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In Depth: Software Vendors Try New Pricing Schemes For A Virtualized World

As data centers become multicore and virtualized, software vendors are looking for new ways to charge for their products. Keep your hands on your wallets.
The Holdouts
Microsoft and BEA Systems continue to price their server software on a per-processor basis, regardless of the number of cores. While Sun's Java Enterprise System software might seem just the type of middleware most likely to be priced according to processor, Sun prices the software based on the number of employees a company has.

Vendors must get the model right--and quickly. IT execs might slow their adoption of virtualization and other leading-edge technologies if software pricing doesn't keep up. Or they might drag out software purchases while trying to reconcile prices with the expected return--or even turn to vendors with more flexible terms, including providers of open source software.

IBM execs say their new software pricing plan is just a first step. It looks like a step in the right direction--toward customers paying for the value they get. That's the drumbeat to which the entire industry must march.

-- with Darrell Dunn and Paul McDougall

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