When it comes to virtualization, be sure to read the fine print: Licenses can be surprisingly restrictive, even from vendors who are otherwise on the vanguard of virtualization. Take featured desktop virtualization blogger Brian Madden’s explanation of Microsoft’s licensing rules:
VECD stands for “Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktop.” It’s the license that Microsoft requires to use its desktop virtualization. VECD must be purchased in addition to the base Windows operating system license. So if you want to virtualize Windows, you have to buy this VECD license as a second license. If you don’t like it — too bad. Don’t use Windows then. (Ah, the joys of a monopoly.)
And it gets worse, because VECD is a subscription, not a perpetual, license and signing up for VECD generally requires Microsoft’s annual Software Assurance program. As if things weren’t confounding enough, the VECD used to stand for “Vista,” and is documented as such in much of Microsoft’s documentation.
As former Forrester analyst Duncan Jones warned (two years ago!), even lawyers aren’t full-proof protection from some vendors. “When working with individual clients, Forrester sees many software license agreements that are not fit for the intended purpose,” he wrote. “Some common problems: the contracts fail to explain clearly what the buyer has to measure to stay compliant, place unreasonable restrictions on usage and/or deployment, and rely on terminology that will soon be obsolete, if it isn’t already.”
Have your own virtualization licensing tale? We’d love to hear it: E-mail your story (anonymity guaranteed!) to Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Michael is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter.