14 March 2003 Microsoft is planning changes in its licensing fees that ought to reduce the cost of running Microsoft software on multiprocessor servers.
At the moment, if a user deploys a piece of Microsoft software on an eight processor system, they have to pay a per-processor charge based on all eight microprocessors on the server, regardless of how many are actually used by the software.
But from April, Microsoft will only charge for the number of processors that the software actually uses. The change in policy will particularly benefit users engaged in server consolidation projects, in which users replace multiple servers with fewer, larger servers and run their software on separate partitions.
Microsoft is responding to rising user complaints about its licensing policies, says Gartner analyst Alvin Park. “Some Microsoft customers complained about having to license all CPUs on a multiprocessor server even though not all of them access the software,” he wrote in a research note released last week.
In addition, following the purchase of virtual machine software technology from Connectix, Microsoft will also be able to pitch Windows as a server consolidation platform. Before that acquisition, users had to purchase software separately from specialist software vendor VMware.
The licensing changes affect eight main products, including BizTalk Server 2002, Commerce Server 2002, Content Management Server 2002, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 and SQL Server 2000.
The new scheme will be introduced on 1 April, but will not stretch to its forthcoming Windows Server 2003 operating system.