Study: Windows admins too busy to worry about Licensing 6.0

A new study shows that an overwhelming number of Windows admins not only haven't migrated to Licensing 6.0, they're too busy to even worry about it.

A recently released study indicates that Windows administrators are so overwhelmed by their to-do lists, that they're not too concerned about complying with Microsoft's Volume Licensing 6.0 plan.

More than 70% of system administrators haven't yet migrated to Licensing 6.0, according to a poll of 1,000 IT professionals worldwide. Boston-based research firm Yankee Group, along with Windows toolmaker Sunbelt Software Inc., Tampa, Fla., released those figures.

The reasons admins cited included a lack of understanding the terms and conditions of Licensing 6.0 (28%); a lack of funds to migrate (25%); issues of software noncompliance that needed addressing before a migration (6%).

But the most common reason for non-compliance, given by 42% of respondents, is that they recently renewed their existing 5.0 agreements, which puts them in the clear for a year or two.

Not only have many admins not migrated to Licensing 6.0, the change in licensing programs isn't really weighing on their minds either. In the poll, compliance didn't make the respondents' top eight concerns for 2003. Their No. 1 concern was, not surprisingly, lack of budget. Other top concerns were IT staff shortage, migration issues, disaster recovery and network security.

Licensing 6.0, a plan administrators have known about for two years, is an annuity-based software-licensing program, similar to a maintenance agreement, that users may ink with Microsoft. IT professionals officially had until July 31, 2002, to receive discounts for the new program and its new upgrade option, called Software Assurance, which is replacing the older Upgrade Advantage option, according to Microsoft. Since that deadline admins have had to buy new Microsoft licenses at full price.

Administrators often aren't in compliance because there is often a lack of continuity in IT departments. When staff changes occur, inaccurate records of software inventory become an issue, according to Laura DiDio, a senior analyst at Yankee Group.

Not knowing the number of Windows licenses purchased can hurt two ways: Administrators may have paid for too many licenses and wasted money, or they may have too few, and violated license agreements. Too many licenses means money out the window, and vendors aren't likely to give dollars back. Administrators typically will get stuck with credit for future purchases, which doesn't help current budget crises. Too few licenses means administrators aren't in compliance with vendor agreements or the law.

One organization that must stay abreast of license agreements is the federal government.

Bernard McLaurin, a member of the Network Systems team at the National Institute of Health's Office of Research Services, said that each institute division has staff members who track software procurement. The Office of Research Services, based in Bethesda, Md., has 1,700 Windows 2000 users and met Microsoft's licensing deadline last August, McLaurin said.

"With the federal government, we have to be compliant," he said. "Our software has to have a license."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Article: Enterprises ignore Microsoft's volume-licensing plan

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