VMware’s whitepaper Microsoft Virtualization Licensing and Distribution Terms has generated a flood of articles by the IT trade press, and SearchServerVirtualization.com is no exception (See ‘VMware criticizes Microsoft virtualization licensing‘). Now that the story is up, I’m left wondering whether in this case, is Microsoft really trying to stymie competition, as VMware contends, or is it also possible that Microsoft, like every other software vendor on the planet, is grappling with how best to approach software licensing in this brave new virtualization world?
In Microsoft’s defense, the company has made some very virtualization-friendly moves as of late. In October, it announced Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, which allows for an unlimited number of Windows Server VMs running on a system. According to Microsoft’s Windows Server Virtualization Calculator, it’s more cost-effective to buy the unlimited virtualization license over Enterprise Edition after just nine VMs on a two-processor server. The company made a similar announcement last week with SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition — pretty cool.
The revelation that reassigning Windows Server licenses between hosts is prohibited more frequently than once every ninety days came as a surprise to everyone I talked to, so I’m wondering whether this is more of hypothetical threat than a reality? Have any actual VMware customers out there changed or discontinued their use of VMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler to comply with this license provision? If that describes you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.