Understanding Software License Compliance - ITIL Concepts

To fully understand if you are in compliance with software licenses requires three pieces of data. You need to know which licenses and which type of licenses were purchased, and this information is best gained from you asset management database. If at least some of your licenses are concurrent or usage based, as often happens with server-based software, you need to know what software is actually executing on which processors at any given point in time. This information is usually obtained from a dedicated software metering solution. Finally, for almost any other kind of license (the norm for desktop software) you need to know which computers have which software installed.That is the domain of configuration management, and specifically the relationships between software packages and processors.

As said above, CMDB is useful only in managing licenses that are based on installation of software. If your license agreement is not concerned with where the software is installed, but only with how many times it executes, you will be better off using a software metering tool that includes an agent running on each system to tell you when each software product is actually executing on that machine. The rest of this section assumes that you want to manage installation-based licenses.

A simple relationship will be used to indicate when a license is in use by an installation. A license CI without any relationships is available, whereas a license with multiple relationships might indicate a license violation. When you make a purchase, new CIs are created to reflect the licenses you have acquired. These new CIs have a creation date, and can have other attributes to track the information you want to know about your software licenses. When licenses expire or are abandoned, you can mark the status of these CIs to indicate that the licenses are no longer active.

When a machine is retired or a software package is no longer needed, the relationship with the license is removed, thus making that license available for another machine to use. This complete lifecycle is enabled by using the CMDB cleverly to track software packages and the licenses that enable you to install those packages.

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