OpenLM beta version 1.8 is publicised

General

In the past couple of years, OpenLM v1.7 has been the selected tool for application usage metering and license usage optimization for an expanding circle of customers. OpenLM has steadily widened the variety of supported network license managers, and enhanced its monitoring capabilities per each license management tool.

OpenLM beta Version 1.8 incorporates many bug fixes, performance improvements and new features that were required by our cooperative and trusted customers. These changes have increased OpenLM’s robustness and made it less prone to errors.

This version also integrates some fundamental architectural changes that have expanded OpenLM’s ability to further develop license usage control and monitoring. Here are some of the main highlights of this new version.

Important note:

As of today the released version is still a beta, and as such it is not yet error free.
DO NOT upgrade production installations of OpenLM 1.7 to 1.8 beta.
The use of version 1.8 beta is recommended for:

  • New evaluating customers, who wish to explore the 1.8 beta version functionality, or
  • Active OpenLM 1.7 users, installing version 1.8 beta separately and parallel to the 1.7 production installation.

Please read this document prior to installing OpenLM 1.8 beta parallel to production 1.7 installations.

Support of License management tools

The addition of license management tools to the expanding portfolio of OpenLM’s supported license managers is an on-going task. Version 1.8 now supports the following concurrent license servers: FlexLM / Flexnet, Sentinel RMS (Aspentech SLM), DSLS, IBM LUM, Sentinel HASP, LM-X (Altair), Reprise RLM, Beta LM, Mathematica LM (MathLM), and Easycopy. In addition to that, support of some license management tools was enhanced. Here are some of these enhancements:

  • FlexLM: Asset Info information, which is unique per license pool is now monitored. Hence, it is now possible to follow user and group license check out per license pool.
  • Also on FlexLM: Software packages are automatically recognized, and populated by the respective software products. Single features can be associated with different software packages.
  • IBM_LUM license manager monitoring has been added expiration date, Offline Licenses indications, and support for HAL (High Availability Licensing) configuration support.
  • DSLS has been fully integrated into the OpenLM 1.8 system. License borrowing is reported.
  • RMS: License versions’ reporting was added

EasyAdmin

The EasyAdmin web application has undergone facelift surgery and generally looks nicer. Some graphic presentation windows have been added, and others have been improved in both clarity and robustness.

Personalization:

License usage status windows’ configuration can now be saved between workstations and browsers.

New reports

Some of the new reports are:

  • The License denial widget.
  • Procurement table: Shows licenses’ procurement path, providing expiration information.
  • License usage efficiency report: Histogram per single feature, showing how much of the time have N licenses been used.
  • Max usage heat map report.

Enhanced report windows

Report windows have also been enhanced. It is now possible to:

  • Export chart images or PDF documents and
  • Set report window refresh period
  • The “License Usage” graphic presentation was improved.

Database manipulation

Version 1.8 enhances the administrator’s capabilities to manipulate the OpenLM database. It is now possible to

  • Archive or delete old data.
  • Extract irrelevant users and
  • Delete unnecessary groups.

License Servers

Reported license servers’ information has been enhanced to include:

  • License server timezone indication
  • Host availability indication
  • License not in use indication.

Active Directory

The OpenLM Server is capable of synchronizing users and groups with an organization’s LDAP (Active Directory) to combine license management with other company information. LDAP synchronization provides automatic maintenance of Users’ and Groups’ data.

In version 1.8, LDAP synchronization has been profoundly improved, to support versatile and complex Active Directory environments. As a bonus, a preview of the impending synchronization scheme is now available.

Projects

The Project license usage recording capability is available for OpenLM from version 1.6 onward.  In the 1.8 version, some major modifications have been made:

  • The configuration of Project monitoring was shifted from the OpenLM Server configuration tool to the EasyAdmin web application.

  • Administrative capabilities have been added, such as Enabling / Disabling a project, assigning it a priority and expected duration, and marking the project’s completeness percentage.

  • Projects can now be assigned to user groups (not just to individual users), and

  • Can be introduced by end-users via the OpenLM Agent module.

OpenLM Broker

The OpenLM Broker has overgone important changes, enhancing its robustness and compatibility with a wide array of license managers. One of these changes is the implementation of buffers for Broker messages, providing the ability to overcome network connectivity failure.

Finally

we would like to thank our loyal customers for collaborating as beta sites for this new version. Your ever welcomed feedback has enabled us to publicize this product, and is constantly driving us toward improving our releases.

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Precedence for determining the Autodesk license server

General

The Autodesk network installation has several methods to determine the Autodesk License Manager. These are the

  • ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE environment variable
  • ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE registry key
  • LM_LICENSE_FILE variable
  • licpath.lic file and
  • License Finder dialog box configuration.

This document notes these methods, and clarifies their respective precedence:

1. ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE environment variable

When running an Autodesk software product that uses the FLEXlm based version of the Autodesk License Manager (AdLM), it first reads the environment variable ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE to determine where to look for its network license.

2. ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE registry key

If the servers specified by ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE are not available, or are out of concurrent licenses, the client reads a registry key to determine where to look next.

