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Managing Licensing Complexities in the Datacenter

Enterprise software licensing has had to evolve as datacenter solutions have matured. The technologies available to run and manage datacenters are extremely advanced, enabling resources to be adapted rapidly to suit business needs.

However, with this amount of flexibility comes risk. The licenses available to cover these technologies are equally flexible and complex so it’s all too easy to become unstuck. Without proper management that could mean non-compliance with licensing agreements, and ultimately a high financial risk in the event of an audit.

But it needn’t be like that. With the right data, insights and licensing know-how, the burden of license management can be significantly reduced.  Just as importantly, stakeholders throughout the business, such as datacenter managers, are empowered to effectively plan datacenter resourcing because they can be fully aware of the consequences of the decisions they make.

In this blog, I explore the different solutions available to manage datacenters, how those technologies are changing and what associated licenses have been created in response. I’ll introduce some of the exciting features coming up in Snow License Manager 8 which make it even easier to effectively plan datacenter resourcing and to manage datacenter licensing.

Datacenters must meet the dynamic demands of organizations

There are two closely connected technology layers which comprise the datacenter, the physical hardware layer and the virtualized (software-based) layer. Let’s set the scene a little bit by considering the needs of applications in a datacenter. All organizations face different resourcing requirements at different times of the day, week, month and year, and there can be seasonal peaks too, for example, based on financial quarters. Many organizations need to function 24/7 so extended downtime is not an option.

This is not a new situation, of course. Hardware and software vendors have effectively met those needs and continue to improve their solutions to better meet the demands of organizations and to keep themselves competitive. Virtualization technologies enable rapid demand allocation. As hardware power increases, it is possible not only to resource an entire database within a single core of a processor, it can be split into fractions of that core.

It’s a relatively straightforward procedure to upgrade a server with new processors to speed up the transactional speeds of a database/ databases residing on it. Enterprise application can also be moved from one server to another when the primary server is out-of-date, for example, and there are solutions that seamlessly allocate VMs to where they are needed.

This is all fantastic news for the datacenter manager. They can move virtual machines from one physical location to another at the push of a button. They can configure rules that determine this how VMs can move. However any and all configurations and changes should be made with associated licensing implications in mind.

Follow the money! How vendors have caught up in response to this type of resourcing

Vendors of enterprise applications which run in the datacenter consider the availability of greater computing power as a way for their customers to get more value from their software, and so they charge a premium for that. There are a number of metrics used by different vendors to achieve this. Historically, the trend was to use processors as the metric and that has more recently moved on to cores (as the numbers of cores per processor increased). To further add to the mix, not all processors are the same. This means that a processor of one type is faster than another processor of a different type. This has driven the change towards core and PVU type metrics.

Understanding license requirements for one server which remains fairly static is quite straightforward. Historically you would need to look up the core value based upon the processors within that server, match it to the application (or applications) running on said server and license accordingly. It becomes a lot more complicated when there are hundreds of applications running on numerous server types. With Snow License Manager 8, these values are calculated automatically.

It may well be that the person or department in charge of correctly licensing the datacenter is not in charge of managing the datacenter infrastructure. And it’s even more likely that those resourcing the datacenter are not fully au-fait with, or even care about, the licensing implications of the changes they make.

People, processes, and product

It is one of our key messages at Snow that getting processes right is just as crucial as having the right product to manage your end user SAM practices. The right people in the organization need to have been bought into why optimizing licensing is crucial to limit potential overspend. Processes around datacenter SAM are just as key. Those processes can be significantly supported by having the right data upfront from the right product with the right features. These insights allow the license manager to understand the datacenter environment, to look at the different licensing options which are available and to optimally license the datacenter. Well thought-out communication between relevant stakeholders allow for significant reduction in risk and enable cost savings in the datacenter.

Let’s talk about some specifics. Snow License Manager 8 enables relevant stakeholders to understand the datacenter environment, to understand the enterprise applications that are being used in the datacenter and provides all of the information required to license different technologies. In the following video, we show you some of the exciting features that we’ve developed here at Snow to efficiently and effectively monitor the datacenter. We’ll look at how Snow License Manager 8 helps you understand specific licensing challenges from Oracle and Microsoft. But I don’t want to give it all away. Watch the video to find out more!

 

Watch the video on YouTube

Snow License Manager 8 – A leap forward in datacenter license optimization

With Snow License Manager you will be able to:

  • Have an at-a-glance view of your datacenter through customizable dashboards
  • Understand compliance and license requirements based on processor and processor cores
  • Automatically apply VM use rights
  • Understand the licensing impact of hardware changes
  • View an entire application family to decide how best to optimize it within the datacenter.

As I previously discussed, the focus of the infrastructure staff is traditionally to optimize the datacenter for performance and availability, the focus of the SAM staff is to optimize the licensing. Traditionally these two groups don’t always talk and share knowledge and the infrastructure staff may not even be aware of the licensing implications that their changes make. But SAM is best delivered as a PARTNERSHIP. Snow License Manager 8 enables this. Empowering the SAM manager with all of the features I’ve discussed and the insights that this provides allows them to get fully on top of licensing in the datacenter and to manage change.

Sharing this knowledge will then mean that the infrastructure staff know more about what implications changes have, and SAM staff know more about the challenges the infrastructure staff have – the end result is datacenter licensing is adapted to change, risks are mitigated and very likely licensing costs are minimized. This is just one example of the benefits of leveraging the functionality in Snow License Manager 8 to achieve synergies in the business. Keep looking out for further blogs and videos to find out more!