Choose the Next OpenLM Background Image

As done with past major releases, following the release of OpenLM v4 we are going to change the OpenLM interface background. We are looking for a suitable image that will make your interface attractive and cheerful.

This year we have decided to give our users and followers the opportunity to influence the look of the OpenLM UI on the desktops of users (yours too) from more than 1,000 organizations across 5 continents.

The winner will have his image placed on the OpenLM interface and will receive credit for it. The first 10 places will be presented on OpenLM Blog with credits.

Participation is free. If you wish to participate, send your image to contest@openlm.com. Sending your entry is a sign of your acceptance of the following terms and conditions.

Contest Terms and Conditions:

  1. The sender must have legal authority to distribute the images sent and must not infringe on the legal rights of the owner, creator or any other party.
  2. By sending the images, the sender is giving OpenLM unlimited permission to distribute them as part of its software and the sender agrees to have no claim against OpenLM for using them.
  3. Each participant  can send up to 5 images with a total file size up to 20Mb (our mailbox limit).

OpenLM Version 4 Released

On October 15th 2017, OpenLM version 4 was released and is now available for download. New capabilities have been added to all of the OpenLM Core components which comprise OpenLM Server, OpenLM Broker and OpenLM Agent, plus three of the extensions – OpenLM Alerts, OpenLM Directory Synchronization and OpenLM Reporting Hub. The related product OpenLM App Manager v4 was released in parallel.

The full-featured version of the new release can be downloaded from the OpenLM website for a 30-day evaluation. Existing OpenLM users with a valid maintenance agreement can upgrade for free. Download here https://www.openlm.com/download/

The enhancements are listed briefly below:

OpenLM Core – OpenLM Server Component

Who benefits? All admins

  1. Denials for multiple pools. OpenLM can now identify the appropriate license pool even when the denial data lacks valid pool information.
  2. Configuration. Simpler configuration of new license managers. OpenLM Broker sends a notification and you just need to accept it one time on the license servers screen.
  3. System Alerts. Two new system event types – OpenLM Broker command execution status and LDAP start and finish events – are now shown on the alerts screen.
  4. Denials Report. Email and version information now added to the report.
  5. License Usage Report filter. Selection of workstations has now been added to the filter screen.
  6. Workstation filter improvements. Now any number of named workstations can be selected in the workstation filter and wildcards can be used.
  7. Groups window improvements. There are now 2 display options: Tree View and List View. Tree view is the same as the previous version; List View has been added and contains a search capability.
  8. New API methods. New methods have been added to provide data for: Summary report, service ports, denials, license activity, projects, user details, group details and user-vendor details.
  9. Reporting resolution . Report resolution now by second for license managers Sentinel RMS and Reprise RLM. Denials Reporting now added for license managers Sentinel RMS, Reprise RLM, BetaLM and LS-DYNA
  10. Reporting of combined application usage. Differentiation in the reporting of application use where some are checked out via the network-based license manager while others are not. This is a powerful tool in helping to optimize between network-licensed and workstation-licensed instances of the same application or feature and also in identifying use of unauthorized licenses . This feature is applicable only where the OpenLM App Manager is installed and implemented as well.

OpenLM Core – OpenLM Broker Component

Who benefits? Admins of OpenLM configurations incorporating OpenLM Broker

  1. Simplified configuration. The commands definitions option has been moved  from Advanced Settings to Port Commands and is configurable for each port.
  2. Windows service configuration. Previously available only for Flexera Flexnet, Windows Service configuration and default start/stop commands with NET START/STOP are now applicable to all license managers running on Windows as service.
  3. RMS detection. RMS license manager settings are now detected by OpenLM Broker in a similar way to FlexLM, DSLS and LMX.