According to this article, the registry key is:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\FLEXlm License Manager\ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE

From our experience, the registry key is:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FLEXlm License Manager\ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE

3. LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable

Similar to the ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE environment variable, the LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable also points to a specific FlexLM license server. This variable It is common to all Flex enabled applications, so it is not recommended for use on a multi vendor environment.

4. licpath.lic file

The network installation creates a licpath.lic file. It is created on the client workstation for a client installation, and created in the run-tree folder on the server for a network heavy installation. The licpath.lic file must contain the following lines:
SERVER <Server name> <MAC address>
USE_SERVER

5. License Finder dialog box

If upon application bring-up all the above methods have failed to determine the location of the Autodesk license manager, The “FLEXlm License Finder” dialog box appears and states that:

“Your application was not able to obtain a license because the FLEXnet license server manager could not determine where to find the licensing data it needs”

Autodesk requires the user to either “Specify the License Server System” or “Specify the License File”. Select “Specify the License Server System” and click Next. The UI will prompt you to type in the Autodesk license manager location.

Notes

1. The dialog box configuration changes the ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE registry key, so it will take precedence over licpath.lic and LM_LICENSE_FILE. In order to return to those methods the ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE key would have to be deleted from the registry.

2. OpenLM interfaces the Autodesk FlexLM based license manager to provide real-time application usage metering and license usage statistics. It automatically optimizes license utilization for the benefit of users and license administrators alike.

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Software License Management: Best Practices

Forward

Software license management is an increasingly noteworthy subject in the business world today. Many companies find themselves facing software audits on a regular basis. Companies are forced to conduct internal software audits to ensure compliance as well as be prepared for external ones initiated by software vendors.

Continuous management of software licenses improve staff productivity, create resources savings and protect the company against potential fines for non-compliance. The matter is often overlooked by many companies due to the increasing complexity of license monitoring. Hence, IT teams only react when external audits occur.

Software for license control enable companies to save money by recycling unused licenses or redirecting them as required. In this context, it is appropriate to adopt a strategy for managing software licenses based on the following best practices.

1. Define a Software Management policy

Every company and organization should define and implement a license management policy that includes all software licenses supported and approved.   This policy must manage all of the software used, indicating in particular versions and supported platforms as well as the date of software expiration and the procedure to be followed in this case.

It is recommended to pass all requests for software purchase through the department head. It should also be clear that employees are not permitted to directly acquire software or download software from the Internet without permission.

2. Inform Management and Employees

Once the policy is defined it is essential to communicate the details to management and employees.

Successful implementation depends on the full understanding and participation of both management and employees in the process. The policy needs to set clear guidelines for compliance, implementing rules and discouraging offenders. It will also require performing regular self-assessment and performance reports.  In addition, training programs to inform staff of policies licenses and conditions of use approved software, should be made available.

3. Produce an inventory of all software

All installed software must be listed with their respective usage level. The IT team will make underused licenses available to other users and avoid unnecessary purchase of new licenses. Underutilized licenses may also suggest that the software training is not tailored to the needs of users or that a tool is obsolete.

4. Uninstall old applications

Companies should review their software portfolios annually and uninstall unused or redundant applications. It will save licensing costs, optimize staff productivity and improve functionality.

5. File software licensing agreements

Companies must maintain centralized documents relating to purchases of software, including license agreements. This repository will enable management of license purchase, cost evaluation, software depreciation, warranty information and support. There are technological solutions such as the OpenLM license monitoring tool, to automate the inventory of software licenses and registrations thus reducing the risk of manual errors.

6. Perform Regular checks

Companies performing regular checks and comparing licenses to installed software are able to demonstrate audit compliance. Effective inventory management relies on automatic license monitoring systems, which produce application usage metering reports to identify underused or overused licenses.

7. Use of latest approved versions

Only the latest approved versions must equip the user workstations. The implementation of automated processes and distribution facility patch programs is an effective and scalable method to keep systems up to date. Software asset audit should also indicate all installed versions and allow updating from older versions.

8. Implement policies to enforce compliance

Companies must remove obsolete software from computers even when the licensed software is installed on the computer replacement. Organizations can also have a blacklist of prohibited applications to prevent users from installing unapproved software. Automatic tools that regularly ensure license compliance are available on the market.

9. Make software license compliance a business strategy

License compliance software allows savings and maximizes productivity, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). This direct link facilitates the integration of compliance Software to broader strategic initiatives for asset management and lower TCO. License usage statistics sliced according to Users, Groups, Projects and Workstations is imperative for streamlining billing processes. The OpenLM license monitoring tool provides such reporting ability, hence is a good exemplar for such automated license monitoring tools.

10. Adapt to the users requirements

With the growing use of smartphones and touch pads, employees increasingly want to connect their personal devices to corporate systems. This trend “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) affects the way companies design their strategy may create a risk of users using software that is not supported.

Summary

Implementing comprehensive compliance license management software, including support for mobile devices, the IT team will have more time and resources to devote to other business requirements. Whether to monitor the use or distribution of software or to have visibility on all the software installed across the network, the automation of software compliance is a necessary step to save time and money.

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