OpenLM 4.1 is Out!

Today, 4 main modules of OpenLM are released under the version 4.1 title. Major enhancements include:

  • Running of agent procedures on OpenLM Agent and on Agent SoftwareLocker Service
  • Running of custom scripts on OpenLM Broker and on OpenLM Server
  • RMS license server reporting more accurate and complete
  • Filtering of  denials collection with predefined configuration
  • LDAP synchronization is faster and has new reset sync functionality
  • Reports run faster
  • Inclusion / exclusion of unconsumed reservations in the License Usage Report

And of course, a bunch of bug fixes

For all the details, see OpenLM Software Revisions.

Software License as a Status Symbol

While companies globally are trying to transform into the new way of working, with flattened organizational hierarchies and agile teams, one of the challenges they face is the importance of status symbols to their employees. We are all familiar with the manifestations of how high up the totem pole one has ascended. They range from small items like an upgraded chair, table or better laptop to more expensive and valuable ones like the corner office with windows, company car and a parking spot near the entrance. Certain jobs demand specific perks, like golf club membership for marketing and sales executives.

When it comes to the engineering sector, there is an interesting variant: the dedicated software license. Chief engineers, long-serving draughtsmen and even engineering executives may well have their own ‘personal’ copy of one or more very expensive software application. Whether they make extensive use of the software is not open to debate, it is a very costly recognition of their value to the firm. It also makes the license administrator’s work just that bit harder, as he has to manage these assets in addition to the licenses owned under a concurrent licensing agreement.

The Cost to the Company

Concurrent or floating licensing is an efficient way of containing costs where there are many users of a specific product. When the license agreement is entered into, the aim is to buy the minimum number of licenses for the maximum number of users, taking into account peak usage, company growth and expected projects in the pipeline. This is not a simple balancing act; no user should be denied service because all the licenses are booked out; but there should also not be too much spare capacity or “shelfware”.

Contrast this with a dedicated license, which adds an overhead to the license management portfolio, because its expiry date is probably not in sync with the concurrent license contract, although it does come in at a lower cost. There is an alternative way of creating a dedicated license by taking it from the available concurrent licenses, either by borrowing or reserving it. Both of these options convert the concurrent license to a “node-locked” license. This means that for every borrowed or reserved license there is one less floating license available to the users of that software application, which could result in denial of service at peak times. From a cost aspect, this is like paying for a limousine and getting a family car. The reservation or borrowing could have been a temporary remedy which became permanent because the dedicated software was not returned to the concurrent license pool at the end of the designated period.

If the lucky recipient of this reserved or borrowed license makes full use of the software, there is less of an issue. However, if there is anything less than continuous use, the full benefit of the license is not being realized and this can amount to an additional cost to the company, because the reduced number of concurrent licenses could be too low to prevent denials of service. When users are locked out because of a license shortage, this causes frustration and loss of productivity, which carries its own costs; it can result in purchases of additional licenses to satisfy demand, if the poor utilization of reserved licenses is overlooked.

Companies that have paid attention to this problem have saved up to $1 million per year by monitoring the use of all forms of dedicated licenses and removing the rights where the software asset is not being utilized sufficiently. We will discuss the ramifications of reserving and booking out concurrent licenses in another article, but they can have a material impact on software licensing costs.

Status Symbol or Essential Tool?

But not  all dedicated licenses are mere displays of rank and status, some engineers genuinely need almost uninterrupted access to specific toolsets, for instance the transmission and distribution engineers who design lines for the power utilities, or the engineers who deal with piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID) in oil and gas plants. You must first define sufficient use to justify a dedicated license, and then monitor and measure usage.

Designing Parameters for Dedicated Usage

Engineering software that is used continuously and widely within organizations, like computer-aided engineering (CAE) and project management applications, are especially suitable for “floating” licenses. However, there are certain classes of software where there will be periods of extensive use alternating with periods of complete dormancy, such as lightning shielding applications and other  specialized applications that are used by experts in their field. In this case, it is better to buy a few individual licenses for those specialists; 100% usage of these products will never be achieved, but they are essential for those niche jobs.

