Take back control of your Autodesk software spending with OpenLM

How can an organization take back control over its software spending and save hundreds of thousands of dollars? Well, the answer is pretty simple: take control over the usage data and match it against the vendors’ report. As an independent engineering software monitoring solution OpenLM supports tracking both annual tokens, which expire after 365 days if not used, and contract-based tokens, which last for the term of the contract (which could be three years or the like).

With massive development efforts behind it, OpenLM has a solution specifically tailored for Flex customers. At first launch, the OpenLM wizard maps all the features (in this case, applications) that have token support and automatically assigns it to the default product family. With OpenLM on board, SAM managers have access to three standard reports: Token-Flex usage, Double Token Consumption, and Released Idle Licenses.

Eliminate idle engineering software sessions

In this article we’ll focus on just one report showing how organizations can make use of OpenLM’s superior engineering application monitoring and license-optimization features. With the OpenLM Agent installed on the end-user’s workstation, organizations have a powerful tool in their hands that gives them two major benefits:

  •  It helps them cut down on software costs.
  • It delivers accurate reports on actual software usage.

So, what does OpenLM do exactly? Well, let’s take the following scenario: the engineer’s workday has ended, and he leaves the workstation on with the app running in the background. Since OpenLM is monitoring the applications it was instructed to keep an eye on, it will immediately spot that the Autodesk application is idling. OpenLM applies the threshold the license administrator has set during the setup process and automatically saves the engineer’s work, and then releases the idle license to avoid unnecessary token spending.

Optimize usage, save and close Autodesk apps automatically 

How simple is that? OpenLM communicates with Autodesk applications with the process name acad.exe, automatically saves the engineer’s work, and then closes the software. The autosave location is configurable, so the saved session can avoid overwriting the current project. Next time when the engineer launches the Autodesk application, he/she will find the saved document in the configured place on his/her workstation.

OpenLM’s unique “Save & Close” feature brings with two major benefits:

  • Optimizes engineering software license consumption and 
  • Eliminates double token consumption by releasing the license back to the pool before the user starts another session, which starts at 00:01, based on the license manager’s time zone. 

This neat feature of the OpenLM solution will play an important role in optimizing the Autodesk software license consumption and in the report on software usage. To plan a budget for the contracted period, SAM managers need hard and accurate data at hand on actual license consumption. The OpenLM reports will provide that data, which organizations can then match to that of Autodesk and regain control over the contract terms, because they have the right data on actual usage without the software idle time or double consumption of licenses.

Want to test OpenLM in your Autodesk Flex environment? Do it now for 30 days for free!

The Ins and Outs of Autodesk Global Travel Rights

Autodesk grants global travel rights to organizations who either have a subscription agreement or a maintenance plan. These rights can be very beneficial to companies who undertake projects outside the country or region in which they are based, and can result in savings costs under the right circumstances. There is one very important condition that we must mention first, because it is not explicitly stated in most of the Autodesk literature about global travel rights; there is a time limit. Where the travel rights rule applies, users are only allowed to use the software for a maximum of 90 days outside their “home country”. So, for a long-term project it will be necessary to obtain another license once the 90 days has passed.

What Constitutes a Home Country?

The home country is the country in which the license was purchased. Where the contract was entered into for a named user, the home country applies to his or her residency. Where the contract is with an organization, as would be the case of a maintenance agreement, the home country is that where the company is incorporated. For organizations within the European Union (EU) or who have signed the European Free Trade Association Agreement (EFTA), home country is any country that falls under the EU or EFTA classification. For companies subject to Brexit, they must re-examine their policies regarding user travel rights, as their freedom to use Autodesk software across the EU will be curtailed.

Which License Agreements Provide Global Travel Rights?

There are three major categories of licenses that benefit from travel rights:-

  • perpetual agreements which are covered by a maintenance agreement
  • Traditional subscription licenses
  • Cloud subscription licenses.

There are differences in which users are entitled to use software while travelling based on which license agreement has been implemented. It is also important to note that support services for the products are available during the operating hours that apply to the home country, not the company where the user is working under the global agreement.

Which Users are Entitled to Global Travel Rights?

Where an organization has a perpetual license with a maintenance agreement, all employees qualify, as well as on-site contractors. The on-site contractor must be contracted directly by the organization. Where the organization has agreements with affiliate companies to carry out the work, the employees of the affiliates and any contractors employed by the affiliate are NOT entitled to global travel rights.

