We know from extensive research carried out with readers of The Register that in the server arena, virtualisation is moving into the mainstream. We are also beginning to see interest in utilising some form of virtualisation for the delivery of desktop services, although the level of activity is currently far lower than that …
I work in places with lots of old systems and no record-keeping for licences. When that proprietary stuff needs to be re-installed, I just replace it with FLOSS equivalents. It simplifies my life greatly. If a certificate of authenticity is missing from a PC, I replace the OS with GNU/Linux as well. I am instituting backups/imaging/record-keeping so this may be less of a problem but FLOSS is much easier to manage. I only need one image of GNU/Linux that will run on all our PCs. I need four images of XP. When the time comes to kill XP, I can use the imaging system to deploy GNU/Linux in an evening. This proprietary stuff is too much work. I want to work for my employer, not some software vendor.
Definitely agreed as a Small business
Definitely agreed for our small business, being stuck with IT for 15 or so machines and 2 servers, this licensing headache was what prompted me to dump the closed source and move over to FOSS with a great support plan from on of the distro vendors. So I can focus on my core duties instead of chase license's for some vendor (agree and am not working for some software vendor), pay less per year to get really good 24/7 remote support and management (if needed) and our employee's are productive on the FOSS. The Chamber of Commerce and small business association need to push this stuff....
It is astonishing from your article how much of a headache this is that we all live with. I am finding that a lot of Sales people or resellers do not understand their own licensing in many cases!
I am also finding that software companies seem to have an attitude of guilty until proven innocent when it comes to verifying license numbers. I am currently going through an exercise with a large software supplier where it has taken the best part of three weeks of four technical resources to understand our license requirements on a virtualised environment based on multi core, multi threaded processors, whether it is hard or soft virtualisation. Unfortunately the risk is too great to ignore.
I am hoping to start using cloud services soon, so I'm sure that will be another challenge to look forward to.
Open Source, regardless of the scale
"Given that server virtualisation is yet to become the dominant method of service delivery it could also be the case that those without challenges have yet to scale up enough to run into the issues proper."
Or use Open Source Software. There's no licensing problems with that, no matter what the scale is. Also scalability is a couple of decades better than anything Microsoft or Apple ever have done.
That's why our company runs on it, datacenter and all. (About 30 real machines, 5-20 virtual ones in every one. Not much yet but 3/4 of datacenter is currently empty, you have to start somewhere.)
Did you know that you need no less than three separate licenses to run a Windows Terminal Server with one client and two licences more for any additional clients, one on the server side and one on the client side? Of course client needs also a separate OS license, TS client license is just that. Try to keep a track on those.
Funny thing is that a powerful PC can run about five TS sessions, while same hardware under Linux handles easily 20. Without licensing problems.
But there are always those who are special.
and what about the applications?
Quite a few vendors still lock licences to hardware, resulting in VMs that need special extra care and attention whenever the virtualisation software is upgraded, or DR procedures are invoked. Not insurmountable, but another 'special case' that can easily be overlooked during normal operations (not to mention DR!)
I've said it before
and I expect I'll say it again, Windows and virtualisation are like oil and water, they simply don't mix.
This also applies to most proprietary and closed application platforms. The beauty (and sometimes problem) with virtualisation is that if you have a small requirement suddenly appear it is simple to create a new vm image and load an OSS solution on it. You can have it all up and running in an afternoon.
With payware you simply can't do that. It's like being stuck in the eighties. Every time a new application is required, you have to run the full gamut of obtaining management approval, obtaining purchasing approval, ordering the necessary stuff and then waiting for it to arrive. "Oh dear, what's that you say? We're on credit hold? Again? But I need this project done yesterday!"
No thanks, been there, done that. Not again.
As virtualisation gets more and more ubiquitous, so will server room use of OSS, just for this fact alone. The fact that it is free is just a bonus.
Techies just want to get the job done with as little involvement from the PHB's as possible. Virtualisation + OSS allows them to do that.
This does not come without it's own inherent issues however.