FAST probes impact of virtualisation on licensing

FAST probes impact of virtualisation on licensing

Members of theft-busting body meet following concerns that virtualisation has caused ambiguity over software licensing agreements

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has drawn together its key partners to discuss the impact of virtualisation on software licensing.

The group consists of FAST members Centennial Software, Computacenter, CSC Computer Sciences, HP, Hitachi Europe, ManageSoft, SMS Services, Rocela, Salans and Symantec/Altiris.

John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, said: “Virtualisation is one of the hottest topics on everyone’s mind right now but there is a big gap in understanding what it really means for organisations looking to adapt the technology - both in terms of the impact it has on the day to day running of the business, the possibility of cost savings as well as the potential for ambiguity over licensing agreements with the software publishers.”

Lovelock explained that from an asset management point of view, users are deciding on virtualisation without identifying the importance of licensing first.

He said there is not currently an easy way to measure usage on virtual environments and that technically it is possible but a discovery agent has to be deployed there to identify the software’s presence.

“What we do know, is that there will need to be a combination of processes and tools to control the virtual environment. It is vital at this point that we demand greater clarity from vendors and look at the potential to canvas virtualisation software vendors for their view on the future direction,” added Lovelock.

Martyn Hobbs, representative for FAST member Altiris, said: “Being at the forefront of desktop application virtualisation, Altiris takes its responsibilities to both legal compliance and its customers very seriously.

“To act in any way, other than to encourage openness at this stage in the development of virtualisation technology, would at best be immature and to provide clarity in the area of virtualised license usage, it’s going to take a team effort from software manufacturers, tool providers and organisations like the Federation Against Software Theft to make the issue of virtual licence compliance easier to understand.”