When it comes to products where a concurrent license is justified, a set of rules or guidelines justifying a dedicated license can be drawn up, based on number of hours per day, per week or per month or project priority. Depending on how formal you want to make it, this could be used for a policy document. The parameters for use should be based on historic usage values extracted from your asset or license management software. These parameters are not cast in concrete and should be revised periodically. There will undoubtedly be mutterings about any such policy or guideline, but if it is issued company-wide it is seen to be objective and not a personal attack. It should also be made clear that usage will be monitored.

Measuring and Monitoring

We discussed this in an earlier post – Getting the most from your concurrent licenses, as it is important to distinguish between reserved licenses that are idle and reserved licenses that are being used. We also explain how to interpret the reporting on reserved licenses and what actions need to be taken. The reporting output can be used to explain diplomatically to an engineer that has a dedicated license but is not making much use of it, why the license should be brought back into the concurrent license group. To pacify aggrieved feelings, have an alternative perk available, such as a personal cappuccino machine, or a serious laptop upgrade.

Going Forward

Working through all the concurrent licensing software on board will take time, some companies have several hundred engineering applications in their portfolio. It makes sense to deal with the most widely used and most expensive applications first. It is also important to keep a watching brief on future usage – the last thing you need is an irate chief engineer saying “I told you so!”, because he got a denial of access to “his” software .


Learn more about OpenLM solutions for software license management

Esri Users Bring Back Concurrent Licensing


A year ago, ESRI caused quite a bit of consternation among their customers by changing their licensing model. Engineering software licenses are notoriously expensive, and Esri’s ArcGIS license is no exception. Most engineering companies invest in concurrent use licenses, as this is generally the most cost-effective and efficient license model. Esri announced that their new product, ArcGIS Pro, would be sold with single-use or named-use licenses from the beginning of 2017 and concurrent use licenses were to be phased out. Unfortunately this announcement was made very shortly before the end of 2016, leaving ArcGIS license owners with very little time to understand the implications or react to the change. We wrote about the change earlier in 2017, in some detail in this post.

How the ArcGIS Product Line is Changing

In order to move to a 64-bit architecture, Esri is phasing out ArcMAP, the GIS workhorse of the suite, and replacing it with ArcGIS Pro, which is available within ArcGIS Desktop and can be used if the customer has a maintenance agreement with Esri. The challenge was that ArcGIS Pro’s default license was a named user license, and it seemed obvious that Esri was trying to phase out concurrent licenses. Although we will never know for sure, it is likely that many existing customers were resisting the upgrade to ArcGIS Desktop 10.5, the version that was closing the door on concurrent licensing. The previous version, ArcGIS 10.4, will only be available for purchase until the end of January 2018, which means that customers are now forced to make a decision about their future with ArcGIS.

The Economics of the Named Use License versus Concurrent Use License

The license is a material contributor to the ArcGIS software cost, and CIOs and the license administrators who report to them ensure the best bang for their buck via concurrent user licenses, aiming for a ratio of 3 users per license or better.  The best ArcGIS license option for any organization is the concurrent license, and it did not matter what sweeteners Esri offered, such as a 3-for-1 license swap, the customers were not taking the bait. It seemed an impasse had been reached, but Esri finally started listening to their customers.

The Power of the Crowd

ESRI’s ArcGIS license owners have a vibrant and active community of user groups, both in the US and global chapters in countries throughout Europe and the Middle East to Asia Pacific. There are location-based groups and SIGs (special interest groups), such as water management and local government. Esri also encourages the creation of groups for collaboration as an integral part of their software. Regular user group events are held, both in the US and globally, and this is where customers voiced their feelings about the new licensing model.

Esri had always prided themselves on being a customer oriented company, but their strategy to move to named user licenses was definitely not a good customer experience, and their customers were letting them know. They did some introspection and then issued the following message to all their customers:-

In this announcement they stated: “We are extending the availability of Concurrent Use licensing for ArcGIS Desktop (ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap) to all of our customers, new and existing. Your feedback has helped us better understand how Concurrent Use licensing provides you with the flexibility to deploy ArcGIS Desktop in a way that best fits your workflows.”

Restoring the Preferred ArcGIS License Model

This change takes effect from 1 January 2018 and brings back a flexible license model that can be tailored to fit any company’s requirements, but will help to rebuild the relationship between Esri and its customers. The enterprise that uses ArcGIS for their mapping will be able to optimise their licensing model through concurrent use, a licensing model that is best suited to managing and monitoring license use for the foreseeable future.


The floating license you need is now available!

You need to work on a floating licensed software application but when you try to run it you find all the licenses in the pool are being used. You try again and again but a license just isn’t available. This can be maddening, especially when you are pressed to complete the task.

And if you are the CAD manager, director of engineering or network administrator responsible for the engineering licenses, you might be the one who gets the moans of the frustrated engineers described in the paragraph above and has to run around to find out what’s happening with all the concurrent licenses. Whichever position you are in, there’s good news at hand.

Did you know that OpenLM lets you set up an alert that will notify users when a previously denied license becomes available? It frees up your users to do other important things instead of trying to open the application again and again and getting denied.

The feature requires the OpenLM Alerts extension and you will also need to install OpenLM Agent on the workstations. To configure it, just make sure the ‘Available license notification’ checkbox is marked on the agent policy screen as shown below.

Then, following a previous denial, the user doesn’t have to do anything more. A message will be displayed when a license is free, as shown below.


If you want to try out this feature, email us at

See more on the OpenLM website


OpenLM Quicktips – Hybrid licensing is good – if it’s working right!

Using a combination of named licenses for the users who need to use their engineering software all day, every day, and concurrent licenses for those whose needs are less intensive, is a good policy for optimizing your license inventory. What many CAD managers don’t know however is that an incorrectly set up license file can allow your named license holder to unintentionally pull a concurrent license instead of using the appropriate named license. This can occur if the concurrent pool appears in the file before the named license pool! The result can be costly in license resources because the named license will not be utilized, whereas one concurrent license less will be available to other users.

The good news is that Open Broker can fix this for you automatically. In the OpenLM Broker  configuration tool, there is an option to sort the license file such that the named license pools will come first and therefore be handled before the floating license pools. All you need to do is mark the checkbox ‘Allow to Sort License File’ for the appropriate port (license manager instance). See the image below.

sort license file



OpenLM Quicktips – Denials! True or False?

Engineers are quick to complain when they get denials while trying to pull a license.  But what constitutes a denial? If someone tries a few times in succession, initially getting denied but still getting the license they need to work with after a very short time, should we consider it?

OpenLM allows you to look at denials both as ‘all denials’ in which every denial instance is shown, and also as ‘true denials’, whereby all the cases in which the user got the requested license after a short time are excluded. It does this by identifying successive attempts to pull a license and looking at the final result i.e. whether the user got the license or gave up until a later time.

Both views are invaluable in understanding the real picture of license availability in your organization.

See the example below. The ‘Show True Denials Only’ checkbox is marked to eliminate denials which immediately preceded a successful license pull. Note that successive attempts are grouped as a single denial event, but it can be expanded to display them all.


If you want to see and hear more about OpenLM license monitoring and management features, join the webinar.

Efficient License Management: Getting the Most from Your Concurrent Licenses

Engineering and scientific software does not come cheap. The cost of software licenses creates an impressive dent in most companies’ technology budgets, especially when one considers how many different software packages are required in any of these fields. Wherever possible, most organizations have opted for concurrent user or “floating” licenses as the most efficient way to provide software to those who need it. The concurrent model, avoids having to purchase a license per user, and, when optimized, can generally serve 5 or more users per license, even at peak times.

The experienced license administrator has to tread a fine balance between too much spare capacity against denial of service to engineers when they need to use the software. The same level of attention has to be given to every software product running under a concurrent user agreement, all of which have their own rules and restrictions. This is an ongoing process, and requires constant monitoring to maintain the balance. With license costs running in the range of $10-150K per seat, even 1 unnecessary license is worth removing from your portfolio. Here are a few pointers to consider when fine-tuning license usage.

  • minimize the number of license servers where possible
  • try to reduce the number of regional agreements per product when operating across continents
  • avoid the borrowing and reserving of licenses and if unavoidable, keep a watching brief so that the status can be reversed as soon as possible
  • Discourage the “License as Status Symbol” syndrome

The Ratio of Licenses to License Servers

Small groups of users working off a single license server is not optimal. A typical example would be a project. Firstly, a few additional licenses will be required to cater for peak usage. Then there will be periods of low or zero utilization because the project team is in a meeting or most of the engineers are in the field. An organization that has multiple license servers will typically have over-purchased licenses and will have a low to average utilization. There is also the additional cost of the multiple servers and their maintenance and security.

