OpenLM Goes Live with LMH

OpenLM has kicked off 2017 with the launch of a new and unique license manager hosting service called LMH or ‘License Manager Hosted’.

The new service offers many benefits to organizations who use software that requires a license manager like Flexera Software’s® FlexNet®. First of all they don’t need to install a thing on their network and secondly, all the maintenance of the license manager is done by us. That includes software upgrades, configuration and backups.

And that’s not all! OpenLM’s LMH comes complete with OpenLM Cloud, OpenLM’s license app monitoring and optimization tool, that gives the license administrator essential information about license usage for efficient management of software licenses.

For an overview of the benefits, go to the License Manager Hosted product page.

 

OpenLM Version 3.3 Released

OpenLM has released version 3.3 of its license monitoring and management tool. Major enhancements include the availability of the new extensions – a BI tool called Usage Analytics (a limited version was released with version 3.2) and Proactive App Manager, a brand new management feature for any installed software including software that is not managed by any kind of license manager, and Windows authentication as an alternative method of logging in to the OpenLM server.

Many of the new features come following requests from customers. Version 3.3 includes all bug fixes since the release of version 3.2 and these are documented in OpenLM Software Revisions

Following is a brief description of the main enhancements.

Core Product Report Improvements

The capability of scheduling and automatically emailing reports is not limited to the new BI extension. It has been added also to the basic reports in OpenLM EasyAdmin interface. Important enhancements have been added also to the license utilization chart including an aggregated usage presentation, quality of service (indicates license effectiveness) and detection of abnormal usage patterns, and improvements in the denials report.

More Licensing Managers Supported

The Licman and Olicense license managers are now supported and enhancements have been made to license managers that were already supported, such as support for DSLS token-based model, denials for the LM-X license manager, BetaLM triad-server redundancy, as well as improvements in Reprise RLM and Sentinel RMS.

Windows Authentication

In version 3.3 OpenLM includes a Windows Authentication scheme. This feature enables login via the standard Windows login process using the username and password registered on the organizational Directory Service.

FLEXlm License File Upload

FLEXlm license files, which have been fetched from the remote license server to the administrator’s workstation, can now be edited and replaced on the FLEXlm server.

Other UI Improvements

Improved capability in Checkout Policy window to match the license checkout policy (of the licenses reported as ‘used’) with the actual policy practiced by the license manager, active sessions window improved, license server down alert, configuration change status highlighted in configuration tool.

New Power Extensions

Apart from the enhancements to the core product, the release of OpenLM 3.3 is accompanied by the release of two powerful new extensions – Usage Analytics and Proactive App Manager. Extensions are optional extra modules that add extended capabilities to the OpenLM license manager. The two new additions are described below

Usage Analytics

An advanced analytical reporting tool that consolidates all software usage and license allocation data monitored by OpenLM. It comes with additional predefined usage and utilization reports to those included in the OpenLM core product, such as ‘Peak daily concurrent usage’ that shows usage and denials together on the same report and ‘Peak Daily Utilization %’.

Apart from the new predefined reports, there is a report generator that allows you to create an unlimited number of custom reports. Output can be exported to PDF, CSV, HTML, Excel and text. The database can be queried directly through Excel or any SQL query tool and external BI tools are fully supported – both through the built-in OLAP cube view and direct querying of the consolidated trends database. All reports can be scheduled for automatic running and distribution to stakeholders, tailored to the recipient.

Usage Analytics is an OpenLM extension (optional extra).

Proactive App Manager

A system for monitoring and controlling the use of any software in the organization regardless of the licensing scheme in effect. Proactive License Management allows you to implement your own allocation policy. It lets you automatically intercept the launch of applications to avoid excessive usage and enforce distributed usage according to user group, location and time.

One benefit of using Proactive App Manager is to prevent consumption of unnecessary buckets (a licensing model in which a set period of usage time is billed for even when only a fraction of it has been used).

Another benefit specifically for Autodesk admins is the prevention of launching different versions of products which don’t conform to the Autodesk cascading mechanism (e.g. Autocad 2015 and 3DS MAX 2016).

The new module gives you much needed control over license allocation in cases where usage is unrestricted and the vendor charges on the basis of actual usage made and in cases where there is the need to comply with license policies but there is no mechanism in place to enforce it. License admins will appreciate how this tool can help them in negotiations with software vendors via the usage data it provides.

These are just some examples of how you can benefit from the OpenLM Proactive App Manager, which can intercept almost any application launch process.   

Proactive App Manager is an OpenLM extension (optional extra).

Availability

OpenLM version 3.3 and the two new extension are available now! Whether you are a seasoned OpenLM user of just curious, you are invited to download and try. We invite existing users to listen in to our free ‘3.3 What’s New’ webinar to understand the benefits of upgrading to 3.3 in the fastest way possible. If you just want to learn what OpenLM is all about, we have a regular webinar slot every week just for you!

For more information:

Contact us: https://www.openlm.com/contact-us/

Signup for the webinar https://www.openlm.com/webinar-registration/

Download OpenLM 3.3: https://www.openlm.com/download/

 

OpenLM Gaining Ground in Germany

2016 has proved to be a successful year for OpenLM in Germany. OpenLM’s exclusive distributor SECOPTENA signed reseller agreements with two new IT software specialists, bringing the total number of German companies representing OpenLM to 4.

The latest partner to join the OpenLM reseller network was DeskCenter in a technology partnership for the management of network licenses. DeskCenter is a software manufacturer headquartered in Leipzig Germany that focuses on IT infrastructure and lifecycle management. The company will sell OpenLM in combination with their DeskCenter Management Suite. The integration will simplify the administration of all current license models via a common user interface. SECOPTENA took part in DeskCenter’s recent December 2016 Road Show.

The new agreement comes shortly after SECOPTENA appointed Encad consulting as its second reseller in Germany. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Augsburg, Encad consulting is an information technology and services company that specializes in CAD and PLM solutions. It sells product from Dassault Systèmes (CATIA, SIMULIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, 3DVIA), which are supported by OpenLM license management software.

SECOPTENA will train and support the new partners and provide them first level support. The resellers will be the initial contact for their customers, will handle hotline-support and be active in acquiring new customers.

The first reseller acquired by SECOPTENA was K2D in 2013. K2D is a leading provider of CAD software and digital design communication solutions.

See more about DeskCenter (in German) and its solutions

See Encad’s OpenLM page (in German): https://www.encad-consulting.de/produkte/plm/openlm/

See more about K2D’s licensing solutions (in German): K2D GmbH

 

SECOPTENA GmbH is a solution and service provider for IT governance and IT compliance and has played a key role in OpenLM’s penetration to the German market since becoming an OpenLM strategic partner in 2011. The two companies have exhibited together in several expos. See http://www.secoptena.com/openlm/

 

Let My License Flow!

The IT industry is in the midst of a trend of migration from local network servers to the cloud and this trend has affected license servers too. Vendors present cloud-based licensing as a highly flexible and hence desirable form of license acquisition. Using cloud license servers for cloud applications makes sense. However, using them to manage floating desktop application licenses, while beneficial to the vendor, has some serious drawbacks for the user organization. These drawbacks are the subject of this article.

Floating Licenses

Floating licenses, also referred to as ‘network’ or ‘concurrent’ licenses, are agreements in which a limited number of licenses are shared among a group of users and the number of licenses concurrently in use cannot go beyond the total number of licenses purchased. Floating licenses are normally implemented by a service or a daemon that acts as a server. The server enforces license usage restrictions as dictated by the license agreement. Floating licenses provide the user organization flexibility by granting multiple users access to a relatively small number of licenses on the basis of time-sharing.

Traditional on-premise license servers provide valuable information and functionality to the customer user organization including direct querying of license usage information, and provide valuable information about the utilization of expensive software licenses.

Vendor Preference for Named Licenses

Recently there has been  a push by vendors to move users from the traditional, floating license model to that of ‘named’ licenses, implemented by a cloud-based license manager. In this model, licenses are allocated to specific users. The applications installed on end-user workstations then communicate with cloud license servers to obtain the required licenses but the cloud-based license manager is otherwise mostly inaccessible to the client.

