Software Licenses as Mobile Objects in Distributed Computing Environments

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Current praxis of software licensing has been identified as major obstacle for Grid computing a couple of years ago already. Recent surveys of Clouds indicate that the same holds true for Cloud computing. As a consequence, using commercial applications that require access to a license server for authorisation at run-time has been quite limited until recently in distributed computing environments. Due to the mandatory centralised control of license usage during application run-time traditional software licensing practices are not suitable. In this paper we present a novel approach for managing software licenses as web service resources in distributed service oriented environments. Licenses become mobile objects, which may move to the environment where required to authorise the execution of a license protected application. The SmartLM solution, which has been recently implemented as a prototype decouples authorisation for license usage from authorisation for application execution.