The ideal is to have the maximum number of users accessing the software from a single server (we are excluding mirroring and backup servers from this discussion). While extra “free” licenses are still required to ensure that there are no bottlenecks and denial of service (where a user cannot access a license because they are all booked out), the number for a centralized server serving everyone will be lower than the overhead required for many smaller groups working off different servers. The software utilization will also be much higher, because of the larger population of users needing licenses.

What we generally find is that many companies will have multiple licensing clusters, one for normal business, such as the drawing office, and a license server per project or per regional office. From an administrative perspective this means there are multiple contracts with differing conditions and expiry dates and the extra work this brings. From a cost and efficiency perspective, the company will need to purchase more licenses to allow for a few spare licenses on each server. This can be explained using a car rental scenario as an analogy.

Consider a car rental company that has 5 locations each with 50 cars. They are well patronized but still have many cars standing in the parking lot, unused, plus a percentage of extra cars to cope with peak demand.

Their competitor has only one location, in the airport, with 250 cars. They do have some extra cars standing in the parking lot but the total percentage is much lower compared to the previous company. This amounts to a considerable cost saving because they have a smaller fleet overall, and only one point where service, maintenance and rentals are carried out.

Applying this analogy to engineering software, while the costs of having purchased more licenses than are required are obvious, there are the hidden costs of additional administration and extra complexity that are often not taken into account. So the canny license administrator’s goal is to have a software product served by only one license server and accessible by all users. However, geography can put paid to those plans.

Geographical Limits and Restrictions

One of the pain-points of multinational organizations is the need to purchase more than one software license for a product, based on the geographical location of an office. This results in additional contracts to manage, additional license servers to administer and even new license management offices being set up in a region. Some centralized control is still required to ensure that each distributed license server is being managed to its optimum, especially with regard to reservations and borrowings.

The Hazards of Borrowed and Reserved Licenses

With many engineering software tools, it is quite possible to borrow or reserve one or more licenses from your concurrent license portfolio. The software license manager allows for licenses to be pulled from the license pool and allocate them to specific workstations, users or groups of users. In FLEXlm there are two activities with a slightly different purpose:-

Borrowing – Designed to allow individuals to convert a floating license to node locked license and take it out to the field. Surprisingly, many organization allow users to borrow expensive and valuable engineering licenses, thus converting them to inferior node locked licenses which cannot be accessed by any other user. The word “borrow” implies a temporary situation, but this has a habit of becoming a permanent loan..

Reservation – License management software also allows companies to take a number of licenses and create a new separate license pool to be used by a specific user or group. In many cases a single license is reserved for a specific person, just as in borrowing and in other cases, multiple licenses are dedicated to a group of users. Again, this downgrades the floating license to a node-locked license, reducing the capability and capacity of the remaining concurrent licensing pool to service the users who utilize floating licenses.

It should be possible to monitor and manage reserved license via your license manager software. 

Both borrowing and reserving licenses are often manifestations of an eccentricity of the engineering industry, giving engineers their dedicated copy of a bundle of expensive software applications.

The License as a Status Symbol

This practice is commonly found in engineering and scientific research companies, where one or more individuals has his or her own copy of at least one software application, the more expensive the better. While there are cases where there is justified, in most cases this software is being underutilized. The problem is exacerbated where the software was originally reserved from the concurrent user licenses, instead of being purchased as a single-user license. License manager software can help rectify this by reporting both on reserved software and its level of utilization. 


While most companies have woken up to the benefits that effective license management software can offer in managing the costs and compliance of software licensing, there is probably more hidden gold in the portfolio. We recommend an initiative to discover the prevalence of reservations and borrowings, why they are done, how many can be uplifted immediately and how many can be replaced with single-user licenses. Also, a periodic check of projects to determine whether the software originally purchased for the project is still in use, such as CAD software that has extensive use at the start of the project and then tails off. Some negotiation with the vendor could then be entered into to incorporate these “shelf” licenses into the floating pool, if needed, or to re-use them on another pending project.


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 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

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.