OpenLM Active Agent Version 1.6.0.4 – Maintenance Release

Version 1.6.0.4 of OpenLM Active Agent fixes a problem with the support for ESRI ArcGIS 10 new Base Map functionality. The ArcGIS new base maps functionality allows users to easily add base maps to the the view from online resources such as Bing Maps. We have received a report on problems using this functionality when OpenLM Active Agent is also installed. Version 1.6.0.4 fixes this issue.

The new Active Agent is available for download in our website.

Upgrade can be simply done by installing the new version on-top of the existing one. Companies with many workstation should be using an automatic distribution methods. More information about quite installation methods can be found in this post.

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Q&A guide for OpenLM (FAQ)

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Managing autodesk network licenses using OpenLM Software

General

OpenLM Software provides management tools for FLEXlm licensed Autodesk licenses. Many sites that use Autodesk software are also using OpenLM software for managing the use of Network Licenses (ADLM) also called concurrent or floating licenses.

OpenLM is not only a management software, it actively helps CAD managers and system administrators to get more usage out of their existing pool of Autodesk Network licenses.

The software functionality

OpenLM provides the full set of management tools required by CAD managers and system administrators for managing Autodesk network licenses.

Some of the common tasks in license management are:

  • Managing the existing license inventory.
  • Checking existing active sessions.
  • Removing hang-up licenses and releasing idle sessions.
  • Collecting usage time for users, groups and projects.
  • Generating usage reports and charts.
  • Planning future purchase of licenses.
  • Helping users to get the licenses they need.

A good license management software will allow the user to perform this functionality. A very good software does more:

  • Provides a friendly interface that runs on any standard browser.
  • Allows a system administrator to save and close an Autodesk software remotely.
  • Allows the synchronization of users and groups information with Active Directory.
  • Support billing policy for groups or projects.
  • Allows the editing of FLEXlm option files using a graphical UI.
  • Automatically detects and closes idle licenses when licenses are needed.
  • Provides “License Availability Notifications” for users that were denied of licenses.
  • Empowers end users to help themselves and by that save administration hours.

Why is it important to close idle sessions of Autodesk software

Users tend to grab an Autodesk network license from the license pool, for example, Autodesk Autocad, Autodesk Revit or other licenses. They may use it for while and then use other applications or leave their workstation and go away.

OpenLM constantly monitors the license usage of the Autodesk network licenses. When the requirement for license is high OpenLM starts closing idle licenses in order to assure that every user will receive the license he needs.

From our experience, organizations can achieve 40% more usage out of their existing license pool using this functionality.

How can I get OpenLM for Autodesk software?

The fully functional software can be downloaded from OpenLM website.

Which Autodesk software is supported?

AutoCad, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD MAP 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD Inventor, AutoCAD Navisworks, AutoCAD Revit and more.

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“OpenLM Enable” your custom application using Floating Licensing

General

Software companies provide developers the ability to incorporate their functionality in custom application. When these components use floating licensing there is a need to assure that the software uses the licenses in a smart way.

OpenLM provides a technology that allows companies to get more out of their existing license pool. The principal is that the license is automatically released back to the license pool when the application is not in use. OpenLM provides a ready made solution for software systems such ESRI ArcGIS and Autodesk software. Integration of OpenLM functionality into custom application based on components from these companies is easy and provides huge benefits.

How does it work

OpenLM is a modular software that was designed in several layers. The most significant layers are:

  • OpenLM Server
  • OpenLM Agent
  • OpenLM Extension

OpeLM Server is the mastermind that holds the brains of the software. It is the coordinator between the license manager and all other components of the OpenLM application (such as easyadmin, OpenLM,Agent, OpenLM Broker etc..).

OpenLM Agent is the the agent that resides at the end-user’s workstation and it is in charge of the communicating channel with OpenLM Server. The agent connects periodically with the server and receives instructions according to the policies that were defined at the server’s console.

OpenLM Extension is a piece of software that is attached to the software that is monitored by OpenLM. An example to such software can be ESRI Desktop ArcGIS (also ArcEngine applications) or Autodesk Autocad. The extension inspects the activity of the monitored software and reports it to OpenLM Server by using OpenLM Agent communication services.

Openlm Extension reports parameters like software idleness or CPU consumption. It also responds to server originated orders like “Shut down”. When the monitored software is idle and the licence  it consumes is required, The server sends shutdown command which the Extension needs to carry on.

What do I need to do in order to incorporate OpenLM’s capabilities in my software?

In order to “OpenLM enable” your software, you need to create your own Extension. It is much simpler than you may imagine since you only need to implement the top layer of the Extension.
As mentioned before, OpenLM software is modular and the Extension is also built as several layers:

  • Communication layer – in charge of communication with OpenLM Agent.
  • Monitoring layer – measures the software’s status (IO, CPU, idleness).
  • Janitor layer – provides system data (like software name and provider names) and performs instructions that are sent from the server (such as: “Save and shutdown current state”).

