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.

Engineering Software License Management Conference

Dear friends,

For years we have been looking for a meeting place where all the people that manage engineering licenses can meet, discuss and share ideas. During the last years I have been participating and presenting in many different conferences related to engineering or software assets management. In all these events engineering license management was marginally mentioned.

We now announce the world first Engineering licensing conference that will be fully dedicated to us, to what we do every day. “Engineering Software License Management Conference”, is about you, and what you care about.

Please join me and other leading engineering companies to an online conference to share the experiences and knowledge on how to improve the management of license usage, reduce costs, and ensure optimized utilization of expensive licenses.

We welcome everyone, regardless of the software you might be using to manage your engineering licenses.

Sincerely,

Oren Gabay
CEO, OpenLM

Register Now

OpenLM Server v5.2.0 release

On September 15th we released OpenLM Server v5.2.0. Here are some of the feature highlights:

Announcing the REST API

The spotlight of this release is our publication of the REST API. Previously, developers had access to our XML-based API and later a SOAP API. However, in an effort to standardize and make things easier for everyone, we believe that a REST API is the way forward.

This is why beginning with this release, developers have access to a majority of the REST API calls. Although it is not yet a full API, it still has enough useful calls for you to incorporate OpenLM data into your applications and interfaces. Please keep in mind that this current API has a pre-release status and there might be small changes to it in the next two months.

For documentation on the methods and calls available, Swagger is now provided with each installation of OpenLM Server.

Provided you have access to the Server machine, you can access the documentation by visiting http://localhost:5015/swagger/index.html 

Alternatively, you can download either a JSON or YAML file and import it into the online Swagger editor to get access to the documentation where you can see the full scope of the API.

Automatically create groups when importing users from CSV

Another feature that we added on request from our customers was the ability to automatically create groups when importing users from a CSV file in EasyAdmin. This feature is useful if you need to import users and their associated data manually instead of using our Directory Synchronization component.

With this addition, if a user has one or more groups assigned to him in the Group column in the CSV file, if that group does not already exist in the OpenLM system, it will be created automatically and the user will be assigned as belonging to that group(s). Previously, if a group did not previously exist, administrators would see an error message on importing.

For the rest of the bug fixes and enhancements, check the release notes.

Security policy for Java based products

General 

OpenLM is developing Java based software since our foundation since this infrastructure provided us multi platform capabilities and a huge offering of libraries we could utilise. 

Since there are multiple versions of Java infrastructure using the infrastructure installed on the server machine proved to be problematic. Most software vendors, including OpenLM distribute a copy of Java with their software and by that assure stability.

We decided to allow the customer to choose, when installing the Java based application we allow the user to choose his own, or, install the one we are distributing.

When choosing the infrastructure included with the application, OpenLM and the customer need to patch the version with security release, as made available. 

When installing the infrastructure on the operating system, typically the system team of the customer will make sure it’s updated regularly.

Our Java infrastructure

OpenLM is using OpenJDK  LTS version 11. New versions exist but at this stage, we don’t see a benefit in upgrading now. We don’t typically distribute all the packages, we only include what is really needed.

Some of our products are distributed with Oracle Java 8 because of back compatibility reasons. We intend to switch these to AdoptOpenJDK 8 as soon as possible in order to get security updates for this old version.

Our Java upgrade policy

Until recently our policy was to distribute updates to Java with new versions of our software. This policy proved to be problematic since some of our customers tend to keep the same release of the broker for years. Following this we set a new policy:

OpenLM is monitoring OpenJDK for new security releases. As such are made available, we are testing the applications and publishing a new “infrastructure security release” of the application. We might take the opportunity to include other security fixes requested by our customers. This is reported in detail in the release notes

Customers that are using their own security infrastructure can usually ignore these security releases. Customers that installed our Java infrastructure need to upgrade their Java based applications on their earliest convenience. 

Which applications are affected

The following OpenLM applications are using Java infrastructure:

OpenLM Broker

OpenLM Application Manager

OpenLM Scheduler

OpenLM Router

Reporting HUB 

ServiceNow integration 

DB Migration 

 

Note that OpenLM only distributes Java with the Windows installer of the applications. On other platforms the infrastructure is required by the installer and needs to be maintained by the customer.

Automatic distribution of upgrades 

The upgrade process is more complicated when upgrading the broker since it may be installed on multiple Windows based servers. The Broker can be distributed and silently installed on all license server machines as explained in the following article (via silent install/upgrade).

OpenLM v5 – What’s new?

OpenLM Server v.5 which was released in May was built using .NET Core, paving the way for cross-platform compatibility. Our customers have already upgraded to the new version and enjoy better performance and new functionality. 

