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SQL Server is a significant blind spot in software licensing compliance, the Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) has warned IT departments.
Although Microsoft provides tools to help customers identify software in use, such as SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager), these are configuration-centric and require considerable manual interpretation to decipher licensing requirements, the CCL warned.
A survey conducted by the organisation found that 50% of respondents had no SAM (software asset management) tool in place and 65% had no tools for managing Microsoft SQL Server.
Respondents said software licensing was desktop-centric, and SQL Server was considered a significant audit blind spot.
The CCL warned that the speed of change, pace of innovation and complexity of modern licence agreements mean that customers without adequate tracking put themselves at a significant disadvantage, both in terms of negotiating competitive terms and the agility required to meet customer demands.
IT departments that cannot adequately track the usage of Microsoft products are at a disadvantage because they are not in a good position to select the most competitive and suitable licence model for their requirements and so make strategic procurement decisions, it said.
The CCL warned that a combination of Microsoft licensing complexity and the immature nature of customer internal software management controls leaves the customer reliant on Microsoft for decision-making.
Microsoft offers reviews via its partners for customers to establish an effective licensing position, but the CCL said these are sales-driven activities aimed at identifying any gaps and driving customers towards new technology and longevity in the contract.
“We believe these SAM engagements make customers numb to their real licensing requirements and encourage immature software management processes,” it added.
The CCL study also highlighted the complexity of Microsoft licensing.
Microsoft has many different customer types, and licensing flexibility allows them to build solutions for different types of customer at the right price, but there is a dire shortage of clear licensing information to support customers attempting to navigate this complexity, the CCL said.
“The overwhelming feedback from our research suggests that Microsoft licensing complexity, designed to give customers choice, is stunting their own growth and getting in the way of customer innovation,” it added.