OpenLM Release number unification

OpenLM traditionally used sequence release numbers to mark new versions of the software (currently the latest is 5.6). As the number of our software components is constantly growing the ability to follow up with the current version of the software becomes complex and requires customer attention. 

Today we announce a change of policy that unifies the release number of our different software products. 

New unified version number

The new release number will be composed of the year, month, date, and build number as follows:

<year>.<month>.<date>.<hours minutes>

So the new release of OpenLM published on May 30 2021 at 10:30 will get the number: 21.05.30.1030

As explained above we are aiming for the unification of all components to get the same release number.  All release components such as OpenLM Server, OpenLM Broker, OpenLM App Manager will have the same release number format.

Software updates

Each software update will get the version number according to the month it was released. For example, if we release an update in June the release number will be 21.06.xx.xx.

Compatibility between releases

OpenLM is making an effort to assure compatibility between releases of software but in some cases, we have to break compatibility, i.e. the new version can’t work with an older version of another component. 

For example, our new server version 21.05.xx.xxxx is able to support OpenLM Agent version 5 but it does not support broker version 5 and requires broker version 21.X.

Compatibility between our software releases will be documented here.

Summary

OpenLM unification enables our customers to easily know how updated their current software version is. Compatibility between software components will be also available on our website.

OpenLM Cloud 2021

OpenLM already supports customers on the cloud for the last four years, however we have recently completed an almost complete upgrade and are currently running on a completely new infrastructure.

Our efforts are based on the fact that many of our customers prefer OpenLM as a cloud-based solution instead of an on-premise solution.

What is new in OpenLM Cloud?

Our cloud solution is based on OpenLM version 6.0. This new code base runs on any platform. Our cloud is running on Linux, which allows us to provide a reasonable pricing and performance. 

The system also features a new identity system that uses Open Identity and OAuth 2.0 standards. A full list of new features is available in this article (link).

What are the limitation of OpenLM Cloud platforms

OpenLM Cloud currently has some limitations compared to our on-premises platform. Our team is presently working to bridge these gaps as follows:

  • OpenLM Report Scheduler – Q2 2021
  • OpenLM Agent – Q2 2021
  • OpenLM Role based security – Q2 2021

As you can see, we plan to close all the gaps within the next three months.

Manual vs. Automatic operational mode

Based on customer requests we have added support for manual upload for FLEXlm license servers. This request was made in order to avoid the requirement to install software during the first stage of implementation. 

Although real-time usage data is not provided in this mode, customers can upload their data and get ongoing usage charts and all other OpenLM reports. 

After installing OpenLM Brokers on the organization license servers, the system switches to automatic mode, providing real time usage information and other advanced features.

OpenLM Cloud operational costs

OpenLM Cloud offers customers an advanced enterprise system, while removing most of the burdens of keeping it updated. As part of the cloud service, the OpenLM team is fully responsible for maintaining all the components of the system including the servers and databases. The only components that our clients need to maintain are the agents. Some of the agents are complementary and may not be implemented.

This is the list of our Agents:

OpenLM Broker is OpenLM’s license server agent. It is a cross-platform application that can be installed on any operating system and that sends usage data from the license server to OpenLM Server. It is optional for some license servers, but highly recommended in most cases.

OpenLM end user agent is available as an option, and the organization may choose to install it on end user agents to enhance license utilization. The OpenLM End User agent is not currently available on the cloud, but we plan to support it on the cloud in the current quarter, the Q2 2021. 

Directory Synchronization Agent – Most of our medium and large customers synchronize OpenLM with their directory in order to get users and groups into OpenLM Server. This enables a number of features, such as cost center billing, license allocation, role-based security. The Directory Synchronization agent should be installed on an on-premises computer that has access to the domain controller and it relays information to OpenLM server. 

Typical configuration

The following figure illustrates a typical system configuration for OpenLM Cloud and an on-premises OpenLM implementation. As an example we used a company with three locations in three continents, as is typical of OpenLM customers.

The on-premises implementation might look as follows:

The On-Premises implementation includes all the elements of the system including the OpenLM Server component and the Directory Synchronization Service. These two server side components have databases that need to be secured and backuped.

 

 

The cloud implementation of the same system is significantly simpler. Agents need to be installed on each license server which reports directly to the cloud. DS Agent can be installed to synchronize directory data from the domain controller. Other optional agents can be implemented on end users workstations, also, reporting directly to the cloud.

