MS to unveil new licensing policies for virtual machines

Microsoft expected to tie licenses to virtual machines rather than to physical ones

Virtualization industry observers expect Microsoft to eliminate a licensing restriction that has hampered the mobility of virtual servers, perhaps as soon as next week.

Under current Microsoft rules, software running on a virtual machine is licensed based on the physical server. This can be problematic because of technologies such as VMware's VMotion, which can move virtual machines from one physical server to another without causing downtime.

Microsoft considers a VMotion move a license transfer, and prevents customers from making such a transfer more than once every 90 days.

"You may reassign a software license, but not on a short-term basis (i.e., not within 90 days of the last assignment)," Microsoft says in a licensing policy document for Windows Server 2003.

This 90-day restriction also applies to SQL Server 2005 and Exchange Server 2007.

"Technically, the virtual machine would have to remain on the same physical machine for three months," says Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf, who has written extensively about licensing on virtual servers and urges vendors to lift such restrictions.

In an interview last month, Wolf predicted that Microsoft would respond to customer concerns and eliminate the 90-day restriction, and instead tie licenses to virtual machines rather than physical ones. "Within a few months we're going to see those changes," he said. "I believe the 90-day restriction will go away."

It could happen as soon as next Tuesday. In an interview with Network World last month, Patrick O'Rourke, group product manager at Microsoft, discussed the 90-day restriction and said Microsoft is considering licensing changes that would give customers more flexibility in reassigning virtual machines.

Just this week, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company will announce licensing changes next Tuesday.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?