Customers with virtualized environments giving you the blues?
By Tu Le
If you’re a software producer, virtualization is probably something that keeps you up at night since you may be losing licensing revenue - and here’s why…
Your customers are likely employing virtualized environments – taking an existing environment and cloning it several times over. Virtualization gives your customers the flexibility they need as they consume less space than traditional hardware-based environments and can be deployed much faster. The advantages of virtualization have taken hold as over 50% of enterprises are projected to have a hybrid cloud deployment by the end of 20171.
Unfortunately for software producers it’s been estimated that only 12% of enterprises track software running in virtual machines2. This means that there is a very high chance that your enterprise customers are accidentally out of compliance, which means you’re potentially losing software license revenue. Here are four options you should consider to minimize license leakage from virtualization:
Option 1: Detect-and-Deny
A common option - and normally the first reaction - is to prevent the application from running in a virtual environment. Although this option practically eliminates virtual machine cloning, it may fall out of favor as the majority of the market is considering or already moving toward a virtual data center.
Option 2: Cloning Prevention
Some may argue that the “detect-and-deny” option diminishes the advantages of virtualization (the inability to support high availability without scheduling downtime by moving virtual machines from one host to another). Recently, Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, and Citrix XenServer have added in the ability for the guest operating system (limited to Windows 8 and higher) to detect if it is executing from a clone or from a snapshot image through the Virtual Machine Generation ID. To be effective in minimizing license leakage due to cloning consider the following options:
- Leverage the Virtual Machine Generation ID to make your application aware of whether or not it’s running in a cloned environment
- Leverage option one to include an additional layer against piracy but limit it to hypervisors that do not support Virtual Machine Generation ID or is open source
- Use a license server that leverage the Virtual Machine Generation ID to support other virtualization technologies such as application and desktop virtualization and virtual appliances
Option 3: Cloud-Based Licensing Service
This option is an effective way to minimize license server cloning. A cloud-based licensing service prevents an end user from deliberately trying to get around licensing by making it difficult for the end-user to clone and thus duplicate the license pool.
Option 4: Capture, Report and Monetize
The most effective strategy - and the biggest trend in the market - is to capture, report and monetize your software based on the actual use of the application whether it’s running in the cloud, a virtual environment or on-premises.
As the options above illustrate, monetizing the use of your products based on application usage is the most effective and comprehensive way to win with virtualization. Winning with virtualization can lead to new levels of profitability by opening new revenue streams while improving your customer’s experience.
1 Source: Gartner
2 Source: IDC