Full log of bug fixes and enhancements

Along with v5 Server release, the latest version of Broker v4.10 also brings support for 4 LMs our customers requested.

JetBrain develops advanced tools for development that are used by more than 8 million customers worldwide. JetBrain is also the inventor of the new development language Kotlin that became to be the preferred language for Android application development. 

Geovia License Manager. Dassault Systèmes GEOVIA is a set of geologic modeling and mining engineering software applications developed by the French engineering software company Dassault Systèmes.

COSCOM LicenseMonitor. COSCOM Computer GmbH provides software solution. The Company offers process consulting, project, tool, CAM data management, DNC networking, MES software, and other services. Coscom Computer operates in Germany.

Altair Monitor is a license tracking tool that lets users and administrators get real-time insight into software license availability, usage, job status, and more. 

 

Check out all license managers supported by OpenLM.

Top Online & Offline Resources for License Management

You may be familiar with one or more of the terms Software Asset Management (SAM), Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM), and License Management (LM). All of these terms primarily refer to a platform that can be used to monitor and regulate all the software installed throughout your organization and its infrastructure.

While it may seem quite straightforward, these topics are vast and require a lot of knowledge and experience. But where can you find resources to keep up with these domains?

We have put together a list of resources that you can use to learn about LM and keep up to date with its ever-changing trends.

Our Top Resources for License Management

1. The ITAM Review – Certifications

ITAM - OpenLM Top Resources for License Management

 

The ITAM Review is a pioneer in the domain of IT Asset Management and hosts a lot of conferences and webinars about SAM and LM. However, it’s most well-known for its more practical approach to training. The Practical ITAM Certification is just one of their key training programs. It is available both as a formal certification as well as a self-paced online course via LISA.training.

The specialty of the PITAM certification is that it covers LM in-depth, with topics like software recognition cataloging, LM RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) matrices, and LM Auditing. At the same time, it also ensures a broader understanding of IT Asset Management. So this training is ideal for both those new to the domain as well as those who want to formalize their knowledge.

In addition, it also provides access to many online training programs, guides, and assessments. Some of its resources are available as offline files or even physical books on-demand. Video training is available on-demand with the first month free.

2. Software Asset Management – Blog

Software Asset Management - Blog - OpenLM Top Resources for License Management

Software Audits are something that LM and IT asset management professionals face regularly. This particular article on Cynthia Farren’s Blogspot page covers all the bases of preparing for such an audit, a long list of common pitfalls, and some general advice that can go a long way. She even offers to be of assistance directly via email.

Cynthia’s Blogspot has been around since 2006 and has a wide variety of articles on SAM and LM. It is no surprise with the author being a consultant in this field. It is quite up to date, and you will find many posts regarding the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the industry. She also offers insights regarding many mainstream LM platforms and their pros and cons.

3. Matrix42 – Webinars

Matrix42 – Webinars - OpenLM Top Resources for License Management

License Management for SaaS applications can become quite complex as they are hosted outside the organization’s infrastructure and don’t always provide the data and access necessary to manage licenses easily. This webinar on Matrix24 addresses these very topics and provides a broad understanding of IT Governance, LM cost optimization, and a few other tips and tricks.

You can also check out their other webinars on many related topics here.

4. ServiceNow – Blog

Service Now - OpenLM Top Resources for License Management

COVID-19 has created a new paradigm in all domains. IT Services Management is one of them, with many organizations encouraging remote work and digitizing as many of their processes as possible.

ServiceNow is known for its ITSM and LM solutions and is now doing its part in educating LM professionals on adjusting to the “New Normal”. In addition to the main link given earlier, which is specific to North America, you can also refer to their resources for other regions here.

5. OpenLM Youtube Channel and OpenLM Blog

OpenLM Youtube & Blog

OpenLM Youtube channel has this Vlog which is excellent for anyone new to LM. There is a lot to learn, and the video takes a detailed and straightforward approach to explain LM and License Servers. While it is meant for newcomers, even experienced LM professionals can learn a thing or two.

In addition to this Vlog post, there are many other Blog articles on OpenLM’s resources page. One good example is the article Measure what Matters – Software License Metrics that covers the impact on LM due to the innovations of SaaS, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

6. ITAM Channel – Assessments

ITAM Channel - OpenLM Top Resources for License Management

In this webinar, Rory Canavan of the SAM Charter explains the benefits of the ITAM Maturity Assessment, which is available in two flavors. The first is the Free light assessment consisting of 20 questions that provide a high-level understanding of an organization’s ITAM situation, and the second is the full assessment containing 100 questions. Additional questions can be made available based on ISO and other requirements.

Both assessments are available online and can be completed flexibly. Don’t forget to have a look at the SAM Charter Process Toolkit as well.

