The licensing of enterprise software applications has always been overly complex. In general, application vendors have opted to license software based on the number of processors being used or the amount of data being consumed. Both approaches are becoming increasingly problematic from a cost perspective.

Given the increase in the number of processors organizations run these days thanks to the rise of multicore processors, the number of processors on a server doesn’t really correlate anymore to the business value of the software. At the same time, the Big Data era means organizations now are saving every piece of data they have in case they need it for an analytics application layer on. In both cases, archaic approaches to software licensing based on hardware metrics wind up actually being an inhibitor of software adoption.

One of the first software vendors to take this issue head on is Actian, a provider of Big Data analytics and data integration software. This week it added a Right to Deploy option to its business model that gives customers license to unlimited consumption of the company’s software over a specific period of time, along with the right to continue using what has been deployed in perpetuity.

Formed via the amalgamation of Ingres, Versant and Pervasive Software, Actian is trying to combine advanced database and data integration software with Hadoop to serve emerging demand for Big Data analytics applications that need to run in real time.

In pursuit of that opportunity, John Santaferraro, vice president of Marketing for the Actian Analytics Platform, contends that complex licensing models involving hardware metrics have become a disservice to customers and vendors alike. Existing licensing models wind up doing more to inhibit adoption of emerging technologies than actually promote them, he said.

Like a lot of software vendors, Actian is trying to expand its customer base in the face of stiff competition. To that end, Actian joined a pantheon of software vendors offering a free community edition of its software in the form of an Express Edition of its platform. The goal is to give customers a taste of the Actian platform before having to financially commit, said Santaferraro.

By adjusting its licensing schemes and making its software more accessible from a total cost of initial acquisition perspective, Actian proactively is trying to expand the available market for a Big Data analytics platform that combines Hadoop with vector processing and massively parallel processing (MPP) engines that enable Big Data analytics to delivered in real time.

As a provider of what is clearly a set of emerging technologies, Actian is trying to make more accessible what is admittedly a complex set of products to deploy and master. For solution providers, that kind of approach to licensing is critical at a time when most customers need to grow into Big Data analytics over an extended period of time.

Of course, none of this means Actian is about to take the Big Data analytics market by storm. But it does mean that from both a customer and channel perspective, Actian has a much better chance of ultimately succeeding in this category than it did the week before.