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VMworld 2009: Chris Wolf warns of software, server licensing perils

Chris Wolf, virtualization expert and Burton Group senior analyst, revealed lesser known facts about software licensing in a crowded session at VMworld. He described terms, conditions and fine-print details that should not be overlooked, especially when dealing with Microsoft licenses.

Wolf began by commending IBM in making great progress with their licensing contracts in the last year; but he was quick to add that substantially more work would be necessary.

Wolf cracked jokes while guiding his audience through a minefield of licensing gotchas. Here are some of the more interesting points from his popular VMworld session:

  • License tracking by physical resources is complex.
  • When dealing with Microsoft licensing, read the fine print. Many times you cannot transfer licenses from one server or machine to another tariff free. Fees will add up quickly.
  • Watch out, many software licenses are bound to physical hardware.
  • Licenses assigned cannot be be reassigned, there are exceptions.
  • Microsoft is within its legal rights to charge for additional licenses and transfers, migrations, etc. If you run into problems remember that Microsoft is not a monopoly and that there are are other choices of equal functionality. offers more VMworld coverage.

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