From time to time people ask me who I write for, and I always say I write for myself in the hope that there are enough people out there like me to make a reasonable size audience. It always surprises me how many people inside Microsoft read this blog, not to mention the number of competitors who come here to read my impeccably researched and completely impartial comments (and in return I read their lies, twisted truths and false malicious implications. Ha. Ha.)
Someone pointed me to a post of Mike DiPetrillo's from just before Christmas with the so charming title of “Microsoft lies to their customers again.”. Mike’s beef is that people who work for Microsoft have said things to customers which contradict what we have posted in public. Unwilling to resist a good title, he’s chosen to make this ineptitude sound like some sort of corporately organized conspiracy… The odd thing is that he is complaining about something you’ll hear people from his company say. During 2008 people from VMware complained that Microsoft was playing dirty with licensing rules for virtualization – that VMware could not use the bundled instances of the operating system included with Enterprise and Datacenter versions of Server 2003 R2 and Server 2008. Allowing customers to do less with your product if they also buy someone else’s product tends to have regulators beating your doors down. If customers get a certain number of bundled instances with a licence that has to apply regardless of the virtualization technology. Indeed, I constantly have to explain to people the reason that you can’t use anything but virtualization on top of Windows Server Enterprise with the full compliment of 4 VMs is that if you did that you’d have 5 working copies of Windows vs 4 with VMware and someone would cry foul. We put out a Licensing FAQ to try to make things clear. (I wish we lived in a world where the licence agreements could be so clear that no FAQs were needed but legal documents and clarity rarely go together). However… Not everyone at Microsoft understands all the nuances of licensing, or government regulation. Every so often I see someone saying “VMware told my customer they could assign a server licence to a box and use that licence for windows VMs running on VMware. Where do I find something to fight that lie” and some kindly person has to point out it is no lie, and steer the poor chap to the FAQ. If anyone out there meets Microsoft people who are still getting this wrong (and don’t have a better channel) mail me and I’ll gently set them straight.
[Update] The rest of this post has been overtaken by events - it is easier to remove it than to explain...
"We’ve been better in this regard than most of the industry"
That's one thing we can both agree on. Microsoft has done a fantastic job of showing the industry that you can change your licensing to make it work with virtualization better. I wish others out there would follow suit (notably Oracle). I look forward to what licensing changes will come about in 2009 as more and more things go virtual.
The following is the part of the reason I get frustrated with Microsoft over licensing. You answer questions with more questions not answers. Why not say "the answer is YES"
“If the only thing my clients access is Oracle on Windows do I need a CAL ?” The answer is – “Is it on Windows ?”
Mike, I see your point and then again ... I thought it was clear. "A client which accesses something on Windows needs a client access licence for that version of Windows.". People ask "suppose I only use some third party software on Windows ?" TO which the response is Did you get the first bit ? Actually giving a case by case yes or no is less helpful than telling people the principle.
A few days ago I wrote about our licensing for Hyper-V. The boys at VMware had picked up that we required