Legacy license models in networking are broken.

January 17, 2023

Matt Krieg

Legacy license models in networking are broken.

Whether you use a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), secure access service edge (SASE), or even good old multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), the requirement to buy “feature” tiers and bandwidth or throughput tiers and hardware within these license types is a mess. Sure, the license manager and license server can support these efforts. But, if you want to activate and deploy in the cloud or as a virtual appliance, licenses are often tied to the number of cores they support or the total number of users accessing. So, you now need to figure out the number of cores and all the variables and configurations above.

You are stacking licenses upon new licenses, feature tiers upon feature tiers, and inefficiently using your underlying compute.

This is a nightmare for enterprise customers and procurement departments. Who has the time to educate themselves on all these licensing models and requirements of the service provider? This doesn’t even touch on the fact that these models make it nearly impossible to determine if you are overprovisioned.

Some vendors will tell you that an enterprise license agreement (ELA) is the answer. That seems like an inappropriate band-aid. Customers still end up with all the licenses; they now have a single price (sometimes cheaper, sometimes not). It is a great way for vendors to add additional, oftentimes inferior, technologies that customers may or may not need. “It’s included in the ELA . . . just turn it on.”

Here is a radical idea—wouldn’t it be easier to just pay for what you use?

Cloud services, storage, and software have all moved to consumption-based models. Shouldn’t the network as well? Sure, networking functions a bit differently than cloud services. You don’t want to pay for every packet you put on the wire, but a committed consumption rate that can flex up or down at given intervals (say, monthly) seems like it would be perfect.

Imagine—no need to worry about feature tiers, throughput restrictions, or appliances. You would not even need a software license. Just pay for what you use. When new features are available, use them. Need to deploy a new service or site? Deploy it.

Legacy network license models are broken. The solution is simple—move to a consumption model. Click here to see how we deliver just that with the Graphiant Network Edge: the performance of MPLS delivered with internet agility, simplicity, and cost effectiveness.

 

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