5 software licensing challenges in the next generation network

Every day we hear how the network is changing. Virtualization, Cloud, Software-defined Networking, the Internet of Things — it’s clear big transformational change is happening.   The technical aspects of these solutions seem to get the most attention, but if you manage IT/Network cost and delivery for a living, your success may depend more on understanding the changing network business models that accompany these new technologies and how to adapt your IT operations.

I’ve assembled below what I think are five of the top operational challenges facing IT managers in the next generation network. Some of these are blocking and tackling fundamentals (excuse the seasonal American football analogy), while others are more strategic in nature. I’ll present a short rationale for why these are my top 5. I’d love to hear your perspective.

Why the software licensing reference in the title? Simply put, the next generation network is an intelligent software-defined network and the traditional monetization/cost driver for software is licensing. Entitlement management will be critical in the next generation network, much like it is today and has been for some time in the IT/Application space.

1. Support contract management to include network software license management     

IT/Network managers and their Partners have long managed support contracts to ensure their network is covered from a technical support (TAC) and software update and upgrade capability perspective. The challenge is that this information is often device or even user-centric. With network software being monetized separately from the hardware it runs on, and with license portability, term and co-term considerations, it will be more important than ever to manage software license entitlements and who has the rights to consume them. Newer cloud-based network services provide more information from a software entitlement perspective, but it is not easy to get to a common view across the entire production network.

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