Teneo !!!

Aaron’s blog on Networking, and Enterprise Technology

Microsoft Licensing is getting out of hand

Why do we let a giant like Microsoft get away with outrageous prices and crazy use-licenses!!!  We, as an industry, have accepted Microsoft so much, that no matter what they did, we accept it as “the bible” of technology usage.  If Microsoft came out in 2010 and said that office 2011 will cost $749 and you can only use it if a Microsoft agent comes into your office and visually inspects your PC for installation, the industry would say….”Well, if Microsoft says it…. I guess that’s what everyone else is doing…”.  Let’s do it.

We really need to take a stand all.  There are other offerings other than Microsoft.  Yes, they make great productivity software, and their OS’s are ok (not great, but just alright).  But, their licensing plans and costs are getting way out of hand.  A couple of cases:

When I first found out about Microsoft’s crazy licensing, I was a newbie Network Administrator many years ago.  I wanted to get Exchange 5.5 installed to replace my user’s POP3 clients from an ISP.  The cost of the server was as follows:

$5000.00 Hardware
$700 Windows NT 4.0 Server
$1200 Exchange 5.5 Server

(This is only guesstimating… I don’t recall exact numbers).  Okay, so adding that up, my costs would have been $7100.00.  Oh, but wait… I just spent $7100.00, but we can’t use it yet…. It’s just going to look pretty in the server room floor doing nothing.  What?!?  Why not??  Well, now you have to buy User CALS.  One for Windows NT and one for Exchange, before you can use it.

Well, that was hard to swallow, but we, as an industry, has gotten used to it.  Then, just yesterday, I found out another piece of Microsoft licensing that really ticked me off, and I almost feel to the floor, because people are accepting it!!

I’m at a VMWare seminar, seeing what the latest improvements are to virtualization.  I’ve always liked the idea that if I’m overrunning my hardware, I can move an OS (virtual image file) from one server, to another.  VMWare calls it (VMotion).  Well, Microsoft won’t have that!  In order to allow yourself to move a Server OS from one server to another, you need another Server license.  Thats right!  2 server licenses even though, you are only using 1!!

I’m not talking about the OEM licenses that lives and dies with the hardware.  These are standard licenses that you purchase with whatever plan you are on (Open, Volume, Select, etc).  So, if I want the ability to move an OS Server (which I have already licensed) from one hardware to another, then I need to double my license expenditures.

Sure, those who knows the licenses know the caveats…. you can only move a server from one hardware to another without a license if:

1).  It’s after 90-days
2).  It’s due to a hardware failure

But still….. Microsoft wants to cash in on this “virtualization” technology.  I can, right now, install a Server OS on server 2, move files from server 1 to server 2, and then remove Server 1 OS, and still be legal.  I suppose that during those first few hours of transferring files, I’m not legal, but, seriously, what audit would turn that up?

But, not with virtualization.  What’s the difference?  Sure, it’s easier to move server OS’s in virtualization, which may allow me to do it more.  But double-licensing me, just prevents me from buying more Windows servers, Microsoft.

It’s because, we, as an industry, allow it.  We accept it.  Most of what Microsoft offers (and I say “MOST” heavily) can be replaced with Linux, Unix, Mac, or some other application (such as OpenOffice, web applications, servers, etc).  I asked a couple of IT managers why they don’t move away from Microsoft on some of their software.  Their excuse was because it’s easy.  We’ve already learned it.  No more re-training the employees.

C’mon…. you had to learn WordPerfect, and then relearn with Word.  You had to learn Unix and then relearn with DOS and then relearn with Windows.  You had to learn Lotus 1-2-3 and then relearn with Excel.

It can be done, but we, as an industry, keep allowing Microsoft to take advantage of us.  It’s really starting to make me sick.

I’m not a Microsoft hater.  Those of you that know me, knows I act like it… but I do give Microsoft where credit is due.  I just don’t think EVERYTHING Microsoft does should be used.  Use the right tool for the right job.  And for heaven’s sake…. we MUST do somethign about this licensing plan!  You can make a career out of it, and still not know everything!

5 responses to “Microsoft Licensing is getting out of hand

  1. Christian Mohn (h0bbel) August 22, 2008 at 12:46 am

    I think you were a bit unlucky with the timing of your post. Microsoft has revised that particular part of their licensing plan, and the 90 day limit has been removed, two days ago. ;-)More details in Microsofts finally gets virtual licensing

  2. Anthony Miller August 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    HERE! HERE! Couldn’t have said it better myself….Can you say IBM/Lotus Technologies? Compare the licensing costs of Lotus Notes/Domino,Sametime,Quicker,Connections,Activities with all the various components of Microsoft necessary to provide the same functionality AND the hardware required to run it on… (Lotus technologies run on multiple OS and hardware platforms to take advantage of your current infrastructure investmestments.) Very significant differences. Also Microsoft has yet come close to providing an Enterprise solution for Social Networking like Lotus Connections.

  3. Kevin October 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Microsoft license frustrate me too. They don’t document it very well and the documentation is confusing as heel. I did a Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2007 migration a few months back and was surprised to find out that you don’t need to install the Ex07 CALs anywhere. Microsoft is just trusting us??? I wonder.


  4. Angsuman Chakraborty May 23, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I successfully moved all our servers to Linux. We can now do more with free software than we can ever hope to do with Microsoft. There was a learning curve and we had to spend some time for testing & evaluating. However in the end we have freedom to do anything with the software, virtualization, all without any licensing concerns or tie-in with any particular organization or product. For example initially we started with Fedora for servers and then we started moving to CentOS without any issues at all.

    • Aaron Paxson May 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm

      Angsuman, that is fantastic news! Congratulations. I’m not sure how many servers you have, but that must have been a challenge! Good job! I would love to move my servers to Linux. Unfortunately, most of our App Servers require Windows due to the Proprietary Apps that my company uses.

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