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5 misconceptions of cloud software and virtual licensing

Thor Olavsrud | April 5, 2013
Are you leaving money on the table by not optimizing your virtual or cloud environment to cut software licensing costs? Don't fall prey to these five common software licensing misconceptions.

It really comes down to having the proper management tools, he says. There are many constraints that govern which VMs can and should go together. These constraints include utilization , type of workload, SLAs, compliance, technical compatibility and security. Even in static situations, figuring out how to maximize density can prove difficult. And virtual environments add the complexity of workload mobility and rapid change.

Given these challenges, it's no surprise that organizations often throw up their hands, Hillier says. But the right management tools can make all the difference.

Misconception 4: 'I Get Such Big Discounts on Software That Optimizing It Won't Save Much'

Hillier says this is a big mistake. He says CiRBA looked at 18 virtual environments of organizations with more than 1,100 physical servers. Simply by optimizing VM placement and VM density, those organizations were able to achieve cost savings of 55.6 percent on average (the majority of environments experienced savings between 40 percent and 70 percent, he says).

"If you take an environment that's basically random and then concentrate your databases and OSes, you can save 56 percent over no optimization," Hillier says. "If you paid list price, just on eight servers worth of VMs you could save almost a half million dollars. If you paid a tenth of that cost, you can get the same savings off of 80 servers instead of eight. You're still going to save a lot by looking at this. Even if you get a 99 percent discount, it's something you need to look at."

Misconception 5: 'Internal Cloud Simplifies Licensing'

"If I'm the consumer and I go to external cloud, obviously that simplifies things," Hillier says. "I just pay a single fee to say, IBM, for the software. But on internal cloud, if you're the one that runs the infrastructure, it doesn't necessarily simplify things. You need analytics to figure it out. We find that some of the groups building out the cloud often inadvertently become the asset managers. People can accidentally take on the role of asset management without intending to."

That's not a reason to avoid a migration to a virtual or internal cloud environment, he says. After all, there's a great deal of agility and flexibility to be gained. But, he says, IT organizations taking the leap should be aware that these environments do create higher complexity than the older environments they're replacing.

"We're finding the shift to cloud really does require another level of analytics beyond what would traditionally be done with trending and charts," he says. "The technology enables benefits, but you won't get them unless you're clever about how you use that environment. When we look at these environments, we consistently see huge optimization potential."


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