At last, Microsoft has announced a virtualization-friendly change to the license agreements for 41 server products. The changes will allow administrators to run software on more than one physical piece of hardware, which, in the world of VMotion, XenMotion, and OS provisioning is a welcome change.
Prior to today, according to the license agreement included with several packages of Microsoft software, packages were allowed to be installed on only one piece of physical hardware, and that licensed piece of software could only move to another physical machine after 90 days had passed.
In the virtualized world, one of the many benefits is that virtual servers can be moved across physical machines to maintain availability or increase resources. In this case, that portion of the license agreement technically required people to purchase a license for each physical server that the software package would run on.
Thankfully, that's no more.
Today Microsoft announced a widely expected change to their licensing program for 41 server products, including Exchange Server 2007, System Center, and SQL Server 2008. The updated license agreements allow customers to move any of these applications from server to server without paying any additional fees.
"Businesses are taking steps to make their IT operations more dynamic and are delving into virtualization as a cornerstone strategy," said Zane Adam, senior director of integrated virtualization in the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. "Microsoft recognizes this and is innovating its licensing policies, product support and a wide range of IT solutions to help customers get virtual now."
In addition, Microsoft will now support 31 server applications running inside of virtual environments that have been validated through the new "Server Virtualization Validation Program." Virtualization vendors can join the program by validating that their platform is capably of running Windows Server 2008 and previous versions of Windows Server. At this time Cisco, Citrix, Novell, Sun Microsystems, Virtual Iron, and of course, VMware are participating.