Maintaining software license agreements

Software license agreements must be maintained in virtual machine environments, where VMs can easily be cloned. VARs must track the number of machines licensed as virtual.

Channel takeaway: Setting up a software license agreement for a virtual environment isn't the hardest part of a VAR's job. Once that virtual space has been created, resellers have to maintain, support and track virtual machines to make sure they aren't cloned to proliferate beyond the original licensing agreement.


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Maintaining software licensing compliance is another challenge for VARs. An administrator has a number of options in order to help maintain control over software licensing. But what happens to that control in a virtualized world? Physical restrictions are less of a deterrent in a virtual world with the use of ISO images and the ability to KVM into a virtual machine and control it all the way up front from the POST screen.

But perhaps the biggest problem facing IT administrators is the virtualization platform's ability to clone and replicate virtual machines. Without a method to control the mass duplication and deployment process of virtual machines, an administrator will have a license compliance issue nightmare on his hands.

Within a template or master image of a virtual machine lies a guest operating system as well as any pre-installed software applications, any or all of which may contain a software license and therefore a license restriction. An administrator needs the ability to keep track of how many instances of each image are deployed. If you thought maintaining control over licensing was a chore before virtualization, the problem has just been magnified.

For more tips on the costs of licensing a virtual environment, check out the rest of David Marshall and Dan Knezevic's tip at SearchServerVirtualization.com.

This was first published in May 2007

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