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.

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!