How Does OpenLM TIMEOUT for ESRI ArcGIS works


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

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

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

How does it works?

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

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


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

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

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

The default OpenLM Values are:

Threshold – 80%
Maximum idle time – 20 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feature Licenses Users
ArcView         10        40
ArcInfo          10        20

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

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

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


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

ArcGIS Version 9.3 and Windows 7

Installing ESRI ArcGIS Version 9.3 on Windows 7 can be a frustrating task because of problem with the registry size limit.

We faced the problem after trying to install Autodesk Map 3D on a Windows 7 machine already running ArcGIS 9.3 and another with Microsoft Visual Studio and ArcGIS 9.3.

The Autodesk Autocad (With concurrent network license using FLEXlm) installation failed at the same point on both computers. Searching the Internet for this problem suggested that the problem is related to the registry size. A helpful thread that contains this information is located at

The symptoms of a full registry are:

  • Software installations on the machine fails without a clear error message (In our case it was: “Micro​soft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Failed Installation aborted, Result=1603” when we tried to install Autocad Map 3D 2011)).
  • Windows components appears empty at the “Turn Windows on or off” window.

The weird fact is that the installation of ESRI ArcGIS 9.3 is adding the registry limit.
After running the installation of ESRI ArcGIS the registry key is added to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\RegistrySizeLimit with a limited value.

Our guess is that it was probably added to enlarge the defaults for older windows versions. As far as we know this key was removed in the new versions (see here:

The solution is (running as administrator):

  • Open the Windows 7 Registry using the command: regedit
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control and locate the key: RegistrySizeLimit. Change its value to ffffffff (no limit) and then reboot the machine.
  • Run the command ” SFC /SCANNOW” on command line (with administrator rights)

This may solve many other Windows 7 problems as well.

ArcGIS 10 FLEXlm License Borrowing

The release of ESRI ArcGIS software version 10 also includes an upgrade of the FLEXlm license manager to release 11.6.1. This upgrade enables the support for the long awaited FLEXlm borrowing functionality that allows user to convert a floating (concurrent) license to a node locked license for a predefined period of time.The borrowing functionality is both an opportunity and a threat to the efficiency of license usage. Users can now take their tools to the field, gather the required information and edit it on-site. By that they can highly improve their efficiency.
On the other hand users may borrow licenses to network workstations, borrow licenses for no reason and other action that can highly reduce the usage efficiency of licenses. The tools provided by OpenLM for ESRI ArcGIS accompanied by a reasonable policy set by the management can help you avoid the risks of the FLEXlm license borrowing functionality.

This article describes the required steps to enable borrowing and how to use the borrowing functionality.

Enabling Borrowing (Done by Administrator)

Borrow settings are configured on License Manager’s machine.
Start –> ArcGis –> License Manager –> License Server AdministratorAllow Borrowing – Enable/Disable the functionality
Max Borrow Time – Set the minimum time possible. Very long borrowing periods can highly compromise the license usage efficiency.
Audit Log – The location of the log.

ArcGIS ScreenYour settings are stored in Registry a registry branch on your license server:

HKLM\Software\ESRI\ArcGIS License Manager 10.0

The following keys can be found:

When you click “Apply”, license is re-read (Equal to the lmutil lmreread command. The benefit of this command is that system administrators can make changes without stopping the FLEXlm service).

Using Borrowing (Done by the borrowing user)

At the workstation, borrowing action is done by using the “ArcGis Administrator” tool. The workstation has to be connected to the network while borrowing.

Start the ArcGIS Administrator by using:
Start –> ArcGIS –> ArcGis Administrator

Select the Borrow/Return tab.

The user needs to check the feature he wants to borrow

After borrow is confirmed, the borrowed feature will not be available to other users and the system will show the return date:

At the ESRI Audit.log (which location was defined at first step) you can find borrow details:

Using the lmutil lmstat command FLEXlm shows this output:

Users of Viewer:  (Total of 1 license issued;  Total of 1 license in use)

“Viewer” v10.0, vendor: ARCGIS
floating license

ACTIVATED LICENSE(S) olm-arcgis10 ACTIVATION (v10.0) ( 102), start Thu 8/12 15:15

In OpenLM Version 1.6 active products TAB:

With ESRI ARCGIS vendor daemon FLEXlm does not show the borrowing user, it writes the word “Activated License(s)”. Other software products that use FLEXlm report the user that actually borrowed the Feature.

