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back to article Wading through the software licensing minefield

Efficient licence management is crucial for a number of reasons, but they boil down to two: cost containment and legality. According to an IDC survey on software pricing and licensing, conducted in 2010, almost all the respondents believed that some of their software licence expenditure went on either under-used or unused …

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"Things get easier if you're using virtualized desktops"

Wellll... yes, maybe, but companies are failing to manage the huge trap that this can lead them into with software licensing, particularly in hot desk environments with roaming profiles.

Take Microsoft's policy, for example: "Software Licenses are needed for all devices, be they traditional PCs, thin clients, or blade PCs, etc. that are used to access virtual images of Office, Project and/or Visio."

So, we've granted a couple of copies of Visio Professional to a couple of users. But they're wandering round the whole office, using numerous PCs with their roaming profile. It's certainly *easier* to track where they've been, I guess, but the potential cost is much higher.

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Avoiding any unused licensing fees

One approach that goes beyond user-based licensing is usage-based licensing, where the customer pays the vendor for the actual usage incurred. This can be done on a debiting approach, where the customer purchases an inventory of usage which is consumed as they work with the application, or metering, where the usage is recorded for later billing. A pure usage-based approach also eliminates any issues about how many licenses are run or whether they run on virtual systems or not, concerns on the customer's side about whether they purchased sufficient licenses and so on.

A case study of a metering implementation is at: http://agilis-sw.com/casestudy/Fair_Isaac.html

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