Summary

OpenLM Cloud offers the same value to OpenLM customers while significantly reducing the operational costs of OpenLM.

OpenLM is an ideal solution for organizations that are distributed among numerous locations, and when users collaborate from different offices and from home.

Visit our website to learn and register on OpenLM Cloud.

OpenLM Server v5.6 release

Important note: upgrading to v5.6 requires a new license file. Please contact sales@openlm.com to request one.
OpenLM Server v5.6. represents the cornerstone phase in the development and further upgrade to v6. Here is why:

Announcing MariaDB integration

The spotlight of this release is the support for MariaDB – the replacement solution for the Firebird database engine. Firebird has ceased the maintenance, thus creating serious gaps in security aspects. In fact, v5.6 is the precursor of the OpenLM v6, which will deprecate the Firebird engine. We encourage you to take a step towards MariaDB now and be prepared for the next development stages.
To make the transition smoother, the OpenLM v5.6 installer will be delivered with an integrated migration utility. You can either choose to perform the migration now or at a later stage.

Alternatively, you can contact our support team to help you with the transition.

These changes come as a result of our strive to align to security & performance standards and make things easier for everyone. We envision this transition as the way forward and the right response to all the challenges and novelties.

Download OpenLM Server v5.6.0 from here.

Support for HASP LM via OpenLM Broker

Another implementation coming to the light with this version is Broker support for Sentinel HASP, upon request from our customers. Previously, Sentinel HASP could only be interfaced via OpenLM Server. This feature is useful if you wish to acquire more flexibility: you can connect and read debug logs, denials.
For the rest of the bug fixes and enhancements, check the release notes.

Stay tuned!

OpenLM Server v5.5 – What is new?

On February 10 we released the OpenLM Server v5.5 – Here are the key features we want to put the focus on:

Announcing OpenLM Agent licensed via Reusable Tokens 

Important note!

OpenLM Active Agent users must first get a license file for Version 5.5 before continuing with the upgrade.

To get the license, contact our Sales team at sales@openlm.com or use the chat icon on our website.

OpenLM Reusable Tokens License Manager represents an important milestone in our development path and commitment. This will bring substantial value and flexibility to the OpenLM users, given the fact the same tokens have capabilities to manage any application for any user. 

Furthermore, the management, monitoring and reporting are going to become much easier: all the gathered historical data will help create a clear picture on the amount of Tokens required. Thus, optimizing the expenditures and instead, focusing on what really matters.

For example, if previously the Active Agent functionality used to be a user named licensing model, now the token-based model offers freedom and flexibility to: 

  • Track all the data sent by the Agents and create a token pool directly proportional to your traffic
  • Actual usage
  • Suspend & Resume 
  • Save & Close
  • Various Agent procedures

Save&Close functionality for oil applications

Petra, Harmony, and Kingdom can now benefit from the Save&Close functionality.

ServiceNow: Authentication via OAuth 2.0

OpenLM is committed to delivering products that align with the most up to date technology and security standards. This way, the OAuth 2.0 protocol has been  implemented to connect to the  ServiceNow (via db/config file).

ServiceNow: Proxy Support 

OpenLM ServiceNow Adapter is now able to connect to a servicenow.com instance via a dedicated port.

Check out the full log of bug fixes and enhancements. Stay tuned!

The enhanced version 6 of OpenLM Cloud has been released

Our team is delighted to introduce the latest version of the OpenLM for Cloud.

The progressive work and the desire to improve our user friendliness has brought to the light some substantial enhancements:

A big achievement for this release is the support of the Directory Synchronization Service on OpenLM Cloud.

If you are new with OpenLM, our Cloud Tour will guide you through the onboarding process –  here you are with the first monitored license manager!

Do not worry if you are not granted all the permissions – the FlexLM logs and debug files can be manually uploaded to the Cloud. This is at the ready solution for a quick insight on the licenses across your company.

Therewith, the License Server widget comes with a new UI, still to make you cherish the experience with OpenLM.

Stay tuned and check our release note page for upcoming news!

Please feel free to contact OpenLM Support with any questions or requests.

Application Management and OpenLM

What is Application Management?

Application management covers best practices, techniques and procedures that are used to ensure application’s optimal operation, performance and efficiency. AM is done by organizations that use different applications to manage their application’s operation, maintenance, versioning, and upgrading.

