Microsoft relaxes licensing rules

Some companies that have been violating their licensing agreements for Microsoft’s BackOffice Server suite can breathe a little easier.

The Redmond, Wash. company is planning to relax its rules a little and allow consumers of its upcoming BackOffice Server(BOS) 2000, due to be released later this year, to deploy the suite’s applications across up to three servers. Previously, users had to load all of BackOffice’s components on to one server.

“Some customers, if they were small to medium size, were fine with putting all the services onto one server,” said Erik Moll, Windows Marketing Manager for Microsoft Canada. “But if it was a larger account, they would like to take dedicated servers to support Exchange (Server) or SQL (server).”

The company was careful to mention that each BackOffice feature could still only be deployed on one server. Companies choosing to deploy the suite across two or three servers must also purchase and install Windows 2000 for each extra box.

Moll said Microsoft has added a new MultiServer Planning Wizard on BOS 2000 to help IT administrators design the deployment of the various applications on to different servers.

The new multi-server configuration option came as welcome news to Felix Chow, whose company Smartech Consulting manages Toronto’s CN Tower’s Ethernet network across a Microsoft platform.

“I think we can actually save about 30 per cent of the costs just by the different licensing model,” Chow told Network World Canada.