OpenLM Core – OpenLM Agent Component

Who benefits? Application end users where OpenLM Agent is implemented

  1. Current usage report. Paging added.
  2. Performance improvements. Faster response time.

OpenLM Directory Synchronization Extension

Who benefits? Admins of OpenLM where the OpenLM Directory Synchronization extension is implemented

  1. edirectory. eDirectory is now supported, including SSL protocol.
  2. Custom LDAP attributes. Now user-defined LDAP attributes can be specified (option: ‘User Attribute – Group users with same attribute’)
  3. Custom LDAP objects. An option has been added for choosing schema customization objects (option: ‘Hierarchical – Create groups of users according to’)

OpenLM Alerts Extension

Who benefits? Admins of OpenLM and  application end users where the OpenLM Alerts extension is implemented

  1. Start / stop license manager. A new type of alert action has been added that will allow you to specify running the start, stop, reread or restart command on the license manager.
  2. Duplicate license usage calculation. You can now choose the method of ascertaining duplicate usage.
  3. Notify involved users. For rule types usage, session duration and duplicate license usage, an option now exists to send email to the user involved in triggering the alert.
  4. Feature usage percentage calculation. The method of aggregating usage percentage can now be specified as either per single feature or for all selected features combined.
  5. Notification email subject. An option has been added to the email notification alert action to append text to the standard text sent as the email subject.
  6. Email alert format. Email alert messages are now more easy to read.

OpenLM Reporting Hub Extension

Who benefits? Admins of OpenLM where the OpenLM Reporting Hub is implemented

  1. Package dimension. Package information now added as a separate dimension.
  2. Idle time. Idle time measurement tables added for raw idle sessions and calculated daily idle times.
  3. Versioning. Version code added to the ETL launch file, database and sample reports.
  4. New table that combines all versions as a single feature.
  5. Compatibility. Fully compatible with OpenLM v4.
  6. Firebird. Firebird databases now supported.
  7. SQL support. Connection can be be made to SQL Server instances in addition to ports.

OpenLM App Manager

Who benefits? Admins of organizations in which OpenLM App Manager is implemented.

  1. Floating license adjustment. OpenLM App Manager now has an option to bind an application feature monitored at the workstation level to a license manager-controlled feature and adjust the usage data accordingly (done for selected vendors). See also ‘Reporting of combined application usage’ under ‘OpenLM Server’ above.
  2. License consumption policy by process. A new license consumption policy type has been added that will count all the processes of the same application even if they are running on the same computer. This option lets you monitor software working according to the per process model and track application usage for each individual process running.
  3. Unconditional rules. A rule has been added that can allow or deny checkout events for all users.
  4. Sequencing. Rules with the most conditions are now applied first.
  5. Default deny. When App Manager is installed, there is now a default rule to deny access to all users.
  6. Rules for packages. If a policy is configured to use a package, the package name can be used as the ‘application’.
  7. Application limit can now be set to “Unlimited” meaning usage is reported to OpenLM Core, but without limiting the number of consumed licenses.

See also:

Partnership with Xensam

SAM with Engineering Licenses

 

OpenLM has entered into an agreement with software asset management software company Xensam, which will not only provide added value to customers of both companies but will bring to the market a SAM software solution that includes concurrent engineering licenses.

 

Xensam approached OpenLM after one of their customers, who was also a customer of OpenLM’s software for engineering applications, requested integration of the two systems, so they could see the information about engineering license inventory and usage on the Xensam dashboard. Xensam will use OpenLM’s API to perform the task and both companies will make their customers aware of the new combined technology. OpenLM CEO Oren Gabay: “We welcome Xensam SAM to the partner community at OpenLM Software. Even though engineering licenses are the most expensive of software assets, the management of engineering licenses in organization is often done poorly or not at all. Adding engineering license management capabilities to Xensam software will provide significant added value to their offering and give their customers a holistic view over all types of assets.”

 

While monitoring and management of engineering software licenses is a form of software asset management, it is a highly specialized area that does its discovery on license managers such as Flexera Flexnet Manager, IBM LUM, Sentinel, DSLS and others. This is the key to monitoring concurrent (floating) licenses as well as other licensing models administered by license managers (sometimes called license servers). As they cater only for this area, they are not usually considered a part of the SAM software constellation. Alex Geuken CEO Xensam North Europe commented: “I see this as a unique opportunity. OpenLM, the best software asset management system for engineering software solutions on the market, together with Xensam, the next generation of software asset management. Our partnership will provide a brand-new form of cost saving and decision-making opportunities for organizations all around the world. I’m very happy for this partnership between two of the markets bravest innovators.”