7. International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA)

 

The International Business Software Managers Association (IBSMA) is well known for its certifications related to many general and vendor-specific certification programs. The PCSLA is one such certification that is conducted as both a classroom course as well as an on-demand online course. It covers LM and SAM in detail and touches on current topics like SaaS, SLAs, and virtualization.

You can also find many of their vendor-specific certifications here. In addition, they also have a SAM Assessment Scorecard.

8. ITAM Channel – Articles and Webinars

ITAM Channel - Articles and Webinars - OpenLM top resources

This article on the ITAM Channel is just one of many about remote working and the impact of COVID-19. There is a lot of content about how organizations have managed their work and teams without being overcome by the pandemic’s challenges.

The ITAM Channel’s long list of webinars will also prove useful as it consists of many timely topics.

9. SAMS Europe – Events

SAMS Conference - SAM resources

Conferences and physical events are not the most popular types of events at present due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, SAMS Europe is one of the most established conferences for LM and ITAM.

Don’t worry about booking early. If you are unable to attend due to reasons related to COVID-19, they will provide a full refund of your tickets. More information can be found here.

Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more excellent online resources for SAM. However, these are some of the most commonly used ones. We have tried to make this list as diverse as possible, offering both online and offline resources ranging from guides, webinars, and blogs to conference events. A few other honorable mentions are SCHWINDT and Heise Online. They are originally in German but offer English pages.

Happy learning!

What is a license server? What is a license manager?

A license server is a software that provides access to tokens or keys to client computers. This might be provided on the organisation intranet or over the internet. Watch this explanatory video about the concept of the license manager also called the license server.

Subscribe to OpenLM Youtube Channel for more videos about engineering software license management.

OpenLM Supports Even More License Managers

OpenLM based solutions offer you a full and clear overview of your entire licensing usage across your organization. To help you achieve this capability, OpenLM necessarily integrates smoothly with as many license managers as possible. We designed OpenLM Server with the capability to compile generic licensing data for easy analysis by users. A standard data format makes this easier, of course, but this isn’t always the case; a workaround we have, however addressed.

Fortunately for managers struggling with their inventory of licenses in use among their staff, OpenLM Broker can take raw licensing data from many license managers and translate this into a format that OpenLM Server systematically processes, such that you have the nuances and detail you need for efficient and compliant use.

Our approach allows OpenLM to boast the largest license manager support in the industry. Our clients continue reaping the benefits of our system design. Meaning we can extend support even further, as we continually improve. 

Our latest product, ‘Broker 4.10’., released today adds support for JetBrains License Server, GEOVIA License Manager, and COSCOM License Monitor.

JetBrains (jetbrains.com) is a renowned software tools powerhouse, loved by  software engineers. If your organization switched to floating licensing to reap savings, now you can benefit from even more by aggregating that data with the rest of the licensing information OpenLM manages for you.  

For instance, if your organization deals with geology, drilling and mine planning, you most probably have a large installation of software solutions from Dassault Systemes GEOVIA Inc (3ds.com). By deploying OpenLM Broker 4.10, you can integrate these data sets into your systems too, for comprehensive, oversight. 

If you use software from a small German company, such as COSCOM Computer GmbH (coscom.de), you are also covered. These networked licenses can be inventoried and tracked with OpenLM solutions too. 

We want you to be clear about how installing OpenLM Broker 4.10 offers you enormous benefits, not least cutting management costs and minimising risks associated with non-compliance. 

For a full list of benefits we can offer, please check out  our Supported License Managers page for full details.

Measure what Matters — Software License Metrics

Software licensing requirements are in a constant state of flux as business needs and usage patterns change over time.

In recent years, this evolutionary process has received a number of large jolts, including changes to software marketing, the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these is altering the ways in which licenses are sold, how businesses are managing existing licenses, as well as changing the requirements going forward.

Now more than ever, businesses can use OpenLM’s software license tracking tools to be sure they’re in compliance with the myriad applications they use. The software helps ensure they’re getting maximum value from their current spend, and that they aren’t risking audits and surprisingly large licensing bills.

SaaS Applications are Simplifying Software Licensing

SaaS, or software as a service, is the culmination of a long-running shift in the way the software industry markets and sells its product.

For the bulk of the industry’s early tenure, software was sold on an individual installation basis, delivery via physical media such as floppy disks, CD-ROMs, and later DVD-ROMs. 

As broadband internet moved from a niche service to ubiquity, software companies began making direct digital software downloads available, eliminating physical delivery. Later, subscription services were added to digital downloads, enabling users to receive automatic updates and bug fixes.

