Moving to the Cloud sounds simple enough, but as you start it becomes clear that this is a major change. There are many questions that must be answered. How will I move and orchestrate hundreds of applications? Which applications should go first? Which Cloud has the best performance and monitoring capabilities? Can I manage the Security and Networking needs of my applications when there is no longer a data-center perimeter? These are all hard questions that need well thought-out answers. Licensing management should not add to this burden. 

Before we start on licensing, I’d like to share F5’s perspective on Micro-segmentation. As you move applications to the cloud your security and networking perimeter moves from the datacenter to the application itself. No matter if you’re thinking about containers like Docker or more traditional Virtual Machines, your licensing model should not change. Every Application deserves to be Fast, Available and Secure and having an ADC for every applications is a logical step as you move to the Cloud. Ensuring every application has a complete set of ADC services is easy when you leverage “Good-Better-Best” licensing.

According to Information Week moving to the Cloud can add more complexity to an already complex licensing environment. This issue can be so complex 37% of companies responding have a person that spends 50% or more of their time just managing licensing. This is not cost effective. It’s every vendor’s job to bring simplicity to their licensing models. If you can’t understand it in a 5 minute conversation you’ve failed.

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The 5 Minute Cloud Licensing Challenge

So here’s a challenge that you should put every vendor through. Explain your licensing model for the cloud in 5 minutes or less. If you can understand it, chances are you’ll avoid potential compliance pitfalls and the need to dedicate resources to manage your licensing portfolio.

The key elements of a simple licensing model are ensuring that you’re meeting your customers where they’re going -- no matter what stage of development an application is at: from experimentation and testing to limited production to full scale deployment, the solutions need to be cost effective. Let’s look at these three scenarios and I’ll show you how F5 is focusing on cost effective solutions that meet customer’s needs. 

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Experimentation & Testing in the Cloud: Cloud Licensing Program

Anytime you start testing in a Public Cloud, you want to make sure you’re being cost effective. To make this work we’ve develop a Licensing program called Cloud Licensing Program or CLP. CLP is an easy way to get started because it’s a utility model, you only pay for what you use. The CLP program is available from a variety of different Cloud providers but the most obvious one is via the marketplace at Amazon Web Services. This is a great way to get started  because there is no capital investment,  you get the flexibility to deploy GBB VE images at a variety of throughput performance levels and  there is no need for license management. You simply pay for what you use.  

Limited Production in the Cloud – Virtual Edition BYOL

Once you’ve tested your application in the Cloud, you are ready to go into production. If you’ve used the Cloud Licensing Program and you do the math you’ll find paying for software by the hour when you’re using it 24 hours a day 7 days a week can be very expensive. Like renting a car by the hour and driving it all day every day, it will be the most expensive car you’re ever had. That’s why F5 has a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) program to meet these needs. F5 makes it easy to buy Virtual Editions of BIG-IP and take them to any Cloud based on the same packaging of capabilities you have with Good-Better-Best.  With BYOL you can buy these licenses and take them to any Cloud, or move them to other Clouds with a cost model that provides affordability for limited productions.

Scale Production in the Cloud – Volume Licensing Subscription

So now you’re ready to take 100 or 200 or more of your applications to the Cloud. And just like with CLP, if you buy 100s of VE BIG-IP, the cost of buying them one at a time can become very expensive. To solve this issue we’ve developed a new licensing model we call Volume Licensing Subscription or VLS.  VLS is a new licensing option that rounds out our Cloud offerings so that it’s easier than ever to move to the cloud. Look for our announcement on 3/19.

VLS give customers the ability to adopt all the advanced capabilities you get with “Good-Better-Best,” provides flexibility to move VE instances to different clouds (both Public and Private), and (because it’s a subscription) the costs are significantly lower than they would be if you purchased the licenses individually. In some cases that savings can be as high at 67% on BIG-IP and 78% for LineRate Point. And because we know moving this many applications will not happen overnight and the number of applications you have in the cloud may scale up and down over time, you can scale the number of VLS  instances up and down over time to ensure you’re not overspending on licensing.

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So that’s about 5 minutes. I hope the different licensing options available to you are clear and you have a better understanding of how to pick the right tool for the right job. F5 is committed to helping customers move to the Cloud. Meeting them with both great technical solutions as well as easy to understand cost effective licensing solutions is a top priority.