HP and Red Hat have found a way to simplify the software licence management in blade servers: charge by the chassis, rather than by the blade server itself.
Beginning next month, the two companies will sell HP's BladeSystem servers bundled with management software and Red Hat Enterprise Linux that are priced on a per-chassis basis.
HP customers will be able to deploy the operating system on as many as eight of the ultra-thin servers. Neither company would say what it would cost, but vice-president of HP's Blade System group, Rick Becker, said he expected it to be about 20 per cent less than eight Red Hat Linux subscriptions.
HP hoped to make it easier for customers to add and remove blade servers without having to worry about subscription licenses, Becker said.
For blade customers who were looking to quickly reconfigure their systems for new applications and operating systems, licence management could sometimes be a bigger issue than software pricing, he said.
HP hopes that other software vendors, like Microsoft and Novell, will also adopt a more simplified licensing model for blades. The advent of multi-core processors and virtualisation software, which can allow a system to be reconfigured to run a certain set of software for a very short amount of time, has shaken up the software industry's traditional per-processor licensing models.