I'm looking for some feedback and thoughts from the community to help define a reasonable Licensing Model that takes Physical & Virtual into account. From my view as a client I don't think this is all that complicated at the end of the day.

More discussions with some vendors around licensing and I'm finding more and more that the following two axioms are defining these discussions:

  • Vendors want to get paid for their software (obviously the most they can be). They are not stupid in most cases.
  • Clients want to pay for what they use (obviously the least they have to). They are not stupid in most cases.

The challenges come from the fact that Vendors don't get the following generally:

  • A VM in VMware is limited in processing to the vCPUs it has.
  • A vCPU is limited to what a given core is individually capable of.
  • More clients might be willing to use your software if I didn't need to pay for 12 cores of power when I only need 2 today.
  • VMotion of a VM does not mean I'm suddenly gaining more cores of processing.

Clients get upset cause of the following items:

  • When a Vendor assumes I'm an idiot and can pull the wool over my eyes. This a good relationship does not make.
  • A Vendor goes and says a Virtual does less than a physical, then charges me more if it is virtual.
  • A Vendor requires me to license this big physical box and I only want a couple cores worth or less than # of cores in physical box.
  • I want to use your software and because I'm running it as a virtual you want to charge me more. I can't even buy smaller physicals to use your software within my software budget (smallest thing I can buy within reason today is an 8 core system and I only need 2 cores worth).
  • A Vendor limits me to some physical box even though the OS/Software will be on a virtual machine. (Who cares what physical box is on it as long as I pay for the CPU MHz I'm using? Your software doesn't. Only your legal does.)
  • If I buy a lot of your software you can cut me deals since I'm spending a lot of money with you and then I'll be interested in licensing models by physical cores or just a volume level discount. I'd rather not start there if I can avoid it.
  • We've seen what happens to good tech when licensing models can't take tech into account. See the Mainframe and Computer Associates licensing stubbornness in the 80s contribute significantly to the rise of the distributed computing space. We don't want to deal with that migration if we can avoid it.

So there's some of the requirements I have come up with. What other requirements/gotchas can you think of that have got you in dealing with vendors? Anything different when dealing with Solaris or AIX or HP/UX virtualization?