Application Management (AM) is different from Application Lifetime Management (ALM) that handles the product lifecycle management (governance, development, and maintenance) of computer programs by the developing company. It encompasses requirements management, software architecture, computer programming, software testing, software maintenance, change management, continuous integration, project management, and release management. Link to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_lifecycle_management

What is OpenLM?

OpenLM is a license management software that is utilized by organizations to manage and optimize the utilization of their applications. OpenLM is a Software Assets Management for Engineering Licensing that is focusing on the management and optimization of licenses that are managed by a License Server.

How Application Management is connected to License Management?

Licensing is a significant aspect in Application Management and closely relates to the operation of the applications within the organization.

There are many elements related to licenses, we will mention only a few:

  1. Licensing compliance is a major risk for organizations using software applications. In case of failure to comply, organizations can face significant costs and disrupted operations.
  2. Applications are tightly linked to software licensing. The inability of our users in the organization to have access to the applications that they need reduces productivity and frustrates our users.
  3. Typically, software vendors sell different levels of applications based on the functionality supported. This is a common way of allowing their customers to select the level that best meets their needs. Access to the different application levels is typically controlled by the application license mechanism.
  4. When it comes to applications, sometimes geography is a factor. For instance, the application is only accessible from one continent or country. These limitations are generally imposed by the vendors in order to enable different pricing, to different users groups within the same company. The company pays different prices for the same application when it is accessed by users on different continents. Another reason for such limitations are related to the ability of the software vendor to charge more for applications that run around the clock by users on different continents.

Summary

License management is an integral part of application management. Hence, OpenLM is a significant player in the Application Management arena. Many factors related to the organization’s ability to use an application are directly related to the application’s license.

 

How to estimate the number of tokens required for an active agent

OpenLM Agent licensing is based on network token that is fully explained in the following article link.

This article is discussing the best method to determine the number of tokens we need to purchase in order to assure availability. The article refers to two possible scenarios:

  • Estimation is done after OpenLM system monitors the license activity
  • Estimation is based on licensing data without a license activity data.

The problem we are trying to solve

OpenLM active agent functionality is based on tokens and we need a method that will help us to determine the number of tokens in order to support the organization.

OpenLM active agent functionality includes the following:

  • Save & Close
  • Suspend & Resume
  • Agent Procedures
  • Actual usage

This functionality is configured for a specific process and OpenLM Tokens are pulled for these features only when the process is started and released back to the OpenLM License Pool when the process is closed. 

Another important fact we need to take into consideration is that we are talking about concurrent tokens that can be used by multiple features. As features are typically not in use all the time, there is a balancing effect that is more significant as we have more users and locations in different timezones.

Decision based on OpenLM data

When we have usage data from OpenLM the decision is easier and based on real data. We basically need to base our decision on the number of concurrent sessions of the software we would like to support. 

Let’s take a simple example. Company with one license manager and one timezone. The license usage chart looks like this:

Checking the license usage chart for the last 90 days shows that if we have tokens to cover 9 concurrent users, we will provide most of the demand. If we want to cover 100% of the demand, we will need tokens for 13 concurrent users. 

Since this is Autodesk licenses, we need 400 OpenLM per session. So we need any number of tokens between 9*400=3600 to 13*400=5200 tokens.

It is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Unused tokens can be utilized by another monitored process. The more processes are monitored, the token usage balancing effect is bigger.
  • Users in other timezones can use the same tokens, on another time.

Estimation based on licensing data 

Let’s review the same example from the previous section, assuming that we don’t actually have the license usage data from OpenLM. 

What we know is the number of Autodesk seats – 14. 

Purchasing OpenLM tokens that allows 100% coverage requires us to purchase 14*400=5200 OpenLM Tokens.

We can reduce the number OpenLM token we purchase based on the following assumptions:

  1. We don’t really utilize all our Autodesk seats.
  2. We will get benefits, even if some of the Autodesk sessions are not managed by OpenLM.
  3. We have multiple processes we would like to manage and there will be a balancing effect.
  4. We have users in multiple time zones.

Summary

OpenLM Active Agent functionality is licensed using concurrent reusable tokens and helps organizations to maintain high efficiency in license usage. 

This article suggests a method that helps organizations to estimate the number of OpenLM Tokens they need to purchase in order to support their users. Basing this decision on OpenLM license usage information can yield a better result but a decision based on licensing information only can be used.

