I raised the question about virtualisation in production a few daya ago because I’ve been researching an article for Computer Weekly about licensing following a podcast interview I conducted with Gartner’s Alexa Bona.
I’m sure there are people running products like VMWare and Xen in production. But, I’ve heard from a number of readers that software licensing can be a deal breaker.
Why? Well, some companies like Oracle don’t recognise software partitions:
soft partitioning is not permitted as a means to determine or limit the number of software licenses required for any given server.
If you decide that it would be a good idea to buy an eight-way server then use VMWare to deploy the Oracle 10g database server on two of those processor, Oracle will charge you for all eight. Your licence fee is four times as much.
It’s not just Oracle. Look at how IBM licences Lotus Domino:
Sub-capacity licensing is currently not offered for Lotus Domino software except for Lotus Domino for the IBM z/OS operating system
IBM uses the term processor value units to describe its processor-based licensing.
Lotus Domino server licensing is determined by the processor value units associated with the physically available and active capacity of each machine on which the Lotus Domino software is deployed
Both Oracle and IBM’s licensing seem to reduce the value of server consolidation and virtualisation. Sure you reduce on hardware costs and improve server efficiency. But you end up paying through the nose in licence fees too. So I wonder how the people running VMWare or Xen in production handle such licensing?