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Archive for January, 2010

Microsoft: Giving away the server farms

Jan 24 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip

For those of you with a large number of servers, Microsoft has made some changes in its licensing in the past year to accommodate virtualization. You can license by server farm, instead of by server. Microsoft customers are able to reassign licenses freely across servers within that server farm, but only for certain server applications. It does not apply to software licenses for the Windows Server operating system, Client Access Licenses (CALs), User Subscription Licenses (USLs), Device Subscription Licenses (DSLs), Add-on Subscription Licenses (Add-on SLs), or Management Licenses (MLs). You must purchase applications through the volume licensing program as well; those purchased through retail outlets are not covered under this same rule.

What exactly is a server farm? Definition: A server farm consists of up to two data centers with each physically located in the following areas:

  • In a time zone that is within four hours of the local time zone of the other (Coordinated Universal Time [UTC] and not DST), and/or
  • Within the European Union (EU) and/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  • Each data center may be part of only one server farm. You may reassign a data center from one server farm to another, but not on a short-term basis (that is, not within 90 days of the last assignment). You must meet the qualifications of a server farm in order to reassign freely, as long as you are not running the same application at the same time on two separate servers. Otherwise, you must maintain the standard 90-day waiting period to reassign applications.

    Knowing your Peak Capacity

    Jan 21 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Virtualization

    One important rule in server licensing (especially in the Microsoft environment) is understanding your peak capacity. Very simply, you must be licensed for the maximum usage of your server – the maximum number of running instances. Even if you, for example, only ever need one instance, but there is a possibility at some point there will be two instances run on that server at the same time – it needs to be licensed for two.

    The number of instances that can be run on a server at one time will vary based on the version you have. For example, Windows Server 2008 Standard only allows one instance at a time, where the Enterprise version allows four and the Datacenter version is unlimited.

    It’s very important to know what the maximum instances running will be in order to properly license and remain in compliance.

    Virtualization Licensing Tip: Parallels’ Virtuozzo

    Jan 19 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Virtualization

    When using Parallels’ Virtuozzo on a single physical server, silos are created (running instances  that act as the host operating system). Because of this, Virtuozzo is unable to run more than one edition of Windows Server on the physical server. With some products, Microsoft will allow you to run different editions of Server 2008 on different Operating System Environments (OSEs), but in the case of Virtuozzo, you (obviously) cannot take advantage of this.

    If you are running all instances through the host operating system, all instances are exposed to all physical processors in the server, and therefore must be licensed on a per processor basis. That’s a lot of licensing, baby.

    Client Access Licenses (CALs) and External Connectors

    Jan 14 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Virtualization

    With most Microsoft servers in a virtualized environment, there are two types of licenses that you can, and in some cases must, acquire – Client Access Licenses (CAL) and External Connectors (EC). The requirements for both are the same – one is required for each device that accesses an instance of server software. This can be on either a physical or virtual server.

    For example, if you have an employee who needs access to the physical server on some occasions and also requires access from an external location (they travel frequently, work from home, etc) the server must have both a CAL and an EC license. You may also reassign EC licenses to different users and servers, within a 90-day period. There are exceptions to this rule, such as in a server farm.

    EC licenses have become a necessity as more workforces move to the cloud and have greater mobility that they did 10 years ago.

    Virtualization Licensing Tip: VMware’s ESX

    Jan 11 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Virtualization

    If you have implemented VMware’s ESX on your server as the core virtualization technology, a license is required for every instance running in the virtual environment. If you have only assigned one license to Windows Server 2008 Standard while using ESX, you may only run one instance of the software at a time. Windows Server 2008 cannot be deployed as the operating system in the physical environment since ESX takes its place.

    If you have the Enterprise version – you are permitted to run four instances at a time only, taking into account that the normal circumstances of being able to run a fifth instance on hardware virtualization software and software managing and servicing the OSEs on the server does not apply.

    Virtualization Rights: Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

    Jan 07 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Virtualization

    Datacenter is the ultimate package – you must license every physical processor in a server, but then you are allowed to run the software in the physical environment and an unlimited number of virtual environments on the licensed server. You are also granted an unlimited number of simultaneous running instances on a licensed server. This makes licensing much easier to deal with as you don’t have to track instances across your servers and worry about being under-licensed.

    You are also permitted to run any software or application you have licensed in the physical environment.

    While this sounds like a dream come true, you still need to do your due diligence to ensure you’re getting the right package, licensing, etc.

    Virtualization Rights: Windows Server 2008 Enterprise

    Jan 05 2010: Published by under Microsoft Licensing Compliance,Microsoft Licensing Tip,Virtualization

    The enterprise version of Windows Server 2008 differs from the Standard version because it grants you the right to run the software on one server in one physical operating environment with up to four simultaneous virtual environments instead of only one virtual environment.

    Compliance Validation Best Practices

    Jan 04 2010: Published by under Cost Containment/Negotiation,Enterprise Agreement,Oracle Licensing Compliance

    Get it in writing. Get all assumptions clarified and then confirmed in writing. You don’t want to assume anything and any discussion or email in which you are getting the best leverage should be mentioned in detail within your agreement. We see a lot of our clients – even the largest Oracle enterprise – treat emails and verbal discussions as legally binding agreements, which is untrue in the case of an Oracle software licensing agreement. It is not up to the sales person to remember what he/she promised you or what concessions were discussed and agreed upon. It is up to you to remember and make it legally binding.

    Confirm assumptions with examples. For example, your SLA may state that you have worldwide usage rights. You assume that you can use your Oracle product anytime, anywhere. However, that would very likely be an incorrect assumption. You should inquire whether the worldwide usage rights are affected by:

    • where the users reside
    • where the software resides
    • location of servers
    • client location and usage

    We often drill down to these small, but extremely important, details during the discussions we have with Oracle on behalf of our clients. When you clarify all the assumptions, the last step is to ensure that there is language within your SLA that defines usage more clearly.

    Never assume a License Usage Right. If you think that your Oracle license allows you specific actions or specific functions, you need to check your SLA. For example, if you have eBusiness Suite and you assumed that the collection module was included in the accounts receivable functionality (which is reasonable). The collections module is actually a separate module and a separate cost.

    Never assume that the vendor doesn’t know. We have many companies come to us for the first time and they tell us about a yet-to-be disclosed data warehouse launch, a merger or company acquisition, layoffs, or other major corporate changes. Often, the company believes that Oracle doesn’t know about it and they want to know what their SLA options are. However, don’t be too sure of that. With larger companies, it’s not too hard to find information about the organization including the inner workings and operations.

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