OpenLM New License Policy

The current OpenLM License Harvesting solution is limited in the number of applications that are supported. Since the beginning of 2020 we are facing a growing demand to add support to additional applications in different engineering fields.

We have invested substantial efforts in upgrading our license harvesting infrastructure so that it will be able to support a greater number of applications.

However, we noticed that with the growing number of requests that we were receiving, we were in need of a pricing model that would tie the cost to the actual use of the software and the value to the customer.. 

Reusable Token Licensing

We have decided that reusable tokens licensing fits all our requirements and that it is the best fit for OpenLM Agent functionality. Tokens will function as money and will enable OpenLM Agent functionality like “Save & Close”, “Suspend & Resume”, and so on.

Reusable token licensing provides many benefits to our users:

  • Simple and clear licensing model
  • Maximum flexibility, use the same tokens to manage any application
  • Complete management monitoring, reporting and optimization for the token licensing

 

Complete management monitoring, reporting and optimization: Following the switch to token licensing, our customers will have the best available license management capabilities, as offered by our platform, to our own licensing.

This includes ongoing monitoring and management capabilities. As usage data will be accumulated in OpenLM be available for historical reporting. Our user can always optimize the 

Token consumption by changing OpenLM configuration and divert token use for the most important purpose. 

Harvesting OpenLM Tokens

We stay true to our vision, and OpenLM will automatically harvest OpenLM Tokens when not in use. When an application is closed, either by the user or by the OpenLM license harvesting functionality, OpenLM harvests the consumed Tokens and allows other users to consume them.

How does it work?

Each customer using license harvesting will have a token license pool. Each application that the user enables license harvesting for, will require tokens, when executed by the users.

The user can decide which applications will be managed by license harvesting policy. Token will only be consumed for the selected applications. 

When the token pool is exhausted and no tokens are available, users will still be able to execute the application, but this will not be handled by the user license harvesting policy.

The system is flexible and at any time the customer can decide to shift the use of the same tokens in order to manage another application. 

The “token cost” of each software functionality is clearly presented to the customer in the OpenLM Licensing window.

New Licensing Scope

The initial scope of the licensing change is the active agent functionality that is currently licensed as a user named licensing.

This includes the following functionality:

  • Save & Close functionality 
  • Suspend & Resume functionality
  • Agent procedures
  • Actual usage 

Agent Token Consumption Policy

Tokens will be consumed once the users start the process that is managed by OpenLM Agent, as configured by the customer. The tokens are released back to the license pool once the process is closed, for any reason, either the user is closing the software or it was closed by OpenLM.

Summary

From Jan 2021 OpenLM Active Agent functionality will be licensed by our new Reusable Token licensing. This licensing enables maximum flexibility to our customers and will allow us to work closely with our customer to support more applications.

OpenLM Cloud Version 6 released

The OpenLM team is proud to present version 6 of OpenLM for Cloud.

This version introduces major changes in OpenLM infrastructure. This is a major step in our road map to be more scalable, more secure, and more open.

Version 5 focused on transforming OpenLM Server to be multi-platform software. Version 6 continues this trend and holds significant enhancements in other areas such as:

  1. Moving the whole OpenLM suite of products to work on Linux platform. One of the most expected options by our customers willing to use OpenLM Cloud is offered by this new version which provides a new cloud environment completely based on Linux. 
  2. Easy and secure identification – OpenLM Identity Service is a brand new identity provider, based on the OpenID Connect and OAuth 2.0 protocols. All components are identified by token produced by this service.
  3. New features and components available. The old SAAS management system is now replaced by other components. Most of the configuration screens were moved into easyadmin UI and will be also used later by our on-prem version. A new thin management layer is introduced and it provides registration and basic management. This new layer will evolve to supply local administration and billing.
  4. Continue developing open platform options.  RESTful APIs – we continue our ongoing effort to supply authenticated developers with a set of RESTful APIs targeting an open platform.

OpenLM Cloud environment 

Below you can see a rough sketch of the OpenLM Cloud environment

 

OpenLM Identity Provider – identifies end users and clients

OpenLM Server – our main engine that processes and persists License Managers data into a uniformed format

ServiceNow integration Service – is the connector to our ServiceNow users

Directory Synchronization Service – is the connector to customers’ directory services. Arriving soon to the cloud more powerful than ever, also supporting cloud directory synchronization.

