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Federation Against Software Theft focuses on virtualisation

Cliff Saran

The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) has begun working with the software industry to form a working group to clarify the impact of virtualisation on software licensing.

Many software suppliers have yet to address how to price their software on a virtual server environment. Other companies have licensing that have led to confusion among users. While software companies licensing on a per-user, per-server or per-processor basis, server- and processor-based licensing do not accurately reflect usage when software is run in a virtual environment.

Fast chief executive, John Lovelock, commented, "There is a big gap in understanding what virtualisation really means for organisations looking to adapt the technology - both in terms of the impact it has on the day-to-day running of the business, the possibility of cost savings as well as the potential for ambiguity over licensing agreements with the software publishers."

Among the issues the working will focus on is looking into how to measure usage on virtual environments - technically it is possible but a discovery agent has to be deployed there to identify the software's presence

Lovelock said, "As a representative body we're asking whether software will need to have some kind of agent installed which enables it to recognise a virtual environment. And will virtual licences need to be reclaimed during the disposal process? What we do know, is that there will need to be a combination of processes and tools to control the virtual environment. It is vital at this point that we demand greater clarity from suppliers and look at the potential to canvas virtualisation software vendors for their view on the future direction."





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