The rise of the virtual machine has added a layer of complexity to software licensing, a headache that is made worse in a cloudy world where virtualization decouples virtual machines from physical servers. Data center management software has helped data center operators optimize their use of server capacity. One provider believes it can now help customers save money by optimizing their spending on software licenses.
CiRBA, a provider of capacity management software, has added a new software license control system that delivers optimal virtual machine (VM) placements for processor-based licensing models. The idea is that targeting virtual machine sprawl can reduce "licensing sprawl" as well. Like playing Tetris with an environment, CiRBA moves the blocks (VMs) around so that they’re optimally placed to make the best use of server capacity. It now offers similar optimization for software licenses, with an add-on module that targets capacity-based licensing models.
"Licensing optimization is now becoming a capacity management challenge,” said Andrew Hillier, CTO of CiRBA. “By cleverly placing workloads on licensed servers in such a way that the overall footprint is minimized, license costs can be reduced by 40 to 70 percent. It is a showcase example of how the right analytics can save millions of dollars in unnecessary spend.
Reducing License Purchases and Renewals
Through the Software License Control module, CiRBA optimizes placement of licensed software on machines, which it says has saved customers an average of 55 percent on data center software licensing costs on average. The savings are realized through lower expenditures for renewals, deferral of new software license purchases, and reduced yearly maintenance. Savings can reach into the millions of dollars for expensive operating system, database, and middleware platforms. “Database optimization analysis saves 10x savings (compared to OS) on maintenance alone,” said Hillier.
“In the past, licensing has been more of a bean counting exercise," said Hillier. "The shift to virtual and cloud has led to a much more dynamic picture. Now we can actively manage these environments, minimizing their footprints.”
Through analytics, CiRBA conducts a “defrag” in which, for example, it can consolidate the Windows components onto the minimum safe footprint. "Within constraints, we’ll minimize the footprint,” said Hillier. “We’re not overdriving those hosts. Too many SQL servers and you’ll blow up the IO, so we limit that, as one example.”
Aligning Licenses with Physical Servers
The CiRBA Software License Control module optimizes VM placements in virtual and cloud infrastructure, reducing the number of processors/hosts requiring licenses. It also determines optimized VM placements to both maximize the density of licensed components on physical hosts and isolate these licensed VMs from those not requiring the licenses. It then contains the licensed VMs on the licensed physical servers.
Since virtual environments are dynamic and always changing, CiRBA also enables organizations to profile software licensing, configuration, policy and utilization requirements as new VMs come into an environment, routing these VMs to appropriately licensed physical servers, and reserving capacity for the new VMs through its Bookings Management System.
This is essential when managing dynamic virtual and cloud environments, and also provides visibility into requirements to grow or modify license pools based on upcoming demand. Through this booking and reservation process, CiRBA ensures that density remains optimized by considering both the bookings and organic growth in the environment, and using this to forecast the impact on capacity and licensing.
CiRBA is a transformation and control system built to optimize virtual and cloud infrastructure, driving up efficiency while driving down costs. It’s been known in the market for its migration capabilities, moving machines from point A to B; physical to virtual, migration to cloud, and data center consolidation. It optimizes density and increases utilization, “kind of like a hotel reservation system for virtual environments,” said Hillier. It’s all policy based.
The service is available on a subscription basis. Here's a 2-minute video from CiRBA providing an overview: