One of the topics that people have been talking about recently is licensing. Not Citrix or Terminal Server licensing, but application licensing. The problem is that most vendors do not understand the basic concepts of application streaming, VDI, virtualization, etc., and their applications are licensed in ways that don't make sense. Therefore I've decided to write a guide for application vendors that explains this technology and addresses common licensing problems, and gives them a framework for updating their license policies. What do you think I need to include in this guide?
The "classic" example here is that a lot of vendors (Microsoft included) license their applications based on workstation (or device), and not users. The problem is that in today's world, applications are often not physically installed on the workstations where they're used. (Terminal Server, etc.) Therefore the application vendors say, "Okay, then you need to buy one license for every device that could access our application. The problem is that the whole beauty of software streaming, a user who needs an application could walk up to any device in a company and receive that streamed application? Does that mean if you have an application for ten users but you have 1000 desktops, you should buy 1000 licenses for that application, even if your ten users will only ever access the application from their ten workstations? If you follow the license agreement exactly, then yes, that's exactly what this means.
This is just one example. But the more companies I visit, the more I realize that application licensing is a big problem. It's a problem that the business people and the legal people in the company ask the IT people about, and no one really seems to know what's going on. So here's what I'm thinking we should do.
I'm thinking that we should write a document aimed towards explaining all of these application delivery technologies to software vendors. This can explain "our side" of things and hopefully let them understand that we're using these various technologies to make our lives easier--not to screw them out of paying for applications. I think this guide will have several parts:
- Overview of the various technologies (SBC, VDI, OS Streaming, App Streaming, etc.)
- Explanation of why we use the various technologies
- The challenges of "traditional" app licensing and why they don't fit into this model
- Our preferred (or virtualization-compatible) licensing methods