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Issue of September 2002 
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The truth about software licensing

Which is the most appropriate software licensing policy for an enterprise?

This is a question that puzzles many IT heads. Deciding on the right software licensing policy has always been an onerous task. You need to understand the often cryptic policy in the first place. Then you must analyze what will suite your purpose, given X concurrent users are likely to use the application, and also accommodate a likely growth of Y users in the future. You also need to consider future versions and how you can upgrade existing software at a minimal cost.

In addition, you need to consider the ever-changing policies that vendors offer. You have licensing policies based on per server, per seat or even based on the number of processors your server uses. Then there's the relatively new subscription-based model.

Vendors often rave about their new software licensing models and how it will benefit enterprises by translating into significant cost savings. But this is far from the truth. Many licensing policies are tuned to help vendors tap into a steady revenue stream without any regard for customer needs.

This month we closely examine the various licensing schemes offered by different vendors. The idea is to explain in plain English the various licensing policies. For this, we approached almost all vendors in the enterprise software space for inputs on this feature. Given the sensitivity of the topic, not surprisingly, many vendors shied away from providing inputs.

We also talked to CIOs to explore their side of the story. It soon became clear that most of them were unhappy about the way software contracts are formulated. Fluctuating license fees, arm-twisting tactics, poor tech support and hazy AMC conditions are just some of their woes. Turn to page 29 for more on this.

Wireless networking (read WLANs/WMANs) provides many benefits over wired networks. Wireless networks extend into places where you can't install a cable and they offer mobility. We spoke extensively about WLANs in the November 2001 issue of Network Magazine. Back then, the concept of wireless networking was relatively new in India. Within a year the wireless networking landscape has undergone a sweeping change. You now have hotels, ports, manufacturing industries and even banks implementing WLANs or WMANs, wherever the cost of implementing wired networks is substantially high or is difficult. And all this despite the various WLAN standards in existence or the grave apprehensions expressed on the wireless security front. More of this in our Tech update section on WLANs.

Finally, as we close one more issue of Network Magazine, we want to know what you think about the magazine and the features that you would like us to cover.

Sandeep Ajgaonkar
Associate Editor

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