Less Control to the User Organization

  • While cloud license management doesn’t necessarily exclude the floating license model, most tend to skip this feature in favor of named users. The main drawbacks can be summarized as follows:
  • Migration to cloud-based named licensing models commonly involves additional expenditure. For example, clients are forced to spend money on subscription fees they may have otherwise legally chosen to avoid.
  • The customer loses much of the control they have over license allocation and is left with the decision to allocate the license to the user or not.
  • License usage reporting is more complex.
  • License monitoring and billing is left to the vendor.
  • Usage efficiency is reduced compared to floating licenses. There is a risk of licenses being allocated to named users that may not use them.
  • Clients don’t have essential information relating to license efficiency. License administrators have difficulty determining actual license levels required by each user, user group and organizational unit or preferences among users.
  • Once the move to cloud licensing has been made, it may be difficult to move to an alternative method of licensing, if and when the terms of the present license agreement change.
  • The client’s choice of using an older software version (e.g. a version to which users have become accustomed or for which they have a custom application) may be taken away. Vendors have the ability to force upgrade at their discretion.
  • The number of licenses required for purchase and the period of license subscriptions are parameters that must be determined by the customer prior to purchase. This information is no longer in their hands.
  • When a token-based approach is taken, some vendors have a policy that any unused license tokens at the end of the subscription period will be lost. This further demonstrates the need to monitor and evaluate the usage of licenses by an independent 3rd party tool.

Summary

New licensing schemas might be an opportunity for simplification, but also risk additional expenses and reduced usage efficiency. Floating licenses, when managed properly by an on-premise license manager have proved to be the most cost-effective way of using expensive software.

Before jumping at vendors’ suggestions of moving to cloud-based license management – especially if it replaces the floating model with a named one – organizations would do well to consider the points mentioned above. It might well be worth keeping to the locally managed floating license model for now and to review the current cloud solution in the future, when the disadvantages may have been resolved. Even if one vendor forces your hand, hybrid licensing is an option that can let you keep actively monitoring at least part of your license usage.

OpenLM Now Supports Automatic ‘Save and Close’ for ArcGIS Pro

OpenLM has released version 3.3 of its Active Agent add-on to its core license management product which allows automatic save and close of Esri’s ArcGIS Pro product.

The new ArcGIS Pro software from Esri was initially released using a named license policy. Recently Esri added the concurrent licensing option to ArcGIS Pro and this has created a situation in some user organizations when the license allocation gets used up due to users not exiting the application.

Using the new version, when OpenLM detects an idle session of ArcGIS Pro, the user’s work is saved, the application is actively shut down and a notification is displayed on the session user’s screen. The location of automatic saving is configurable, and so doesn’t need to override the current open project.

Once the idle session is closed, users who have been waiting for licenses to become available will be notified.

Support for the ArcGIS Pro product is added to the automatic save and close capabilities that can be applied to idle MATLAB , Autodesk, Solidworks and ArcGIS (non-Pro) sessions.

Upgrading to version 3.3 of the OpenLM Active Agent is free for all users under maintenance.

Software Asset Management and Audits

Earlier this year, Gartner published a report called ‘Software Asset Management Is Now a C-Level Imperative’ in which it explains how software management has become a major issue not just for CIO’s but also CFO’s and other top executives, including the CEO. The criticality of software in business processes is pushing those responsible for information technology management to provide better transparency into software usage, improve license compliance and integrate SAM into IT governance.

The report forewarns IT managers of the danger of having software asset management forced on them by the CEO who demands transparency of the IT function. CIOs, they say, should be aware that if they don’t do it themselves, the task may be given over to those outside of IT; the business demands increasing transparency and mature governance from IT and in particular requires detailed information to help business leaders understand the value of their IT investment and its risks. It also makes it clear that subscriptions are not replacing complex licensing scenarios but rather adding to them and points to the need for third party solutions to help achieve this.  The definition of an IT asset, claims the report, is not uniform across any one organization and the task of defining which software needs to be managed and how, falls largely into the lap of the IT manager.

Who is Responsible for Asset Management?

