsoft licensing for the Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter edition running on servers with two or more processors are allowed an unlimited number of virtualized servers. As Microsoft notes (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/news/bulletins/datacenterhighavail.mspx), “Unlimited virtualization rights significantly extend the savings customers can realize through server consolidation on the Windows Server platform.”
To quote from a famous phrase that has surfaced in the news again this week, “This is one small step for (a) man and one giant leap for mankind.” We, at SWsoft, applaud what Microsoft has done, which is the best interest of customers. At the same time, it must be noted that there is still much to be done by Microsoft and every software company to clarify licensing for the users of virtualization technology – especially operating system-level virtualization, such as SWsoft Virtuozzo.
With high-performance, highly-efficient Virtuozzo software that offers much greater density per server than other virtualization technologies, this revised Microsoft licensing is particularly good news and of greater value for customers. While the Microsoft move is a good step in the right direction, there is still a need to enable virtualization friendly licensing for Enterprise and Standard Editions of Windows Server. Further, our customers expected Microsoft to treat virtual environments (VEs) very differently from virtual machines (VMs) since they leverage one Windows instance and not multiple ones.
This issue isn’t going away and given the industry sales for virtualization technology and, in particular, our own at SWsoft this is becoming a more pressing issue every day. We’re encouraging software suppliers to re-think traditional licensing strategies to provide more clarity for users of virtualization technology. We maintain virtualization actually benefits software suppliers because it allows for new usage scenarios and could increase their license revenue – while at the same time decreasing cost per user for their customers.
We encourage customers to check license agreements carefully and negotiate hard with suppliers. We’re at an inflection point as the uptake in virtualization technology increases rapidly with high stakes for software suppliers and users alike.
Serguei Beloussov, CEO
(commentary from me)
To make the long story short, Microsoft vastly simplified virtualization licensing for Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition. You can run unlimited number of virtual environments – regardless of the server virtualization technology - yet pay only for a single OS license.
This is good news for VMware users – they don’t have to pay for or track usage of per-VM OS licenses.
And here is why this is also VERY good news for Virtuozzo. People will inevitably start looking at Virtuozzo trying to maximize usage of the “free” Windows licenses.
With “free” licensing, it makes sense to buy a very powerful server – 8+ CPUs, 16+ GB of RAM and try to run as many Windows OS instances on it as possible. And it is the OS virtualization technology (Virtuozzo) – with much greater density, much more efficient application management and much more sophisticated resource management - that really does the best job here. The funny thing also is that unlimited licensing encourages people to create homogeneous environments – why waste any computing power on running Linux on a machine that can run an additional instance of Windows for free? And, if you start moving towards all-Windows machines, you don’t really need Xen or VMware – Virtuozzo will do everything, only cheaper, faster and more efficiently.