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Many organizations today have implemented a mixture of physical and virtual environments to lower their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and improve the performance and flexibility of their IT infrastructure. Though the benefits of virtualization are easily recognized, the licensing complexities and compliance issues are not easily managed by companies. Administrating software licenses in virtual environments is difficult because it easy to create new virtual machines running copies of operating systems an software applications. Software publishers have also adopted licensing rules for virtual environments that add significant complexity to the already complicated task of mapping licenses. For example, some vendor licenses require knowledge of the underlying physical hardware such as the processor speed, number of processors, etc. Some software vendors place license restrictions on the frequency of application transfers from one server to another. Since applications are contained within a VM, it's easy to violate this mobility rule and drift out of license compliance. Being significantly under-licensed due to virtualization can lead to increased licensing costs and software audit fees, which ultimately do not provide any significant benefit for the company.
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