 

About Xensam

Xensam Inc. is a software company with a product line developed to reduce software spend and bring the next generation of software asset management to the market. Their software merges a very easy user interface with the world’s first artificial intelligence for software asset management. With the help of their unique A.I, Mr Xam, software is recognized faster and the organization’s data center is automatically optimized using advanced license algorithms and machine learning, reducing the need for days of manual analysis by expensive short-term hired SAM consultants. This is only one example of what Mr Xam can do for organizations all around the world.

www.xensam.com

Enhanced API Released for OpenLM

The new enhanced OpenLM API is now available to technology partners and customers who want to display OpenLM data in their applications. Although officially part of version 4 that is scheduled to be publicly released by the end of 2017, the API is being made available ahead of time. New methods have been added to provide data about the summary report, service ports, denials, license activity, projects, user details, group details and user-vendor details.

If you are a customer and you want the new documentation, please contact support. If you are a vendor of SAM, helpdesk or other software, please visit our partner page.

Do you need to report on license usage for engineering software? If so, see the earlier post Do you need a license usage information API?

Enhanced Broker Release

To complement the latest releases last week of OpenLM Server and OpenLM Agent, this week we released version 3.3.19 of the broker for Windows and Linux. Here are the enhancements:

For the Windows version, automatic detection has been added for three license managers:

  • Dessault (DSLS)
  • X-Formation LM-X
  • OpenLM App Manager

Detection is done at installation time and when pressing the “Detect” button.

Automatic detection is now done for the the Linux version of the FlexLM license manager too, when running  a script from the Linux command line.

 

See all the latest software revisions here:

OpenLM is a GSA Vendor

It just got  a whole lot simpler to purchase OpenLM if you are a United States government agency. We’re happy to announce that OpenLM is now a GSA Contractor.

The purchasing process of governmental organizations can be long and drawn out and the General Services Administration (GSA) purchasing platform is meant to make the job faster and easier for procurement officers. Starting this month, OpenLM is listed as an approved vendor on the GSA schedule. The two most prominent benefits are:

  • Lower price – GSA customers get the best price of all
  • Faster procurement processing – when you’re ready to buy, execution of the transaction is as quick as it gets

There are many U.S. government agencies at local and federal levels using OpenLM to get inventory and usage information about the engineering software in their department. They cover aerospace, agriculture, research, military, homeland security, transport, financial and municipal institutions.

See SIN numbers, GSA contract number and other important information here.

 

Optimizing MATLAB’s Concurrent and Named User Engineering Software Licenses

If your company uses MATLAB®, you’re probably familiar with the assorted licensing methods that MathWorks® utilizes to extend access to its applications. Specifically, Individual (node-locked), network named user, and concurrent licenses are available, each offering different benefits, restrictions and price points.

For individual or node-locked licenses, you specify the user, and the application can be installed on up to four computers. This license doesn’t support multiple sessions so users are prevented from operating the program on two or more computers simultaneously.

With a network named user license, you specify the list of possible users. The program may be operated by those individuals on computers served by a single license manager, and up to the maximum number of people on the license. This license doesn’t support multiple sessions either.

A concurrent license enables you to provide application use to anyone with access to your network. Access is not limited to specific named users.

In general, a concurrent license is more expensive than the other two options but it gives companies more flexibility to support larger numbers of users. Moreover, the price per user should be lower because the licenses can be shared.

Mixing License Types and Planning

It’s common for companies to employ a mix of licensing models to best suit their workforce requirements, and to get the most out of their software expenditure. However, the task of planning which users should get the named licenses and which need to share the pool of concurrent licenses is often done without fully understanding the impact of the decision on overall cost. Below are a few common errors that license administrators can easily make.

  1. Assigning a named license to a user who does not actually use it for most of their working day. A named license might initially appear to cost less than a concurrent license but a named license that isn’t used intensively day after day can work out much more expensive than a concurrent license that serves a number of users each at a different time of day. If a named license is given on the basis of seniority or status rather than actual usage requirements then the engineers who really need the software may run out of available pooled licenses while the named license is idle.
  2. Purchasing individual or node-locked licenses that are not network-based. Individual and node-locked Matlab licenses can be purchased to be stand-alone and not need a license manager. This can be advantageous if the workstation is not always connected to the network. However, something that can be overlooked is that the tools required by the team can extend also to include one or more of the many Matlab toolboxes at a considerable extra cost. The toolboxes needed are likely to vary from one user to the next and so one size generally doesn’t fit all. An interesting ‘hybrid’ solution that not everyone knows about is to use concurrent licensed toolboxes with node-locked licenses for the Matlab basic product thus getting the benefits of pooling for some important features. The result is that to optimize license usage, you need to look carefully at how all the licensed features are used and not just the package or main product.
  3. Not checking actual usage on a frequent basis. But perhaps the most important practice to remember when it comes to planning and allocating named licenses is frequently reviewing the actual usage and continually making changes to fit the current situation. An intensive user of a feature this month might have no need for that feature next month, because engineers may need different tools at different stages of a project.