Software as a service takes the next logical leap in digital delivery — by eliminating delivery. Instead of purchasing a piece of software and downloading it to their computer, users are granted access to software running in the cloud. No download is necessary, removing the need for company IT departments to keep track of installations, updates, and other difficult software requirements.

As a result, these cloud-based services are simplifying licensing and compliance requirements. Organizations no longer need to worry about whether their physical installations match available licenses because there are no installations.

SaaS companies license their products on a subscription basis. The most common structure charges a specific fee per user per month. Because the software runs in the cloud, users can access their software on any computer their company has authorized them to use.

While this varies between companies, subscription models generally charge customers ongoingly instead of requiring a single upfront purchase fee. This means that licenses have the potential to be changed, upgraded, and downgraded as a business’s needs shift. This also allows SaaS companies to create tailored licenses that restrict specific functionality based on the user’s investment. Alternatively, licenses can vary per month based on actual usage.

The Internet of Things Is Complicating Software Licensing

Concurrent with SaaS simplifying the software licensing landscape the industry is grappling with several new complications introduced by the internet of things.

This long-touted technology is finally making inroads into the business world. Networks are becoming host to myriad smart devices, smart sensors, and smart machinery. Businesses are rolling out mesh networks that feature passive data collection and enable connected business processes across their organization.

These technologies are challenging several notions found in standard licensing agreements. For one, it’s becoming harder to define what a user is. When networked smart machinery accesses a piece of automation software, is the user the machine or the company? What happens when a factory adds third-party smart components to a previously licensed machining system? Is each component a separate “user”?

The IoT also dramatically increases the number and definition of devices that run software. Copy machines are now software platforms. So too are alarm sensors, smart components, mesh network repeaters, and the full complement of smart products.

Increasingly it’s unclear how fees should be assessed in these situations. If each sensor and device in a mesh network is a user, should a fee be assessed per interaction, or is a quantity-limited subscription model a more practical solution? 

In most cases, the industry is favoring some form of subscription-based licensing, but as the industry grows, and as new uses for the technology are discovered, it’s likely that these models will need to be revisited.

Artificial Intelligence Is Testing the Promises License Agreements Can Make

AI introduces further wrinkles into the software licensing landscape. The difficulty revolves around the technology provider’s ability to promise specific results.

Generally, software output is predictable. When you add text to a document, you create a text document. When you use a spreadsheet to solve a problem, you can be certain that the process will follow specific, predictable rules.

AI, by comparison, is unpredictable by nature. While we can be reasonably sure that the system will improve over time, it isn’t guaranteed. Nor can users foresee the way that AI will perform. Starting with the same initial conditions, AIs can, and often will, generate novel behaviors that vary between iterations.

As a result, AI software vendors have to use very specific language in order to properly define user expectations. When licensing AI services, vendors must distinguish payment for the service as a separate element from potential results.

This is uncharted territory for the software industry, and it’s certain that licensing practices will necessarily adapt over time.

COVID-19 Created Unique Licensing Agreements

Companies are finding it necessary to radically alter the software packages they’re using to conduct business. Massive shifts toward remote work have required significant new installs for video conferencing, collaborative applications, and other novel software packages.

Many software providers rose to the occasion, offering free licenses, delayed audits, and other cost-saving measures. However, structuring these unique licensing agreements presented a variety of challenges. 

These vendors aren’t charities after all, and they’re not in the business of giving away software for free, so oftentimes the licenses had to be written with significant restrictions, time-delayed payments, and other licensing oddities to protect the manufacturers from uncontrolled loses.

As a result, businesses must be hypervigilant when reading license agreements for “free” software to be certain there aren’t “gotchas” hidden in the language.

All of These New Complications Increase a Business’s Exposure to Liability

While SaaS is simplifying license tracking requirements, the industry as a whole is becoming more inscrutable. Businesses are finding themselves facing confusing and potentially damaging license agreements that place a greater onus on them to keep tabs on usage.

Even small businesses are finding themselves underwater with their software asset management (SAM) practices, and larger companies are finding it necessary to devote ever-increasing resources to making certain that licenses are being used properly, and that money isn’t being wasted on unnecessary seats.

OpenLM is now more critical than ever before. Our software solutions take the guesswork out of license management. Users gain significant insight into their current license usage. The software helps IT departments efficiently allocate licenses throughout their organization, make informed decisions about license maintenance and procurement, and avoid antithetical behaviors like license hoarding. 

With robust tracking and reporting features, OpenLM helps businesses avoid costly software audits and focuses their software spending. Software licensing is a minefield for businesses. OpenLM gives them the tools they need to protect themselves in this ever-changing field.

Would you like to see what OpenLM can do to help control your costs and exposure? Visit us for a 30 day free trial of OpenLM with full features.