Will Microsoft give us a virtualisation headache?

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Microsoft is about to change the way it licenses its software for virtualisation.

That’s according to Burton analyst Chris Wolf whose sharp eyes have noticed the changes flagged up deep on the software giant’s website.

Good on Burton for spotting the looming change and letting us know, though hopefully in this case, ignorance would have been bliss.

Virtualisation throws up a host of licensing issues and, by general consensus, Microsoft has been more helpful to end users than many other enterprise software vendors in this area. Chris at Burton thinks this is likely to continue.

Microsoft has taken a number of positive steps to add licensing clarity for virtual environments, and goes to great lengths to explain how licensing should be applied to a variety of virtualization products and architectures. Their server virtualization validation program also makes it easy for organizations to determine the hypervisors that Microsoft supports. Outside of IBM and HP, there aren't many other vendors that support more virtualization platforms than Microsoft.

Microsoft is heading in the right direction, and within weeks we will learn of new revisions to their licensing policy. Microsoft - if you can't already tell, I (along with many of our clients) have high expectations for your next licensing policy update.

Let’s hope we are not disappointed.

I came in to work this morning to see a press release from Gartner urging IT departments to “Use BPM (business process management) to confront business challenges and complex business relationships.”

The analyst then went on the predict

By 2011, more than 50% of BPM programmes will fail. (A) Gartner survey showed that 25% of companies are not using a standardised approach to BPM and only 29% of organisations have a business process competency centre (BPCC).

“Too many user organisations are adopting BPM technologies without applying BPM disciplines via the BPCC and find that their efforts do not deliver the promised results, and their BPM initiatives will subsequently be disbanded,” said Elise Olding, research director at Gartner.

I hope this is not scare mongering. Business process management will be crucial in surviving the recession - a point emphasised by Chris Miller, CA’s senior vice president and UK manager, who I met yesterday.

BPM software is of course, one of CA’s strengths, and Chris produced some interesting collateral to back up his confidence for CA, and by implication the importance of the space it operates in.

It wasn't the usual "survey" of customers intentions, but something much more interesting. CA has been picked by JP Morgan, with Google and HP as one of only “ 16 US stocks to hold in a recession ”.

To make the list, “The requirements are low debt levels, return of cash to investors in the form of dividends or buybacks, and profitability.”

Now the cynics might question whether you should rely on the banks for any kind of prediction after their performance last year - and JP Morgan is bringing its results forward to Thursday - not always a good sign.

Nevertheless, for CA this is quite a contrast to the place it occupied during the last recession of 2001 when the company was mired in corruption and it had a reputation of being extremely tough (don’t you love euphemisms) on its customers.

The corruption spotlight is shining elsewhere these days with the Satyam debacle raising all sorts of corporate governance questions about the Indian outsourcing industry. You can follow this unfolding saga here . This one will run and run.

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