Where an organization has subscription licenses in place, the same rules apply, in that only employees and direct on-site contractors qualify. The subscription users must be named users, generic users and user groups do not qualify, although it is possible to negotiate terms with Autodesk for specific circumstances. The named user should be identified as such in the license agreement and cannot share his license with any other user. If the user has his own individual license which recognizes him as the named user, he can use his license globally.

Cloud licenses have a different set of rules, which give access to a wider set of users, but this must be confirmed with Autodesk by the organization. The cloud subscription travel rights can extend to employees and contractors of companies affiliated to the parent organization, which is definitely not the case for perpetual and traditional subscription licenses.

What to Watch out for from a Compliance Aspect

Where a company has purchased licenses in their home country, use of travel rights are quite straightforward. However, the license administrator needs to guard against the following circumstances:-

  • the licenses were purchased outside the home country, for example where a project is to be executed in a foreign company. Those licenses can only be used in that country, regardless of whether the employees using them are permanent employees or contractors.
  • the travel rights apply only to the entity that purchased the license. They cannot be extended to a parent or sister company or the employees or direct contractors of those entities.
  • The usage period extending past 90 days.

For our OpenLM customers, it may be advisable to build a customized report that monitors compliance for licenses that are being used under the Global Travel Rights terms and conditions. Early warning of usage periods getting close to expiry, as well as a list of users who are operating under the travel rights agreement will avoid non-compliant usage.

Another method of managing compliance would be to tailor license allocations to include and exclude users according to their qualifying or exclusion from the global travel terms and conditions. OpenLM has recently launched a new product for managing license allocations that is available to all Autodesk customers, whether they use the OpenLM core product or not. This parameterized application allows the license administrator to tailor allocations by time, region, user or user group as well as software used down to feature level within that software product. Users can be granted access or blocked depending on the organizational policy and the license agreements in force. Please contact us for more information.

Managing Autodesk Licenses Effectively

Optimizing license usage is often overlooked at engineering companies, even when trying to contain costs in the IT budget. When times are tough, this is a quick and easy way to reduce costs. Even when the orders are rolling in, there is no need to spend money on licenses that are surplus to your requirements. Many of OpenLM’s customers have used our license management software to trim down their license portfolio of excess licenses, especially licenses from the Autodesk family.

The recent changes made by Autodesk to their licensing policy going forward have made it even more critical for customers to keep a tight control over their Autodesk license usage.

While Autodesk provide the Flexera license manager to customers, which does provide some information of how licenses are being used within the company, it has been designed from the vendor’s viewpoint of ensuring compliance. To get the transparency and control that every license administrator needs, a customer-centric software product is needed. OpenLM was originally designed by license managers who worked at a site that made extensive use of ArcGIS , and had the same challenges. Their success in building software that helped companies manage ESRI licenses next expanded to helping Autodesk customers with their AutoCAD, Revit and other software.

The  License Administrator’s Wishlist

The license manager needs deep insights into how any vendor’s licenses are utilized. This is needed on a daily basis for optimizing usage, periodically for management reporting and annually or on demand to plan and forecast license requirements for the next year or for an anticipated project. This is rarely available to the extent needed using a vendor’s license management tool, and it is recommended that license management software that is vendor-agnostic is investigated. The features that a good license management package should provide include:-

  • Visibility into license usage on at least a minute-by-minute basis
  • Minimising license denials to users
  • Easy identification of idle licenses
  • The ability to “harvest” idle licenses, either automatically or manually
  • Messaging options to inform users of license availability where they were denied
  • The ability to see a consolidated view of licenses where there are multiple pools and named users
  • Comprehensive reporting that can be used for management reporting to management
  • Financial reporting on usage across the organization  that supports chargebacks to cost centers and projects, based on their usage
  • Forecasting to indicate a need to purchase or dispense with licenses, both on a regular basis and for annual license renewals or new projects
  • A graphical interface that allows the license administrator to manage licenses for a product without having to log in to the vendor’s product to make changes.

To really understand and test for these features, the software should be evaluated on a trial basis. OpenLM is confident that they provide all these features for Autodesk  software products as well as thousands of other engineering software tools.

The Daily License Challenge

Most engineering software can be bought under a concurrent or network user model, which enables the company to buy the minimum of licenses needed to satisfy user demand. The license administrator has to perform a balancing act between keeping his users happy and productive by always having licenses available, while managing the license pool effectively and avoiding further purchases.

To do this, he needs to manage idle licenses. Users have a tendency to book out licenses at the start of day and not return them until the end of day, even when they are away attending meetings or on-site. Some users also will hang on to their licenses overnight, so that they do not need to book them out again when they come into work the next morning.

The license administrator needs to be able to take control over idle licenses and “harvest” them, releasing them back into the pool. The amount of time that a license is allowed to remain idle and whether the session is saved or not will depend on the individual requirements of the company and should have a defined policy and business rules.

He also needs an early warning system that licenses are being denied (although angry users phoning in will happen in any case). OpenLM, with their knowledge of what it is like to be in the driver’s seat, have built these features for Autodesk customers:-

  • License denial reporting
  • Real-time reporting on usage
  • Reporting on inactive, hanging or otherwise unavailable licenses
  • The ability to harvest idle and unused licenses and release them back into the pool
  • The option to suspend, save or terminate an idle session
  • The ability to automatically notify users who were denied that a license is now available for them
  • Distinguishing between “true” denials and denials where the software was available and booked out shortly after the denial
  • Extensions and other aids that allow the license administrator to build business rules, add alerts or otherwise customise OpenLM to fit the customer’s environment

The provision of all these features makes idle license management a breeze. For customers like Array Architects, they were able to confirm their suspicions that users were not releasing their software at and of day, and could now release all those licences, so that the entire pool was available at the start of the next business day.

Feedback and Reporting

OpenLM has fine-tuned the management of Autodesk software products to second-by-second visibility. Reports showing usage statistics, daily peaks and troughs of user demand and usage by group are all standard. There is also an extension that enables the license administrator to create custom reports.  Anything that needs to be known about AutoCAD licenses or any other Autodesk product can be reported on.

  • Consolidated views of multiple license servers, user groups is enabled
  • Heat maps and graphs on license usage come standard with the application
  • Forecasting for renewals is available
  • Financial reporting for chargebacks based on usage is a standard feature
  • Accurate reporting on usage, that can be compared against Autodesk’s calculations.

These reports can demonstrate to the executive how well license optimization is progressing, as well as quantifying cost savings and ROI. Many of our customers have achieved an ROI in under three months of use.  

Going Forward

The determination of Autodesk to discontinue all network licenses and offer only subscription licenses in the future is a headache for most customers who have a considerable investment in Autodesk products and use concurrent licensing to get the best value for their money.  Every organization will have to do an evaluation of what a conversion to subscription licenses will cost them and whether they should go ahead with the change while the discounted price is still available. OpenLM provides the intelligence to make a decision based on an accurate assessment of the situation.

OpenLM’s Benefits for the New Autodesk License Policy

The New Autodesk Licensing Policy


Ori Kaplan, Consultant at OpenLM


A common trend in the engineering software license industry is the migration of license management from localized networks to cloud based management services provided by the software vendor. There are several benefits in this transit. To name a few:

  • Minimizing the hassle of administering license servers
  • Keeping the software version up-to-date
  • Facilitating inventory maintenance and license compliance
  • Streamlining technical support and cloud services

Such is the case with Autodesk licenses.

Who Moved My Cheese?

Much has already been written about the new Autodesk licensing policy. I personally feel that many phrases that have been deployed as part of its promotion have thrown customers off track. For example, I find the frequently used term “Pay as you go” inaccurate and misleading.

Many customers address us at OpenLM with questions about this change and its effect on the OpenLM license monitoring and management system. Some are even concerned that such changes may deem license tracking tools redundant, when in fact the opposite is true: OpenLM is as useful and beneficial as ever, keeping license utilization and availability at its peak.

What Is Changing?

The essential change in policy is starting in February 2016 – users will no longer be regarded the owners of the software they use. Instead, they will be subscribing to it from the software vendor. The subscription period is the main parameter of choice, and that’s where OpenLM comes in handy.

