The efficiency that virtualization brings is good and all, but there still exists issues around licensing costs. Essentially having a virtualization product, and making licensing changes to optimize a customer’s costs are two very different things. CiRBA, a provider of capacity control software, aims to help with this problem with their License Control System being released under general availability today.

Essentially the product is an add on to the existing CRBA capacity control panel and it optimizes the placement of virtual machines in infrastructure to reduce the number of processors and hosts requiring licenses and contain licensed VMs to specified physical servers. According to CiRBA, the use of the system has reduced customers processor-based licensing costs by an average of 55%. As CiRBA CTI Andrew Hillier says:

With the shift to data center class software licensing for virtual infrastructure, where licensing an entire physical host server allows an unlimited number of instances to be run, licensing optimization  is now becoming a capacity management challenge… By placing workloads on licensed servers in such a way that the overall footprint is minimized,  license costs can be reduced by 40-70%. It is a showcase example of how the right analytics can save  millions of dollars in unnecessary spend.


I’ve got two points of view on the need for what CiRBA is doing:

1) Nice work on solving a problem

Great, it’s a good thing that this tool allows organizations to optimize their VM placement and, in doing so to avoid extra licensing costs that they’d otherwise incur. I celebrate the fact that CiRBA is fronting up with a tool that allows people to gain operating efficiencies while at the same time gaining economic efficiencies.

2) Shame on this industry for such evil licensing practices

Virtualization and, by extension, cloud, is all about driving efficiency and increasing the potential capacity of physical hardware. That’s good for business and good for the planet. It makes me cringe every time I see an example of licensing like this being a barrier to driving increasing efficiencies – it’s yet another example of the “technology vendors are evil” behaviors that give this industry a bad name. I pour scorn on the vendors whose predatory pricing and licensing approaches make the need for a solution like this necessary – you do nothing good for our industry and the sooner you wither on the vine, the better.


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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