Instead of decisiveness and clarity, Microsoft has led with indecision and confusion. Windows 8 Software Assurance now comes with Windows To Go Use Rights, WindowsRT Virtual Desktop Access Rights, and Companion Device License, three new licensing structures to be tripped up on.
When we look for patterns from the past, sometimes we can really get a good idea of what the future might entail.
If you take a look at the way VMware has rolled out licensing changes during each of the major releases you can see a pattern and get an idea of what the future may bestow on us. When Virtual Center was first released, vMotion and vSMP were licensed separately from Virtual Center as an add-on for Virtual Center.
Once VMware ESX3 was released, vMotion and vSMP pretty much became a standard feature included in ESX3. Virtual Center was still sold separately and then VMware presented three licensing models for VMware ESX3.
OnLive, the desktop pundits favorite DaaS provider, is one step closer to being able to offer a viable and fully compliant virtual “desktop” service following the stealth update of its platform from a Windows 7 based VDI service to a Windows Server 8 R2 Remote Desktop Services offering. While this move eliminates the threat to the service that attempting to run a set based on a licensing model that was not compliant with Microsoft’s licensing policies, OnLive is still not out of the woods.
OnLive Desktop is on the verge of making a game-changing move in the VDI space delivering the hope of a service that a CFO would bite your hand off for. OnLive’s delivery capability is a wakeup call to the ISVs and SPs who are trying to penetrate this market. With the license battle is about to ensue, Microsoft has the heads up display and is the one holding the shotgun, perhaps OnLive can finally convince Redmond that its always more fun in multiplayer mode.
Should software licensing be completely based off of the hardware MAC address of the NIC and or UUID of the mother board? This process worked very well before the introduction of virtualization but now that virtualization has become more prevalent in most environments. I think software venders really need to reconsider how they are going to license their software although it seems that some companies have not bought on to the idea of virtualization and would prefer to continue to support their product type to a specific hardware platform that the vender put together and shipped out. Can software venders hope to survive and remain current without embracing virtualization? I think the answer to that question is going to be no in the long run.
VMware has updated the vRAM pricing for vSphere 5 to address certain customer issues, and deserves a great deal of credit for acting this quickly and decisively to the feedback that was generated by the initial announcement. However, even with the new vSphere 5 vRAM pricing the question is now raised as to whether competing and less expensive virtualization platforms are acceptable for some entire companies, and some use cases within what used to be 100% VMware shops. VMware has created an opening for Microsoft, Citrix, and Red Hat. As this sorts itself out, the virtualization platform landscape will change – resulting in a minimum in a new focus on tools to manage multiple virtualization platforms.