In the survey done by Gartner, prior to producing the report, 12% of CEO’s and 9% of CIO’s are directly responsible for software asset management. 41% are IT staff and the rest are spread across various roles in the organization including CTO, COO, CFO and VPs.

Drivers

The procurement department has traditionally been at the a front runner in raising awareness of SAM solutions; they have been ones who have had to deal with vendor license compliance claims and audits. Internal data security has an interest too due to the dangers that non-authorized and unpatched software can introduce to the enterprise and senior executive management  for its part has its interest in improving transparency and controlling IT expenditure.

According the the answers provided by the participants of Gartner’s survey, today’s drivers are the improvement of IT processes, better service delivery, better aligning of software strategy and needs with the business – in other words current consumption and future demands,  improving software compliance and the ability to respond to software audits.

Software Audits

CIOs and other executives are all applying pressure to minimize the impact of software audits, both from a financial point of view and an operational one. A great many enterprises get audited annually by software vendors and the implications can include demands for unbudgeted expenses in additional license purchases, payment of back maintenance and even the cost of the audit,not to mention requirements for new contracts without negotiating leverage. Even where audits result in no financial penalties, the resource requirements and disruption to business operations during the audit can be significant.

The full report can be purchased at the following link: https://www.gartner.com/doc/3237218/software-asset-management-clevel-imperative

OpenLM Partners with Belarc to Offer a Complete ITAM Solution

OpenLM announces a new cooperation with Belarc that will provide its customers with a complete IT asset management platform along with OpenLM’s advanced engineering software license management features.

Belarc’s cloud architecture allows users to simplify and automate the management of all of their desktops, servers and laptops throughout the world, using a single database and Intranet server. Belarc’s products automatically create an accurate and up-to-date central repository (CMDB), consisting of detailed software, hardware and security configurations.They are used for IT asset management, configuration management, cyber security status, information assurance audits, and more. The company also offers the Belarc Advisor, a free personal PC audit tool.

The new cooperation will enable the customers of both companies to enjoy two complementary products – Belarc’s asset management solution and OpenLM’s license management solution – in a discounted price.

You can already use the Belarc Advisor, a free for personal use PC audit product, or try the BelManage product.

For more information, please contact us.

New Testimonial

It’s always nice to receive a new testimonial from a happy customer!

 

“We have been using OpenLM license management software for many years with great success. It allows one click access to see all available licenses. It also enables disconnection of unused licenses and more importantly for us it has a customizable reporting function to audit licence use. It is not expensive and the technical support is excellent.”

Philip C Nelson, GIS Manager, Bord na Móna, Ireland

 

To read more of our customer testimonials, click here.

 

Recent Licensing Trends

Software licensing models constantly change. This topic is far too complex and wide to review in a short blog post, but we will try to briefly discuss two of the recent trends: subscription and named licenses.

Perpetual Vs. Subscription Licenses:

We see major vendors that are now shifting from perpetual to subscription licenses, such as Autodesk, that has been pushing this forward this year.

The benefits of subscription licensing may be:

  • Easier and less complex model
  • Payment is based on operational budget
  • Wider package

The downside is:

  • It typically costs more over time
  • Can’t use it in case no budget is available to renew
  • Users tend to get capabilities they don’t really need

Named Users Vs. Concurrent / Floating Licenses

Vendors are also trying to shift from more complex concurrent / floating licenses to a more “simple” named users licenses. Yes, they are much easier to manage compared to concurrent licenses, but not as efficient if you have management capabilities. A common downside is the need to dedicate a named license to users that are only utilizing the license occasionally. A better approach would be to dedicate the named licenses to power users and allow occasional users to access the floating license pool.

We would also like to mention a unique licensing method that we are now supporting. Bentley’s software licensing method is unique in that a user will always get the license he needs, even in the customer don’t want to pay for that license. This model is based on local or cloud-based license managers and an overuse counting mechanism that the customer can’t control (unless he’s using the OpenLM for Bentley extension).

The bottom line is that vendors are trying to reduce the customer’s options and charge more money for similar services. The mix of licensing options (floating, token, named, node locked etc.) allowed organization that wanted to efficiently manage their software license a lot of options. However, software vendors are now trying to move to a more limited environment.