More organisations are adopting cloud technology and migrating their applications to this platform in order to leverage the benefits of flexibility, agility and as a service costing models. Cloud migration is typically a complex endeavour, as businesses juggle software applications, determining which ones to move over and which to retain on-premises, or at least move later.
Something many organisations neglect during a cloud migration is the licensing aspect. Licensing in the cloud is different to licensing on-premises. Businesses need to ensure they know what software they have, what they are licensed for and how they are currently licensed if they intend moving to the cloud.
A partner that offers software asset management (SAM) alongside cloud migration services can assist businesses to understand their licences, enabling a smoother transition to cloud and eliminating potential overspending, says Matthew Poulter, SAM Business Manager at First Technology National.
Cloud is still a comparatively new technology and there is a lot of misunderstanding around how its licensing works. Cloud software licensing is assumed to be more expensive than on-premises software licensing. However, when doing a like-for-like comparison, many organisations don’t include the hardware and infrastructure costs when doing the cost comparison.
Licences for on-premises hardware and software are bought and owned by the business and cannot be “un-bought”. These licences are typically allocated to equipment that is owned and maintained on a business’s premises.
When organisations move to the cloud, downsizing their on-premises infrastructure can reduce costs associated to maintaining that infrastructure.
Most cloud licences are paid for on an annual or month-to-month subscription basis. In some instances, depending on the type of agreement, you can take advantage of your current agreement to either buy cloud-type licences, or to convert on-premises licences for cloud use.
Regardless of the complexity, your starting point to making the best licensing decision is to understand your existing footprint and consumption through a SAM engagement.
There are a lot of things to take into account before migrating to the cloud, over and above licences. Many organisations only find they are not ready after they have made the shift, at which point they either need to adapt quickly or roll back to their on-premises environment.
A SAM cloud readiness assessment can assist businesses to understand whether or not they are ready to move to the cloud, and, if not, what they need to put in place in order to become cloud-ready. Part of this is a comparison between on-premises and cloud licensing requirements and costs, outlining what the ROI for cloud licensing would be versus retaining on-premises solutions. Businesses can then pick and choose which components they wish to move across, even opting for a phased approach.
A failed migration, either due to moving too quickly or not taking various aspects into account, which results in rolling back to on-premises solutions, can be costly. Among the many costs are those resources which have been involved in the migration process, and potentially paying dual licences for on-premises and cloud technology.
In these cases, businesses often have to adopt a hybrid environment, leveraging both on-premises and cloud solutions as they phase in their cloud solution. Certain software allows hybrid rights, enabling the business to leverage both their cloud and on-premises solutions simultaneously without paying for additional licences while migrating, while others do not. An effective SAM practice equips businesses with knowledge of their limitations within each technology and ensures businesses are not paying for software and solutions that are not being used or using solutions that may not be licensed.
SAM is a useful business practice, which helps businesses throughout their cloud migration, from assessing readiness, to ensuring businesses do not end up overpaying for the solutions they employ. SAM should form a critical supportive component of cloud migration in order to avoid pitfalls and smooth the journey.
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