The first two layers already exist. You need to implement only the Janitor layer.

In code, it is much simpler:

  1. Reference “OpenLM_Extension” dll.
  2. Create a class that implements “OpenLM.Extension.IOpenLMExtension” interface. The main function to implement is “ShutDown” function which is in charge of closing the software.
    Note: the developer can override the Server’s ruling and decide against OpenLM Server advice.
  3. Instantiate this object on application startup.

Code samples for ESRI Desktop ArcGIS versions 9.3 and 10 (with FLEXnet FLEXlm license manager) can be found on our website downloads area.

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How Does OpenLM TIMEOUT for ESRI ArcGIS works

Background

OpenLM for ESRI ArcGIS implements a TIMEOUT feature for ESRI ArcGIS software that uses FLEXlm software for licensing. The activity of the TIMEOUT feature is based on two parameters, maximum idle time and threshold.

Maximum idle time (minutes) – Set the maximum time that ESRI ArcGIS software will not be closed, even if the software is not in use (idle). The software may be closed after that time, if the usage is above a set level (threshold).

Threshold (percent) – The usage level that above it OpenLM will start to release ESRI ArcGIS FLEXlm licenses.

How does it works?

OpenLM monitors the usage level of each FLEXlm feature and once the usage level is above the set threshold, OpenLM will gracefully close sessions, starting with the ones that are idling longer. Once the usage level drops below the set threshold, OpenLM Server will not close more idling sessions.

From the end user’s point of view, his ESRI ArcGIS project will be saved and then closed. A pop-up message will announce that the project was closed and will allow the user to reopen the project in a single click. The user can also click OpenLM Agent located on the end user desktop and get the list of all recently closed projects.

Discussion

The combination of the threshold/maximum idle time is a simple system that assures that licenses will be available for users that need licenses while trying to minimize the number of closed sessions.

Since the act of closing idle sessions of ArcGIS Desktop can cause some inconvenience, OpenLM, is trying to minimize the number of closed sessions. If demand for Desktop ArcGIS licenses is low then users can keep idle session. When there is a demand for licenses OpenLM Server must assure that a sufficient number of licenses are available for new users that may try to access the software.

For example:
ESRI ArcView Licenses – 100
ESRI ArcInfo Licenses – 10
ESRI ArcGIS Spatial Analyst – 3

The default OpenLM Values are:

Threshold – 80%
Maximum idle time – 20 Minutes

Starting with the ArcView licenses, OpenLM will try to keep 20 licenses free for new users. Since 400 or more users can use a pool of 100 ESRI ArcGIS concurrent licenses. Keeping an amount of 20 free licenses available for new users makes sense.

With a total of 10 licenses available, OpenLM will try to keep two free licenses of ESRI ArcInfo ready for new users. Assuming that 8 licenses were already consumed, if more then two users try to access the ESRI ArcInfo licenses at the same time, some will get a FLEXlm denial. If two or less users request an ArcInfo license at the same time, their request will be fulfilled and then OpenLM will try to release idle sessions for more new users.

Because of the low number of Spatial Analyst licenses, OpenLM will only keep one floating license free for new users. This is because when two licenses are in use the usage rate is only 66% (less than 80%). Only when the third floating license is consumed the usage rate will be 100% and OpenLM will try to release one license for new users.

As shown above, the threshold mechanism works well for both high and low numbers of ESRI ArcGIS concurrent licenses.

Is there any benefit in applying different timeout values for different features?

We will try to address this issue by an example. Let us assume we have two FLEXlm features with different groups of users for each group: editing users that use ESRI ArcInfo and viewers the use ESRI ArcView.

Feature Licenses Users
ArcView         10        40
ArcInfo          10        20

With a threshold of 80% OpenLM will try to keep two (2) free licenses for each FLEXlm feature (ArcView and ArcInfo). Since there are less users that are sharing the ArcInfo FLEXlm feature (10 licenses for 20 users), there are more chances that less then 8 licenses will be concurrently in use. When the usage is bellow the set threshold, no sessions will be closed by OpenLM and by that, we actually extend the maximum idle time parameter.

If the usage rate of the FLEXlm ArcInfo feature is higher then the set threshold, 80%, a higher time out will not allow OpenLM to release idle licenses. The result is that we allowed idle users to hold licenses that are required by other users, and by that, avoided them from doing their work.

The conclusion is that timeout should be kept minimal and uniform to all features and user groups.

Summary

The timeout mechanism provided by OpenLM for ESRI ArcGIS is based on two parameters, “maximum idle time” and threshold. The combination of these two parameters provides a good solution for floating licenses (FLEXlm features) with both high and small number of licenses. The timeout value should be kept minimal (15-20 minutes) for all FLEXlm features and user groups.

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