The license manager employed by MathWorks to control and manage the issuing of concurrent and named user licenses over the network is Flexera FlexNet Manager.

License Manager Configuration

FlexNet Manager is configured by editing a text file called the options file and if not performed properly, named users can unknowingly check out more expensive concurrent licenses. This effectively raises the licensing cost and can lead to downtime due to a lack of available MATLAB or other essential engineering software licenses.

You also need to check that the license file is correct and that new license files have been uploaded. This may require renaming and moving files for backup purposes in case of error. This administrative process takes time and, if you judge by the number of configuration questions that show up on vendor support forums, is prone to error.

There are also times when a concurrent license gets issued improperly, even though the named users appear to have been correctly defined. It’s unclear what causes this problem but might be connected to the license file structure and its segmentation into pools. Multiple pools are created in the license file licenses when batches of licenses are purchased at different times.

Each pool can contain one or more license types, but usually only has a single type. By rearranging the order of appearance of pools in a multi-pool license file, you can reduce the chance that a concurrent license is pulled when a named license should have been taken instead.

In any case, whether the licenses are checked out according to the way your organization intended them to be or not, the license manager is concerned primarily with controlling allocation and doesn’t provide the requisite details regarding license usage.

Enhancing the License Manager

License managers provide the basic capabilities for ensuring compliance  according to the licensing agreement but there are specific areas where they can be improved to the benefit of the user organization. That’s where OpenLM can assist. It works in combination with your existing license manager making it easier to configure your named license definitions, and monitor which licenses have been checked out.

With the OpenLM License Allocation Manager extension, you can more easily edit the appropriate options file and define named users by completing a simple input screen that functions like an online form. There is also an option in OpenLM to optimally sort the vendor’s license file so that when the license manager’s selection algorithm receives a request, it’s more likely to fulfill that request accurately. A named user will receive his allocated license instead of being assigned a concurrent one.

Conclusion

Combining MathWorks concurrent and named user licenses can help companies save money on software licensing and ensure that employees have the application access they need. Heavy users will probably require their own named licenses and part-time users can share licenses from the pool on a first-come, first-served basis.

This process works efficiently as long as named users have been configured properly, they pull the appropriate license type, and their use patterns really justify having individual licenses. This mandates proper setting up and prior and ongoing planning together with detailed monitoring of actual usage (as provided by the OpenLM Actual Usage extension).

The Future of ESRI ArcGIS Concurrent User Licenses

The life of a license administrator at a company that uses engineering software for its business has become increasingly complex recently. Many of the major software vendors are moving away from the concurrent user model to a pay-per-use model, as a response to the growth of cloud-based offerings. Now ESRI has also decided to discontinue concurrent licenses in favor of single user licenses. Customers discovered towards the end of 2016 that this would take effect as at 1/1/2017, which did not give them much time to prepare.  

An added complication in understanding the already complex ESRI licensing options is that new product ArcGIS Pro (“Pro”), has a different licensing model from ArcGIS Desktop  (“Desktop”). Existing users of Desktop have access to Pro, which is included in the package, as long as they have a maintenance contract for Desktop in place, in order to encourage them to experiment with Pro. The drive is for ESRI customers to move to Pro, as the latest release 10.5 of Desktop is slated to be retired in December 2022 . However, it seems that more consultation with existing customers should have been done, based on community feedback and discussion.

ESRI’s Different License Types

Phrases like “concurrent user” and “single user” mean different things to different vendors, and ESRI is no exception. Here are some license type definitions according to ESRI.

