Once you have an accurate inventory of your software and calculated your entitlement you now need to match up your licenses to your software. Matching licenses to installed software sounds like a fairly simple process. However, this can be a time consuming and difficult task due to the complex nature of licensing and different models that each software vendor enforces. To do this manually just for one vendor may take several days.
There are some key activities that need to be carried out:
- Normalization of software inventory
- Understanding how the software is used
- Matching the license entitlement to the normalized inventory data
Normalization of software inventory
In this stage you need to rationalize, what could be thousands of different software products, into a list of licensable products and their install counts. This often involves a deep understanding of the vendors’ products and importantly which of these products requires a license. This can take several days for each vendor. Multiply this across multiple vendors and this presents a significant challenge.
Understanding how the software is used
It is not necessarily the number of deployments of a particular software product that needs to be understood but often how it is used. Some key considerations to make are:
- Does it matter whether the software is run on physical or virtual servers?
- Is the software licensed on a device or per install basis, processor, core or user i.e. what do you need to count to understand the number of licenses required?
- How does clustering or dynamic virtualization affect the licensing?
- Is the software being run from a Citrix, Terminal Server or Application Virtualization environment?
This is one of the most challenging areas for an organization and involves understanding the product use rights and terms and conditions about how particular licenses can be used.
Matching the license entitlement to the normalized inventory data
Once you understand what software is deployed, how it is used, and therefore the requirement for the number of licenses you can apply the entitlement to the requirement to provide an effective license position (Also known as an ELP). This can involve applying downgrade and down edition rights, understanding secondary use rights and excluding deployments that do not require a license e.g. Developers computers.
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