Cisco modifies licensing for unified communications platform

The changes are aimed at making licensing of Unified Communications Release 9.0 more flexible

Cisco Systems is modifying the licensing options for its Unified Communications Manager's UC Release 9.0 in an attempt to simplify the process and make the use of a variety of client devices easier, the company said on Thursday.

For starters, Cisco is removing the requirement that UC licenses be anchored to the acquisition of Cisco IP phones, and is instead moving to what the company describes as "software only" licensing. This will allow customers to interact with the Cisco telephony platform via other devices like PCs, tablets and smartphones.

"We want to make the licensing model a user-centric one, not device centric, as it has been until now," said Roberto De La Mora, a Cisco UC senior director.

Cisco is also including with every UC sale its new Enterprise Licensing Manager (ELM) application, which has been designed to make it easier for customers to monitor and change their companies' UC licenses.

In addition, Cisco has consolidated its UC bundles from eight to three, while adding more collaboration products to each, according to the company.

De La Mora said that the company will still sell custom-configured bundles to customers who prefer them.

"The flexibility of buying a-la-carte still exists," he said. "You can still do that and we'll offer a competitive price."

Cisco said back in late June and early July that it planned to modify UC licensing, and had given some indications of what it was planning to do.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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