  • Named User – The Named User license can be used on any machine, as it is linked to the person authorized to use it. That user can run the ArcGIS on up to 3 machines simultaneously. This is the default license type for ArcGIS Pro.
  • Single User – A Single User license is linked to the MAC of a specific machine and can be used by anyone who has access to that machine. This has become the new default license for other ESRI products.
  • Concurrent User – The user books out a license from the ESRI License Manager Server, and, as long as there are available licenses in the pool, can work on any machine. The ESRI License Manager will deny service if the maximum number of licenses have been booked out. The number of machines with the software installed can exceed the cap of concurrent licenses. Standard (or perpetual) licenses are available for ArcGIS for Desktop, which require the customer to pay an annual maintenance fee. This is the license format that most long-standing customers of ESRI have in place to manage their concurrent users. If the maintenance fee lapses, the customer’s access to ArcGIS Pro is revoked. However, ArcGIS for Desktop can still be used, without the benefit of future upgrades.

Concurrent User Licenses in 2017

ESRI’s original stance on concurrent licenses was that they were to be discontinued at the beginning of 2017. This definitely still applies to any new customers, who will be required to buy named licenses. Unfortunately, ESRI’s communication process was less than perfect, and many long-time users of ArcGIS only found out about the planned changes via the community grapevine. Even where a formal communication was made by the account manager, this was done very late during 2016, with little time for customers to assess their current and future license needs. This caused a considerable backlash, and for now, this is the situation:-

  • Existing Desktop customers will still be able to purchase concurrent user licenses, presumably until Desktop is retired. The oldest version still supported is 10.1, but this will be retired by the beginning of 2018, so any Desktop 10.1 users will have to decide whether to migrate to Desktop 10.5 or Pro or take another path entirely in the very near future. Any maintenance agreements must be kept current, as access to Pro is revoked if the maintenance agreement expires.
  • Customers who purchase Pro are issued named licenses by default. However, the license administrator can convert named licenses either to single or concurrent licenses with the aid of My ESRI. My ESRI is a self-service website for managing the customer-ESRI relationship and facilitating license modifications. It must be noted that the change to a single or concurrent user license model is a one-way change, although if one reads between the lines, it does appear that one can revert after discussion with one’s account manager.

Should one migrate to ArcGIS Pro?

Pro is a true 64-bit application that allows all the artifacts from the project to linked together easily. It has specifically been designed to work with ArcGIS Online (“AGOL”), the cloud-based mapping product, and ArcGIS Enterprise, the mapping platform. It can be run in tandem with ArcMAP on the same machine. The customer will also be able to obtain fixes and upgrades automatically (advisable with a new product).

While users of the new product are generally appreciative of its new features, and it is cost-efficient for certain customer setups, most large users see this as a massive price hike. Where a company has several hundred users, the license administrator manages costs via a concurrent user model and will generally have far less licenses than GIS users. ESRI has recognised this and made an offer where such companies can exchange one concurrent license for 3 named licenses. However, more than one customer has commented that they have a concurrent usage basis of up to 1:5, and moving to a named license option will definitely harm their software budget. Using the right license management software, this ratio can be even higher. Also, many companies only use GIS software sporadically, and the acquisition of full named licenses for occasional use is obviously not in their best interests.

Some Unintended Consequences

The decision on whether to move to a named user model and Pro is very dependent on the unique GIS requirements of an organization. What has happened in some cases is that long-standing users are evaluating whether they even want to upgrade to Desktop 10.5, which is surely not what ESRI expected. The license situation is still in flux, even for Pro, – ESRI has expanded the named license option to a two-tier system, with a type 1 and type 2 user, which makes the licensing model even more complicated. It is hoped that the license debate will be sorted out sooner than later, but until it is resolved, there will be some discomfort in the GIS marketplace.

Bentley Software Licensing Reviewed

When it comes to engineering software, one of the most widely-known companies is Bentley Systems. A large population of engineering software users have used Bentley Microstation in their time for 2D and 3D CAD, Projectwise for managing the project or Assetwise for managing the assets. In addition to these generic products, Bentley provides software for most engineering disciplines, from products like Inroads for civil engineering and Substation for power utilities to visualization and imaging tools such as Descartes.

Purchasers of Bentley products have a couple of licensing options available to them, perpetual or term. Users can select either option, or use them in conjunction, depending on which model suits them better.

