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License Compliance in Cloud Deployments

What you need to consider about your software license compliance when moving to the cloud.

The shift to using cloud resources has been occurring for quite some time and is continuing to escalate.  With continued innovation from cloud providers such as Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s AWS, workload migrations to cloud is still a popular topic within most IT departments. While there are many different areas to pay attention to in a cloud adoption strategy, an often overlooked component is where or not your license compliance agreements have consideration for cloud environments.

What type of cloud environment are you leveraging?

It’s important to review your license compliance agreements for any software that is being used in cloud environments. This is particularly important when the deployment is within a public cloud, where the resources are not dedicated to just one customer. Multi-tenant environments have more complicated terms of use, or are sometimes not supported at all by certain license types, particular products, or when software maintenance is no longer being supplied.  

Can your license shift from on-premise to cloud?

Leveraging software assets that were already purchased and being used in on-premise deployments may not always be eligible for shifting that license to a cloud-based server. Several examples of this include Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft RDS licenses. In order to properly move these licenses from an on- premise deployment to a public cloud location, there are a number of pre-requisites that need to be adhered to. Licenses need to have Software Assurance maintained on them so License Mobility can be used. License Mobility is a feature that allows eligible Microsoft applications to be deployed on public cloud systems – without the need to purchase the license again. The public cloud partner is also required to be an eligible License Mobility partner to move the licenses to, and a verification process needs to occur between Microsoft, the party using the licenses, and the License Mobility cloud partner. 

Review your license compliance agreements.

Many software agreements now have rules to follow in how licenses can be used in cloud environments. Therefore, reviewing these license rules and coming up with an action plan is something that should be done in conjunction with other verification steps to make sure moving resources into a cloud environment is successfully handled.