With the advent of desktop and then application virtualization, IT organizations must change the way they think about managing software licenses. Rather than being a total of licenses deployed on individual desktops, enterprise application licensing in the future will look more like a shared application mall than the simple application store concept used with smartphones.
The reason? Applications won't physically reside on the client system, but on a server that will provide access to the application. If the applications are on the server, however, corporate customers will want to pay for that software only when it's actually being used. And they won't want to manage individual application stores for each user; they will want an application mall where end users dynamically share access.
By about this time next year, application virtualization should have a profound effect on the way we think about licensing applications on the desktop, notes Steve Workman, vice president of product management for LANDesk Software, a provider of IT management software. Most software vendors probably will try to resist this change for as long as possible because it could have a profound effect on their overall revenue. But as long as a customer can prove how software is actually being used, most software vendors eventually will acquiesce to the inevitability of this new model.
Application virtualization in one form or another is most certainly coming to the enterprise. And when it gets here, it will not only fundamentally change the way software is used, but also paid for.