Releasing the license back to the license pool

Releasing the license is easy. Make sure the machine is connected to the network, open ArcGIS Administrator and release the license. The license can be released even before the the target date.

If the borrowed FEATURE is not returned to the license pool by the user the borrowing will expire automatically on the due date and will be available to all network users.


ArcGIS Desktop version 10 features the long awaited feature of license borrowing. This functionality allows users to borrow licenses to their workstation and by that to convert a floating license to a node-locked license for a limited period of time. This functionality allows users to take their ArcGIS Desktop software to the field (ArcInfo, ArcEditor, ArcView). OpenLM for ESRI ArcGIS fully supports the borrowing functionality.

FLEXlm (FLEXnet) License borrowing and ArcGIS Desktop 9.4

ESRI says that they might support FLEXlm license borrowing in version 9.4 of ESRI ArcGIS Desktop. This borrowing functionality is already supported by many software systems licensed by FLEXlm. For example Autodesk supports this functionality for years now. The ESRI user community is waiting for this functionality for long and we hope that it will be included with version 9.4 of ArcGIS.

The borrowing functionality allows users to borrow a license from the license server for a predefined period of time. During this period the license will only be available on a specific workstation. The FLEXlm license server will have less licenses to serve until the license is returned back to the FLEXlm license pool. Borrowing is actually converting a floating license to a node locked license for a specific period of time.

The main use for the FLEXlm borrowing functionality is to take a license out to the field. For example, the worker needs the ArcInfo license in the field in order to collect information and show it to the customer. The user can use the “FLEXlm lmborrow utility” application to borrow the concurrent license (floating) from the network to his laptop computer. By doing that the license is temporary converted from a concurrent license to a node locked license and the worker is able to use the license on the field. At the end of the borrowing period the license will not be available on the laptop computer, it will be available again as a concurrent license on the network. The user can also return the license to the server before the end of the borrowing system.

The FLEXlm license borrowing functionality is a very useful functionality that allows user the flexibility to use the FLEXlm licensed software on mobile devices that are not connected to the network. The problem with this technology is that in many cases it is misused by users and by that reduce the usage efficiency of the whole company. Some examples:

  • A user borrows a FLEXlm license to his laptop computer but the actual usage during the borrowing period is minimal.
  • A user borrows a license from the FLEXlm license server to his personal workstation and by that, a floating license is converted to a node locked license.
  • A user borrows a license to a mobile device to a longer period then required. The user is now using two licenses, one for is network workstation and the other on the mobile device (The borrowed license).

The management of borrowed licenses can be done easily using OpenLM system functionality. The system displays borrowed licenses, borrowing date, return date and all other information needed in order to manage a FLEXlm server that allows license borrowing.

The system administrator can control license borrowing activity using the FLEXlm Option file. There are various options that allow the system administrator to limit the misuse of this functionality. The options are:

  • Set aside a specified number of licenses that cannot be borrowed.
  • Specify who can borrow licenses for a specific product.
  • Specify who cannot borrow licenses for a specific product.
  • Specify the maximum borrow period for a specific product.

OpenLM version 1.5.6 will allow system administrators to manage all these options and other FLEXlm Option file functionality using a convenient web based interface.

OpenLM for ESRI ArcGIS features a smart license release functionality that assures a very efficient usage of ESRI ArcGIS Desktop licenses. This functionality is also supported with FLEXlm servers that allow license borrowing. OpenLM for ESRI ArcGIS recognizes the reduction in the number of available license and provide the functionality for the updated number of licenses.

It is the responsibility of the system administrator to force a rational usage of the organization resources, in this case – the floating licenses. A misuse of this functionality can cause a bogus lack of licenses that can cause a purchase of unneeded licenses or a reduction of the company efficiency because of the lack of licenses. OpenLM 1.5.6 Option file edit interface allows the system administrator to easily enforce a policy that assures license availability for network users while allowing the flexibility of borrowing licenses to mobile devices when there is a need.

Please take into account that the ESRI ArcGIS version 9.4 was not released yet and the ESRI implementation of FLEXlm license borrowing may be slightly different from what we described here.