  • Perpetual license. Unlike some other vendors, Bentley claims to have no intention of dispensing with the perpetual licensing model. With this licensing model, a set number of licenses are purchased annually.  This is ideal for managing a fixed license base, such as a drafting office, where a set number of users  log into the software regularly but not all at the same time. The perpetual license is based on concurrent usage, also known as pooling. Some customers have expressed concerns that Bentley may discontinue the concurrent user model, but the company has put out reassurances that they have no intention of discontinuing concurrent usage. Bentley’s assessment of what constitutes concurrent usage can be a little complex to grasp; we will return to this later.
  • Term license. A term license is a short-term alternative that works well for extra demand because of a new project, where the demand is expected to fall away once the project is completed. A term license is a subscription-based license, which is based on pay-per-use.
  • “Select”. In order to provide an option where customers can use a combination of the two models, Bentley has come up with “Select” which can manage a portfolio of licenses.Users have to register as a Select user in all circumstances and license monitoring is reported to one or more Select servers, which are installed on site.

How Bentley Calculates Concurrent Usage.

At first glance, Bentley’s concurrent usage model appears quite equitable. For each day, it monitors how many licenses are booked out for each ten minutes of each hour of the day and records this on the Select server. Special allowance is given to very short-term and accidental usage. If a user books out a license in error, or for less than 10 minutes, those first ten minutes are excluded from the license count. This calculation used to be based on usage per-hour, for example, from 8:00-8:59. Now it works from 08:00-08:09. The change has caused some confusion among customers. The server aggregates all usage per 10 minute period and determines the peak number of devices concurrently using the software in that day for a particular timeslot. This peak usage is used by Bentley for billing purposes. There is a video on Bentley’s site which you can watch to get a more detailed understanding of their system .

Geographic Limitations

Bentley only grants perpetual licenses per country, which may make the management of concurrent usage simpler, with a Select Server per country. What happens where a country includes several time-zones is not so clear, for instance, where there is an office running on Pacific time and another office using Eastern Standard time.

Causes for Concern

While Bentley believes that their method of calculating concurrent usage is equitable, this view is not shared by all its customers. One of the limitations of Bentley’s license management is that it does not issue a denial of service when a new user books out a license above the concurrent usage maximum contractually agreed upon. Secondly, it does not proactively advise the customer of licenses that have been booked out and are lying idle. Thirdly, and most importantly, using the highest peak usage as a basis for billing does not align with true pay-per use.

Customers are not keeping quiet about this, and have expressed their feelings on the Bentley community website. One customer explained how they used only ten of their 24 licenses concurrently during one day. However, if one user books software out a few minutes before the ten-minute start period, and another user logs out a few minutes after a ten minute period, both of these are included in the peak calculation. In this instance, Bentley calculated a peak usage of 16 licences. Another customer claimed to have been billed for usage on a computer that is not registered anywhere in his network; whether the claim is justified or not doesn’t change the fact that customers are expressing doubts about the accuracy or fairness of the billing algorithm.

Managing the Costs of a Bentley Relationship

The challenge of limiting costs when using Bentley tools has some administrators keeping a very tight rein on who can access the tools as well as maintaining a watchful brief on idle licenses that have been booked out. Bentley does give pointers as to how the customer can monitor and optimize usage, which requires changing some settings in the Bentley set-up, and there is reporting after the event which can be used for future trimming of costs. However, this doesn’t give the customer full control over the licensing costs. Customers would be happier if they could get functions like  

  • monitoring usage per license per minute
  • warning when concurrent usage is at its maximum
  • “harvesting” idle licenses, by suspending the session and freeing the license.
  • providing accurate usage values so that the administrator can optimize the bouquet of licenses held, and determine whether term licenses may not be more appropriate in some cases.

So it seems there are some rumblings from customers that Bentley needs to address, especially in the light of their recent initiative to convince Autodesk users to swap to Bentley, now that Autodesk has changed its policy on perpetual licences. While there are some customers who say the model works for them, its success and equitability is very dependent on the type of engineering concern and how they work. The fact that Bentley does not limit usage over the agreed base does not make life easier for the customer.

OpenLM is a software audit and management system for engineering software licenses for more information Contact us or get a free 30-day trial.