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ISVs need to change licensing to fit clouds

Many vendors are hesitant when it comes to cloud-friendly licensing

More vendors in the high-performance computing (HPC) sector need to become cloud-friendly and offer on-demand product licensing, according to Penguin Computing, which is offering a cloud that has been customized for HPC applications.

“A lot of ISVs are very hesitant to jump on the cloud bandwagon, because they are worried about eroding their licensing revenue,” said Arend Dittmer, director of HPC product management at Penguin Computing, during an interview at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC).

For them, the current model has been working really well, so they are not sure if they should embrace the on-demand model, according to Dittmer.

However, there are exceptions in the HPC sector. For example, users of LS-Dyna, which does crash simulation, can get an invoice directly from Penguin, which includes both the compute time and the license.

The hope is that more companies would agree to that model, because a single point of payment is the simplest way for customers to be charged, Dittmer said.

“I liken it to the paradigm where we went from single-core processors to multicore processors, and every ISV was like wow, we like how the model works,” said Jeff Fettig, director of sales at Penguin.

Vendors initially didn’t want to embrace the business case for multicore and figure out how to make as much money or even more from it, according to Fettig. But they eventually came around, he said.

In the cloud space, ISVs are going to be hesitant once again. But Penguin is beginning to prove that the on-demand model can work, according to Fettig.

For companies that haven’t adopted a cloud-friendly approach to licensing, Penguin has to pay for a predetermined set of cores, without knowing what kind of usage the application will get on its cloud.

Vendors should also offer realistic pricing and not add any surcharges for buying their software on-demand, Dittmer said.

At ISC, Penguin Computing announced that it will use Adaptive Computing’s Moab Cluster Suite to manage workloads on its HPC cloud offering Penguin on Demand (POD), in order to offer better performance.

The company has also launched a new user interface, called PODtool, which will make it easier to use its cloud.

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