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KevinDetron
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Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by KevinDetron »

Hi!

We are an MSP and have set up an Enterprise Manager for one of our customers. This customer currently has 2 B&R servers and will end up with around 6 more on different sites and infrastructures and we wanted to centralize license management (VUL) for all sites.

While we are working on deploying B&R on each site, we will gradually subscribe to more VUL licenses to cover all additional Vmware VMs we need to backup.

However, we now have three separate license subscriptions and varying end dates and will end with many more before the project is finished.

Enterprise Manager only accepts one license file, I do not understand the decision behind this as it forces customers to either pay additional costs to co-term all licenses or loose costs by merging licenses and cutting their end dates short. As was explained to us by Veeam when I made a case about this matter.

For a central license server, I would very much expect and like to see it accept multiple license files and honor each separate end date of those subscriptions. I understand Veeam wants to get paid, but this is a very awkward thing to do too customers. I thought about co-terming any new licenses we subscribe too but having a short end date <1y might not even be possible or might mean a worse deal on what it costs.

I asked the Veeam employee who handled our case regarding the licenses and asked where I could enter a feature request and was relayed to this forum. My question than is, can you enter a feature request to make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files?

Kind regards,

Kevin
Gostev
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by Gostev »

Hi, Kevin.

This is not something Enterprise Manager was designed to do. It was never meant for MSPs to manage their clients with a variety of licenses, but rather for a single end user to manage its multiple backup servers all sharing the single license file (including for the centralized license consumption tracking).

It is unlikely that Enterprise Manager will be expanded to MSP use case in future because for MSPs, we already have the Veeam Service Provider Console.

Thanks!
Origin 2000
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by Origin 2000 »

@KevinDetron,

this EM is dedicated to that one customer so technicaly its owned by your customer and you only do the management and is responsible to keep it running right? If so your customer needs to merge his VUL subscription into one which will end into a single license file which can be importet. If customer have a mix of Essentials and Non-Essentials VUL that the Essentials needs to be upgraded first because only licenses of the same type/edition can be merged.

If you try to install EM afor "you" and manage different Tenants through it than this is a violation and it kicks in what @Gostev has written.

But for my understand your customer have its own dedicated gear.

Regards,
Joerg
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by Gostev »

In this case, co-terming and merging the licenses is the way to go. Please keep in mind that the Veeam Licensing Policy has always prohibited protecting different parts of the same IT environment with different licenses. So it's not about "Veeam wanting to get paid" but rather about basic EULA compliance. In fact, this policy is the very reason why the Enterprise Manager (EM) was built to support a single license file only. It even has the specific functionality to force its license to all connected backup servers, in case the existing licenses on them don't match the EM license.
KevinDetron
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by KevinDetron »

Hi, thank you for your replies.

I do not mean one central EM license server for multiple customers. I'm talking about one EM license server for one customer environment, who has different sites and different B&R servers with different license files and end dates.

We are now forced to co-term different licenses who were subscribed to on different dates resulting in unexpected costs.

We have 200 licenses in total, divided over three license subscriptions with varying end dates, I would like to see EM accept the three licenses instead of having to co-term. Resulting in one pool of 200 nodes to backup with the different underlying B&R servers, and if one of the end dates is reached the pool with subtract the amount licensed by that one license file and any warning and grace period system will trigger if all the B&R servers together have more nodes to backup.

Thank you,

Kevin
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by KevinDetron »

Gostev wrote: Apr 02, 2023 8:24 pm Please keep in mind that the Veeam Licensing Policy has always prohibited protecting different parts of the same IT environment with different licenses.
This doesn't make sense to me. If I have two B&R servers without EM and each has its own 100 VUL license file we are not compliant according to the Veeam Licensing Policy?
Gostev wrote: Apr 02, 2023 8:24 pm It even has the specific functionality to force its license to all connected backup servers, in case the existing licenses on them don't match the EM license.
Yes, this is why we wanted to use EM, so we have one central licensing server for all B&R servers in the environment. But it removes the capability to have a separate subscription per B&R server on each customer site (same customer) because EM won't accept multiple license files. So while this customer is growing, each new site where we expand with an additional B&R server, all other licenses have to be co-termed, resulting in unexpected costs that would otherwise have only come around when those licenses had reached their end date and would have needed to be extended.

In my mind EM now complicates the whole concept of license server and license files, where it should instead have made it simpler as a central licensing component. I'm contemplating to now remove EM and have each B&R server have its own license file as we had before.

By the way, most licensing servers that I know of allow this; Citrix, RDS, etc. allow multiple license files with varying end dates or either use monthly pay-per-use subscription model in which case the license file loses its importance and it's all about monthly usage reporting.
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by Gostev »

KevinDetron wrote: Apr 06, 2023 9:14 amThis doesn't make sense to me. If I have two B&R servers without EM and each has its own 100 VUL license file we are not compliant according to the Veeam Licensing Policy?
If the two B&R servers protect different parts of the same IT infrastructure then yes, you are not compliant with the Veeam Licensing Policy paragraph 1.11.

If the two B&R servers are protecting completely different IT infrastructures, then you are fine. Good real-life example I keep seeing is campuses of many large universities: despite central procurement (done at the university level), each campus tends to have its own independent IT team and a separate IT infrastructure.

