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Software License Management

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Software License Management (SLM) used to be about avoiding audits and penalties for being under licensed. But today, many organizations are over licensed and paying annually for maintenance and applications that are not used and sometimes not even installed. Of course it's easier to simply count the number of desktops, laptops and servers and purchase a volume licensing agreement from each major vendor. But how much money are you wasting annually by doing this? Many organizations also use the vendors' licensing data, but this is often incorrect, because it does not include purchases from third parties which are not reported to the vendor.

What software do I have and how is it being used? How many virtual environments?

Another approach, which will take some up front investment and effort, is to first accurately determine what applications you have installed, and also whether they are being actively used by your end-users. No sense in paying annual maintenance fees for applications which are not installed, or if installed not being used. Next you will need to determine what hardware you have, including desktops, laptops and servers, and what virtual environments they are running. Keep in mind that most desktop software is licensed on a per client basis, and that often includes virtual instances. Also, most server software is licensed on per physical or virtual instance and often includes the CPU core count and core factors in the license calculation.

Belarc's unique features for SLM

Belarc's products offer the following unique features to help manage and optimize your SLM task:

  • Belarc obtained a U.S. patent in 2013 which automatically determines when all installed software was last used. This feature is very useful for software harvesting, where instead of purchasing additional copies of Project, Visio or Office Pro, for example, these packages can be moved from desktops where they are under utilized to those who need them, thereby avoiding the cost of additional purchases and maintenance. Belarc's method discovers the last used time of all the installed applications immediately and does not need to be installed for six months to a year before the data can be used.

  • On the server side, BelManage automatically discovers all of the virtual machines (VMs) and the dependency mapping between the VM guests and the physical host machines. This data is essential for licensing server software such as SQL Server, Windows Server and Oracle databases. This information is used in the Data Analytics reports which combine the discovered server data with the licensing metrics for these products and the purchase records. BelManage supports all Windows and VMware hypervisors and the Windows, Linux and Solaris server operating systems.

This is where a licensing tool such as Belarc's Data Analytics module can be very helpful, because it combines the discovered instances of software, with our customer's purchase records and the current product licensing metrics from the vendors. This also allows our end-users to run what-if scenarios to see what licensing scheme works best for their organization.

Please request our white paper, "Software License Management", which describes in detail the steps you can take to optimize license and annual maintenance costs, by sending an email to: whitepapers@belarc.com.

Belarc's approach to SLM

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