OpenLM Brokers – are data collectors which are installed on customers site

 

By the end of this quarter we will also introduce:

OpenLM Logs-Uploader – to support customers who wish an installation-free subscription. Using this track allows manual upload of debug-logs instead of installing OpenLM Brokers on the customer site.

OpenLM Agents for Cloud – to enable license harvesting and idle sessions tracking and maximize license utilization

How to continue?

Existing cloud customers will now directly login to OpenLM UI on easyadmin.openlm.com. Management of existing license managers and configuration of new ones is now done in the easyadmin administration menu. 

Existing customers will receive email with their new account details and a link to Broker installation (supports new security)

New users are welcome to register and evaluate OpenLM for Cloud on cloud.openlm.com.

 

Please feel free to contact OpenLM Support with any questions or requests.

QoS (Quality of Service) in Engineering Licensing

QoS is a measure of the overall performance of a product or service, as perceived by the end-user. In the context of engineering, QoS can be put as the ability to get the right software tool when needed, to perform the work assigned. 

Let’s start by looking at some general, real world examples.  We are often asked to comment on our level of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction!) at billing counters in supermarkets, while logging out of online services like games, etc. or even through the old fashion pen and paper route at hotels and restaurants.

However, in IT, QoS has a much broader scope.  Imagine the plight of an IT manager in an office where the sheer volume of usage by different applications and devices, along with the excessive use of social media platforms, has put the network performance down due to a flood of traffic. Here better QoS would definitely mean that the network is readily available for important work, firewalls have been put in place to stop unnecessary leakage and the engineering team is up and ready to solve any issues.

How does QoS relate to licenses for end-user desktop applications? In the case of traditional licensing, or named licensing, QoS does not apply. Controls are specific to the terminal, and in no way can they affect the activity going on in the network, without somebody putting a check on network activity too.

However, network licenses are different. If there is more than one user on the same network, a network license allows them to share access to product licenses. The Network License Manager controls the distribution of licenses to users. Users can access the licenses based on availability and just like a physical resource, the license pool is shared amongst multiple users.

QoS can be put as the ability to get the right tool when needed. More often than not, the same application has various different versions running across the same network. Some older versions may have been retained due to cost issues, or due to compatibility with other legacy platforms. Newer versions, however, provide a better solution for a similar task.

Now let’s think of a situation. ‘ User A’ needs a license and he pulls one up from the license pool. He pulls up the newest version of the software which has some of the latest features. However, ‘User A’ works in the ‘audit’ department and does not even need the latest functionalities. In the meanwhile, ‘User B’, a senior engineer, gets the license for an older version, which affects his work.

The QoS also comes into play during the actual availability of a license. There may be times where a user asks for a license and does not get one. He gets what in engineering parlance is called a ‘denial’, and this brings the service level down.

On a macro level, if the user is asking for a license 100 times and he is getting it 100 times, we can say that the service level is 100%. Similarly, it will be 90% if he is getting the license 90 times and gets denied 10 times. The QoS is measured for the whole organization per application and not any specific user.

We also need to understand what a ‘denial’ is, and how it affects the QoS. To be put in simple terms a denial occurs when a user cannot procure a license from the pool of licenses that the organization possesses. In engineering license servers, denial measurement is complex, some denials are not a real license denial. There may be different scenarios, let us look at some of them.

Multiple license servers – Many organizations have more than one license pool serving the same application. A request that might be denied by one server might be fulfilled by another. The false-negative (in the case of the denial) might reflect on the QoS. However, platforms like OpenLM will not report such denial as a true denial and hence the service level would not be affected.

There might be a situation when a user tries to open an application multiple times after getting denials after every attempt. In such cases, many denials are reported in the raw data. OpenLM deploys smart algorithms that convert these multiple denials into a single true denial.

Borrowing and License allocations can also contribute to the QoS. Borrowing occurs when users change the network licenses to named licenses and use them (at times remotely). More often than not, they forget to return the license to the pool, preventing other users from using it.

License allocations occur when the IT manager reserves a license for a particular person or a group irrespective of whether they are using it. Reservations need to be done very carefully as there is a possibility of affecting the QoS negatively, especially when other users will get denials when they make license requisitions.

We, at OpenLM, firmly believe that this is the right time to invest in a system that monitors your engineering licenses effectively. For accessing a full-featured 30-day trial version of OpenLM visit us here.