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From Discovery to Software license management

Organizations use different products to perform their business. They purchase these products from different vendors under different licensing schemes that depend on factors like the number of licenses required, the terms of the contract, required hardware, other requirements, and the options vendors offer to optimize cost and maintenance of the product.

When using discovery products to collect data on the products in your infrastructure, many products can be discovered. It is essential that from these products you identify those that need to be managed and bring information about only those products into your Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Some of the discovered software may require to be licensed, as opposed to freeware type of software that does not require a license.

You must also understand the vendor agreements and contracts, and the type of licensing purchased. This information will help decide the type of contracts and license models that need to be setup during the SWLM process. Licensing rules vary from company to company depending on the needs and types of products purchased.

An organization uses multiple criteria to determine the types of licenses for the software. For desktop software, these could include the number of licenses required, the terms of the contract, required hardware, and other requirements. Examples of desktop software include Microsoft Visio, Adobe Acrobat, etc.

Similarly, in case of server-based software, the company can choose licensing based on the hardware requirements, such as virtual systems, nonvirtual systems, the applications hosted, and the various options available from the vendor. Examples of server-based software are Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Enterprise Server, IBM DB2 Enterprise Server Edition, and BMC Remedy AR System and applications.

For example, for desktop software like Microsoft Office, the company can choose the licensing type based on its usage.

  • Enterprise licensing — Software is used by most employees in the company
  • Site licensing — Software usage is limited to a site
  • Per instance licensing — Software is used by a select list of users in the company. For example MS Visio or MS Project may be used by some users. In this type of licensing you pay for every installed instance of the software.
  • Per copy license — Employees have multiple systems, like a desktop and a laptop, and need to have a copy of the software on both systems. Each user is charged a single license and can install the software on both the systems.

In case of server-based software, such as IBM DB2, Microsoft Windows Server, and Oracle Database, typically the hardware on which the software is installed is a factor of the licenses used; for example, if it is virtual machine, licenses based on the physical hosts may only count. The type of processors installed on the systems, number of CPUs, number of cores, and so on, come into play for license consumption.

This section describes the process of discovering, normalizing, and reconciling configuration items (CIs) for the purpose of software license management. The following diagram illustrates this process.


Software License Management - Creating license certificates and running license jobs

The following topics are discussed in this section:

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