Maintenance Subscription

The currently available licensing flavors include:

  • Free trial licenses and Student licenses that provide an entry point for familiarizing with the software. I do not consider these types as commercial licenses for the purpose of this article
  • Stand-alone: These licenses are normally promoted for “individuals or small businesses requiring a specific number of users”. I believe this license type should also be considered for heavy users, as opposed to ‘RESERVE’-ing or ‘BORROW’-ing more expensive network licenses to obtain the same result
  • Network licenses: Shared licenses over local or wide area networks, managed by a local license server, accommodating the needs of medium or large organizations

Such license types will remain supported after February 2016, provided they are kept under maintenance, hence they were tagged “Maintenance Subscription” licenses. Maintenance Subscription provides benefits such as:

  • Customer support
  • Access to the latest software release
  • Flexible license rights (e.g. work from home or abroad for up to 90 days)
  • Access to cloud services

Customers will be able to renew these license maintenance agreements periodically, and avoid any implications whatsoever of the forthcoming change. Failure to keep the licenses under maintenance revoke the aforementioned privileges, and will require the purchase of a Desktop or Network Subscription in order to resume them.

Network Subscriptions

This is a new licensing flavor, which will be available starting February 2016. This license type will be similar in essence to perpetual network licenses with Maintenance Subscription. The main difference would be the license duration; it will be limited to 1, 2, or 3 years.

This type of license will accommodate license management and reporting tools, but is not reported to include real-time license usage monitoring. You will still need OpenLM to:

  • Know who’s got the licenses you need right now
  • Harvest idle licenses
  • Provide license availability notifications,
  • Accumulate insight of usage trends and patterns

Desktop Subscription Licenses

Autodesk Desktop Subscription is promoted as a “flexible, cost-effective way to access the software you need to help meet fluctuating business demands. Gain access to the latest software releases, product enhancements, cloud services, and support.”

The software is licensed per user, and is managed, reported and controlled by the vendor as a service on the cloud. Desktop Subscription plans are available for a month, quarter, year, and multi-year term. One might argue that this diminishes the need for a license tracking software, but here is to argue the contrary:

1. Objectively Induce the Required Number of Licenses to Subscribe

There is a huge difference between the top license usage watermark and the actual number of required licenses. In fact, the entire logic of sharing licenses is built on this rationale. Autodesk reports will not include usage efficiency information. OpenLM analysis can be applied on short-term subscription periods, to induce the number of required licenses for longer, expensive subscription periods.


At OpenLM we have observed many cases in which the required number of licenses for supporting high quality of service was much lower than the actual number of purchased licenses. Please observe the image below, depicting a realistic dispersion of license utilization:

  • The original dotted chart depicts actual customer license utilization of their 10 Esri’s ArcGIS licenses. Note that usage of more than 6 concurrent licenses is very rare
  • The Green line depicts an example of improved utilization, per a predefined 95% level of quality of service (i.e.: 95% of license requests are being granted). In this case, 7 licenses were required to support 95% quality of service.
  • The Red line depicts an example for worse utilization. Only 3 licenses were needed to reach 95% quality of service, so the licenses are significantly under-utilized.



The new Autodesk license policy is a perfect opportunity for OpenLM to demonstrate its capacity as an advisor on the required number of licenses per long subscription periods. In the given example, OpenLM would suggest subscribing to 5-6 licenses instead of the current 10.

2. Resuming Control

The bottom line of submitting license management to software vendors is loss of control. At OpenLM we observed several cases in which such loss of control had had harmful ramifications on software users.

License vendors do not provide real time license usage information, or advise against inefficient license allocation schemes. At times, software vendors even benefit from excessive license usage to steeply charge software customers. This is not to insinuate that Autodesk has a mindset of getting the best out of its customers, but to advocate against losing control of license usage monitoring altogether.


Autodesk’s migration from perpetual to subscription-based licensing does not diminish the need for OpenLM to independently monitor and manage software licenses.

It also presents the perfect opportunity for OpenLM to tailor cut the number and duration of subscription licenses according to the required number of licenses in order to support a predefined quality of service.


Ori Kaplan,

Consultant at OpenLM

ESRI introduces ArcGIS for AutoCAD

ESRI has launched a new plug-in application for AutoCAD(v2013 or 2014) that allows for you to access and create GIS data via services from ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Online. From within the domain, access to GIS maps, map services, image services, and feature services are now made MUCH easier.


An additional selling point of the software, it allows you to edit data that’s been stored locally within the AutoCAD drawing itself or exported from ArcGIS for Desktop.

Both ESRI Desktop software and all Autodesk software are using the FLEXnet publisher for licensing. This allows sites that use both software to fully control and manage the access to licenses by using OpenLM Software.

