Intel Corp. has launched a crusade to convince software companies not to tear up their existing pricing structures when the vendor begins launching mass market dual core chips next year.
Both Intel and arch rival AMD will launch dual core platforms next year, with multi-core chips to follow. Some software vendors could decide that with most computers in future running at least two CPU cores, instead of one at present, plus the substantial performance improvements such architectures promise, existing license models will have to be appraised or prices jacked up.
The chip giant is trying to convince operating systems and applications vendors that dual and multi-core devices should be treated as if they were a single CPU, and that the system consolidation the vendor is predicting won’t affect adversely affect software revenues. In effect, this means software would be licensed by socket.
Richard Dracott, head of enterprise marketing and planning for Intel’s enterprise products group, said the firm was doing the rounds of software vendors to update them on its dual core strategy and how it will affect their budgets.
Dracott acknowledged that in the past, chip advances had sometimes prompted software vendors to change the way they charged for their products. He noted that in the past, some vendors had sought to charge by clockspeed, but such approaches had in the end been unworkable.
However, Dracott noted that the introduction of Intel’s Hyper Threading technology two years ago, had been accepted by software vendors without any changes in licensing terms. HT makes a single processor look like two logical CPUs, and as such heralded Intel’s shift to a mutli-core strategy.
We’re advocating that model, he said. My bet is over the next year software vendors will come round on that one.
In presentations at IDF last week, Intel argued that the advent of multi-core processors, along with chip level virtualization and other new technologies from Intel, would help corporations consolidate the number of servers and desktops they need to run.
Dracott argued that this didn’t necessarily equate to a massive drop in overall IT spending by corporations. As we’ve driven performance up, we haven’t seen people buy less servers.
Rather, he said, companies would use the investment released by consolidation for other services.
While Intel is pushing software vendors to leave their licensing terms unchanged when multi-core platforms finally hit the market, Dracott said the firm did not believe it needed a formal program or industry initiative to back this effort, and would simply work on a vendor by vendor basis.
Microsoft is still evaluating the impact of technologies like multicore and is committed to developing flexible licensing models, according to a statement from Sunny Jensen Charlebois, product manager of the vendor’s worldwide licensing and pricing group.
While the vendor had nothing to announce right now, she pointed out that the recent release to manufacturing of Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 was accompanied by the introduction of a Operations Manager License (OML). This requires an OML for each server being managed, and represents a shift from per processor licensing to a server/managed device model.