Earlier we wrote a short article about this topic, http://www.reprisesoftware.com/blog/2010/01/are-you-ready-for-cloud-computing/ asking “Are you ready for the Cloud?” RLM v9 now incorporates features to help software vendors exploit these new opportunities.
The biggest industry players are driving the cloud movement. Platform vendors such as Amazon.com, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com are leveraging their enormous investments in computing hardware and advanced virtualization software to build on-demand computing infrastructures. Corporate users, tired of paying to maintain in-house iron, are increasingly looking to reduce costs with cloud computing, while at the same time simplifying procurement, decreasing acquisition time, and adding unprecedented throughput potential.
Users can obtain “hardware on the fly” to run any operating system on arbitrarily large servers – “in the cloud.” These virtual systems may persist indefinitely or disappear when no longer needed. The software on them may be used for only a short burst of time – just enough to get the job done – measured in days or even hours. Likewise, paying for “cloud-time” is easy, often paying with nothing more than a credit card.
The most common problems facing ISVs who use a software license manager to license their applications in the cloud are the following:
– license keys locked to hostids may become invalid between instances,
– license servers used to enforce concurrent or floating licenses are too complex for cloud customers to manage,
– license models that rely on usage records are too hard to retrieve.
The critical technology change in RLM v9 to accommodate cloud-based software deployment is in the ability for software vendors to easily create and manage license server farms. The idea is that ISVs create these farms on their own servers, and run multiple instances of their ISV server within the farm to serve licenses to all customers who are using cloud-based products.
What problems does this solve?
By being able to run multiple license servers on the same computer, an ISV can eliminate the problems mentioned above. Specifically, licenses deployed in the cloud point back to the appropriate license server in the farm, so no local (cloud) hostids need to be checked and the user no longer needs to set up a local license server. Also, since applications deployed in the cloud must contact one of the license servers in the farm, ISVs can easily gather license usage information used to produce periodic post-use invoices for their cloud-based users.
What’s best is that you don’t have to create a separate “cloud-enabled” version of your application. Your off-the-shelf version will work just fine because this solution is a part of RLM’s the new v9 license server, and is governed by the license keys that you give your customers.
Of course, the value of this new functionality is not limited solely to users in the cloud. ISVs who want to simplify the deployment of their floating licenses for their traditional customers can set up license server farms for them as well.