Tool helps users sidestep virtual licensing breach

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Tool helps users sidestep virtual licensing breach

Arif Mohamed

A virtualisation supplier has developed a product it claims will solve the software licensing issues that arise when users run multiple instances of an operating system or application in violation of their licensing agreements.

US supplier SWSoft has started to sell its Virtuozzo software in the UK. Virtuozzo virtualises the operating system, so the user only requires a single installation and activation licence.

Virtuozzo isolates an application or a group of related applications in a virtual environment. In effect, it creates multiple copies of the operating system's configuration settings, one for each virtual environment.

This provides an illusion of a complete operating system environment - with its own registry, file system, TCP/IP addresses, and so on.

Multiple Virtuozzo virtual environments then share the same operating system, for instance, as well as applications that are configured to run virtually.

This differs from established virtualisation alternatives which virtualise the hardware, including the processor. This allows users to run multiple instances of their software, which can contravene certain licensing agreements.

According to Rob Lovell, SWSoft's UK managing director, SWSoft's approach has a lower processing overhead. While other approaches to virtualisation emulate the processor, Virtuozzo links directly to the hardware.

Neil Macehiter, partner at analyst firm Macehiter Ward-Dutton, said the benefit of the SWSoft approach is that there is a reduced burden of operating system instance management, in terms of issues such as patching, licensing costs and administration.

SWSoft's users include Bertelsmann and Siemens.

Read article: New technologies add to software licence headache


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