The fact that you're trying to manage protection of the two IT environments centrally indicates strongly that they are really a part of the same IT infrastructure that is managed by the single IT team. A real-life example of a common mistake I'm seeing is treating secondary or remote sites as separate infrastructures. Here at Veeam we too have a good dozen big and small IT sites worldwide due to our global presence, but they are all a part of the single IT infrastructure managed by the single IT team.
KevinDetron wrote: Apr 06, 2023 9:14 amBy the way, most licensing servers that I know of allow this; Citrix, RDS, etc. allow multiple license files with varying end dates or either use monthly pay-per-use subscription model in which case the license file loses its importance and it's all about monthly usage reporting.
Veeam provides exactly this with the Rental licensing option for Managed Service Providers (MSP). You may consider using it for your clients, just need to register as a VCSP with Veeam. All my comments above are for Subscription licensing that is meant for End Users to use.
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by KevinDetron »

Thank you, I will take this into consideration and act accordingly.
KevinDetron
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by KevinDetron »

Gostev wrote: Apr 06, 2023 12:08 pm If the two B&R servers protect different parts of the same IT infrastructure then yes, you are not compliant with the Veeam Licensing Policy paragraph 1.11.

If the two B&R servers are protecting completely different IT infrastructures, then you are fine. Good real-life example I keep seeing is campuses of many large universities: despite central procurement (done at the university level), each campus tends to have its own independent IT team and a separate IT infrastructure.

The fact that you're trying to manage protection of the two IT environments centrally indicates strongly that they are really a part of the same IT infrastructure that is managed by the single IT team. A real-life example of a common mistake I'm seeing is treating secondary or remote sites as separate infrastructures. Here at Veeam we too have a good dozen big and small IT sites worldwide due to our global presence, but they are all a part of the single IT infrastructure managed by the single IT team.
I believe the Veeam Licensing Policy paragraph 1.11 is saying something else, or I am interpreting it differently. In any case it might need a review/update according to what you are telling me.

I'm reading that as long as an infrastructure does not share the same servers and storage systems it is considered a different infrastructure from the perspective of a Veeam B&R server and its licensing. The Veeam Licensing Policy does not specify if that infrastructure should be managed by a different IT-team or be physically located at a different site. As it reads here, I could have servers and storage hanging in the same rack and according to the Veeam Licensing Policy I'll still be allowed to use different Veeam licenses if each B&R servers do not touch eachothers clusters of servers and storage. If each Veeam B&R server only touches its own infrastructure of servers and storage than I should be compliant and not have to use Veeam Enterprise Manager?
"Customers can use multiple License Keys with different license terms, but only for separate backup infrastructures (which are defined as not sharing servers or storage between each other and are protecting different Source infrastructures). Veeam centralized management is not available/allowed for such use cases. In these cases, Customers will be provided with separate license files for each separate backup infrastructure."
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Re: Make Enterprise Manager accept multiple license files

Post by Gostev » 1 person likes this post

KevinDetron wrote: Apr 11, 2023 10:26 amI'm reading that as long as an infrastructure does not share the same servers and storage systems it is considered a different infrastructure
It is a false impression because you're ignoring that the same sentence continues with "and are protecting different Source infrastructures", which refers to the source IT infrastructure. The two clusters you are referring to in your example are most likely a part of the same source infrastructure belonging to the same company and managed by the same IT team.

I was directly involved in creating this licensing policy (this was well over 10 years ago) so I know exactly why this was added. The main goal (at the time) was to ensure customers are unable to exploit multiple licensing options we provide. Some actual examples of observed licensing exploits which we were looking to address with the Licensing Policy at the time were:
1. Protecting different parts of the same IT infrastructure with multiple Veeam Essentials installs (which are cheap but limited to 6 sockets then / 50 instances later). This is obviously against the spirit of Veeam Essentials, which is priced for small companies but has a limit to ensure it cannot be used in larger environments.
2. Acquiring multiple perpetual licenses for different parts of the same IT infrastructure, not renewing maintenance on any of them but the smallest one, thus keeping access to support and updates through this smallest active license.
3. Licensing most of the environment with Standard Edition, buying one socket of more expensive Enterprise and Enterprise Plus Edition license and using advanced restore capabilities of those editions on backups imported from Standard Edition installs.

This is why a reference to "different Source infrastructures" was included to ensure our customers are not allowed to use multiple licenses for different parts of the same infrastructure. And Veeam Backup Enterprise Manager (released as a part of VBR v4) was designed with this in mind, only accepting a single license and forcing this license to all backup servers it managed.

Further, having this restriction documented allowed us to introduce the Community Edition (free but limited to 10 instances), which without this policy would enable using paid and CE installs (or multiple CE installs) for protecting different parts of the same IT infrastructure. Again, this is obviously against the spirit of CE, which is specifically designed for protecting VSMB environments with under 10 workloads total. But this is also something that is only enforceable with the Licensing Policy, because multiple CE installs are not possible to prevent technically.

So that's the story of the logic behind this statement and what exactly we tried to achieve by adding it... as they say, the Spirit of the Law. If you have some specific suggestion on how we can make the Letter of the Law clearer, I'm happy to take your feedback to the appropriate folks and have them add corresponding clarifications. Because out of 4 potential exploits mentioned above, 3 are still actual today - so having this restriction in the Licensing Policy is as important as ever.

Perhaps it's time for Veeam to review the restrictions anyway due to new realities of VUL licensing. For example, VUL Subscription licenses specifically can potentially be made an exception to the policy (again, with an exception of VUL Essentials).
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