Download ArcGIS for AutoCAD HERE

Download OpenLM HERE

FLEXlm FLEXnet 2013 feature codes for Autodesk products

Feature Code => Product Name translation table can be found in Autodesk site: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=18708301&linkID=9240617

OpenLM updates this information regularly. If update is needed open the OpenLM Server configuration form->Advanced tab and update the translation table from our website with a single click.

FLEXlm FLEXnet 2012 feature codes for Autodesk products

Feature Code => Product Name translation table can be found in Autodesk site: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=17288427&linkID=9242258

OpenLM updates this information regularly. If update is needed open the OpenLM Server configuration form->Advanced tab and update the translation table from our website with a single click.

Autodesk’s “Undiscovered Territory” game to boost training of 3Ds Max

A new fun way of learning Geography and training with Autodesk’s 3Ds Max was recently launched by Autodesk on their site. It’s called the “Undiscovered Territory” game, and it is in fact a contest between users to win a license for the Entertainment Creation Suite.

The game is run on the AutoDesk ‘Area’ forum, so you need to sign in first to become a member.

The game is an eight chapter mission-based adventure game, through which the players complete 3Ds Max design tasks, submit finished files, get their passports ‘signed’ and move on to the next mission.

The game begins with a missions in Coimbra, Portugal, and moves to different locations as the game progresses. This is what the mission page looks like:


The 1st mission requires turning a concept sketch into precise 3Ds Max layout.

Every mission is accompanied with a video tutorial, further enhancing specific 3Ds Max expertise.


I admit I haven’t progressed much myself yet, but it seems like a refreshing way of training: small tasks each time, and enjoying the scenery on the way.

Ori Kaplan, OpenLM

OpenLM Maintenance Release Version


Version is a maintenance release to version 1.7. It contains some bug fixes to problems found in previous versions. We  recommend that users to whom these problems may be relevant to upgrade their system to this version.


In order to upgrade to version

  1. Backup your DB file (Typically located in: C:\Program Files\OpenLM\OpenLM Server\db)
  2. Stop the OpenLM Server service
  3. Make sure ALL windows are closed; especially the services window.
  4. Install the new version on top of the existing one.

What’s new in version ?

OpenLM Server:

  1. French version labels in EasyAdmin and OpenLM server corrected.
  2. Fix LM-X reading: Fix LMX multi-session reporting issue (Bug #415).
  3. Fix DSLS reading for SQLServer DB
  4. Add first name, last name to active products export (Bug #404)
  5. Correct OpenLM LightTPD path variable (Bug #396)

OpenLM Agent:

  1. Active Agent Install extensions for every Autocad component on a workstation.
  2. Agent Add updated French resources.

Automatically Release “Orphan” ArcGIS and Autodesk licenses

Users of network licensed ESRI ArcGIS and Autodesk (AutoCAD) applications report cases in which licensed application were closed, but the licenses remained “hanging”, and were not returned to the license pool.

This condition may be caused by broken communication between the FlexLM license server and the workstation on which the application is running, or any other “glitch” for that matter. The answer given by the vendors to this condition is that the system administrator should manually release the checked-out license via the license administrator tool or Flexera’s LMTOOLS UI.

But this is wrong.

This problem does not manifest in any apparent error message or visible notification, so this condition may persist indefinitely. Because of that:

  • There is no way for manually and routinely tracking down and fixing this condition. This condition is only captured when there is an obvious “leak” in the amount of available licenses.
  • On top of not being able to utilize the full extent of the acquired software licenses, this condition may also cause exaggerated billing for users.

An automatic solution for the identifying and fixing this condition is therefore required, and is supplied by OpenLM. On the OpenLM EasyAdmin web application, there is a check box which is configured to do just that. It configures the OpenLM system to track down ArcGIS and Autodesk applications’ licenses which are checked out but not used, and retrieve them.

This option is set active by default. The configuration check box is found as follows:

  • Click the OpenLM ‘Start’ button, and select ‘Administration’. The ‘Administration’ window opens.
  • Select the “Active Agent” icon. The “Active Agent” window opens.
  • Select the “Extension dedicated” tab, and check the “Solve license manager errors” box.

That’s it. You wouldn’t have to worry about hanging “Orphaned” licenses for ArcGIS and Autodesk applications any more.