The Hidden Complexities of Virtualized Environments

Carl Weinschenk

The move to virtualized environments changes just about everything about how a telecommunications company operates. Naturally, much of the thinking is about workloads, routing and service delivery. A lower profile layer of change involves lifecycle management and licensing.

These are two complex and related areas. Amol Phadke, the global network strategy and consulting practice lead for Accenture, told Light Reading that managing licenses and upgrades is far more complex and time consuming in a virtualized world compared to legacy environments.

The increase in pressure is due to the move from the staid environment featuring a limited number of hardware and software vendors to the fractious world in which software from a much greater number of vendors is used. Upgrades must be continually scheduled and plans put in place to automatically process them through the certification and testing processes. Steps must be taken to ensure that a piece of software’s use comports with the end users’ service level agreements (SLAs). The bottom line is that a DevOps-type approach, in which lifecycle management never ends, must be implemented.

Licensing is another tricky topic in the age of virtualization. Microsoft announced a plan enabling managed service providers to sell Windows licenses. The change, according to BrianMadden.com, is that it enables service providers to sell licenses to Windows that include virtualization rights. The story outlines the convolutions that Microsoft has gone through in order to make its operating systems available in a manner that is fair to all sides. It wasn’t easy:


Those changes were steps along the way to this latest announcement, which addresses the last big hurdle that MSPs need to clear. Until now, all DaaS that used a desktop version of Windows involved the customer bringing their own licenses. While the service providers could hold the customer's hand, the onus of licensing fell to them. With this announcement, service providers enrolled in the Microsoft CSP program can sell Windows 10 licenses as part of their subscription service.

“DaaS” refers to desktop as a service.

SearchSQLServer.com offers insight into the complex world of licensing: “Microsoft licensing isn't rocket science; it's much harder.” The piece also offers a quiz.

There is money to be made in sorting all this out. This week, My Choice Software introduced CALculator, which is aimed at the challenge. The tool, according to the press release, is aimed at saving IT departments time and enabling them to deal with the complexity of licensing. It also helps avoid Microsoft Software Asset Management audits. A company is liable to heavy penalties if it is audited and found to not have the correct licensing in place.

Software lifecycle management and software licensing are two distinct realms. They are both complex and are deeply connected. The move to virtualization has big impact on both and IT departments must plan accordingly.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


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