Circular IT series - eG Innovations: Zero waste strategies via flexible ISV licensing

This is a guest post for Computer Weekly’s ‘Circular IT’ series written by Rachel Berry in her role as technical product specialist at eG Innovations – a company known for its cloud-based application performance and IT-Infrastructure monitoring solutions.

Today we know that many IT companies have adopted a strategy and ethos that favours sustainable practices, not only because it is usually the right thing and resonates with customers’ values – but also because of the hard practical financial benefits. 

Eliminating waste has always been at the heart of agile and lean business processes and reducing physical waste is no longer optional within many of the regulatory frameworks that organisations operate within. 

Given these truths, how should we progress on the road ahead and how can zero waste strategies with flexible ISV licensing help? 

Berry writes as follows to analyze and explain…

Conceptually, the way forward here is a model easily explained by implementations such as the recycling and repurposing of hardware such as end-user laptops

Circularity blockers

Most businesses are enthusiastic about doing the right thing and adopting sustainable practices that make a lot of common sense; however poor ISV (Independent Software Vendor) licensing options are often a blocker to adopting circularity – if adopting sustainable practices incurs large additional software costs, projects can stall. Mostly this happens when software licensing is inflexible and organisations are faced with excessive costs if they adopt new hardware practices, such as repurposing old hardware or moving services to a low or zero-carbon cloud. 

A monitoring platform (for example, or any other similarly pitched enterprise software management product for that matter) that covers both applications and hardware infrastructure for end-to-end control and AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) engine driven root-cause analysis could provide an answer i.e. if customers change their hardware and software stacks, they need a product that can continue to deliver the same functionality (in this case, to monitor their IT and help them troubleshoot the problems) and cover their new choices. Moreover, they do not want to have to buy new products or be left with licenses for a product tied to their old choices.  

We are very conscious of our customers’ desire to eliminate waste and adopt sustainable processes and these are values and goals we share. As such we have adapted and tuned our licensing models to be compatible with and encourage the type of change and migration associated with circular IT practices. Agnostic cross-vendor agnostic products have a significant role in enabling key processes in a circular economy, particularly in areas like maintenance, adoption of product-as-a-service and refurbishment or repurposing. 

Focus on ‘things’

What businesses need are licenses that can be applied to ‘things’, whatever a customer are using. If a customer is using one product to work with an on-premises Oracle databases, they should be free to transfer those licenses as and when they choose an Amazon RDS (Relational Database Services) service database instead.

Berry: You would assume flexible license transfers would be ubiquitous – but it’s not always so.

It sounds an amazingly simple concept… and you would assume flexible license transfers would be ubiquitous, but it is incredibly common for software vendors providing functionality such as monitoring, image management and storage to lock vendors to particular hardware models and/or software stacks.  

Often IT projects encounter obstacles and unplanned for extra costs with the need to purchase additional licenses or to license new products because their new sustainable choices are not supported by their existing software choices or processes. Often organisations have relied on a motley collection of native software tools provided by vendors for their own products, a server or database vendor will often throw in free monitoring and troubleshooting for their own product partly to facilitate support but also as lock-in tool to tie you to their product with some level of features you will become reliant on. Many smaller vendors are essentially start-ups that have found a niche centred around a particular pain-point or vendor and simply don’t have the breadth of technologies covered to support changes such as shifting hardware infrastructure to the cloud.  

For the end-user and business a circular-IT strategy can benefit from establishing a long-term strategic plan for certain functionalities such as monitoring, support ticketing systems, management and so on – things and functions you will always need but don’t necessarily know yet what hardware or infrastructure they will be applied to.

Sanity checks

A few quick sanity checks you can apply: 

  • Can I use this product on a different technology e.g. an AWS or Azure service replacing my on-prem server/database in the future?
  • When adopting this hardware/software, am I implicitly tying myself to native tools or can I integrate this into vendor and technology agnostic workflows and products?
  • Is the licensing on this software flexible enough and the product scope broad enough to support changes I may make?
  • Could I move from Citrix VDI on-premises to Microsoft AVD in Azure with my licenses?
  • Am I buying software to solve a niche problem with a specific piece of hardware or software?
  • Can it cover the possible replacements for that particular thing in the future?  

In many cases licensing is an artificial limitation and shelfware a manifestation of ISVs’ business interests or simply a lack of focus on how important sustainability now is. Many companies do want to do the right thing and, in the area of monitoring as we have obviously touched on more than once here, working with customers to ensure change doesn’t incur unnecessary costs is proving a sound business model.

About the company

Over 200+ different technologies are supported by eG Enterprise, see: IT Monitoring Technologies & Supported Platforms | eG Innovations, licenses can be repurposed and transferred between technologies to allow you to monitor anything – cloud, network, systems, applications, virtualization, storage etc. With integrations into dozens of third-party applications. Licenses required for APM, unified monitoring, or enterprise application monitoring are based on the number of operating systems, storage devices and hypervisors you need to monitor. What a customer chooses to monitor and how they repurpose their licenses to fit with their circular-IT goals is entirely up to them. 

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