How a Company Got 20/20 Vision into their Engineering Software Licenses

Engineering software is generally very expensive, and most organizations enter perpetual license agreements that are based on the number of concurrent users, rather than buying a license per user. This can achieve considerable cost savings, but there are many companies that do not realise that there are even more savings to be had.

One of our customers, a US company that specializes in transportation and mobility solutions for the 21st century, were frustrated by the lack of visibility into how their engineering tools, which included ArcGIS and AutoCAD, were being used. The license management software provided by the vendors did not enable the license administrator to know whether licenses were booked out were actually being used. While it was important to know this at any time, it became especially important when other users were trying to check out licenses and were getting denied. What the system administrator needed was license management software that gave him real-time insights into what was happening, as well as comprehensive reporting which could be presented to management of how efficiently licenses were being managed.

After investigation and evaluation of software applications in the market that could offer a better solution than the vendor products, the company selected OpenLM. OpenLM’s core product contained all the features that were needed for effective license management. Once the product was implemented, the company was able to accomplish considerable time and cost savings. Idle licenses could be identified and harvested back into the license pool to prevent denials. This has resulted in an excellent ratio of three users per software license. Planning for license renewals is much easier, with detailed reporting available that analyses the current usage and indicates whether more licenses are needed or whether the pool can even be reduced. Another benefit is that only one license management tool is needed to manage the different software engineering products, instead of having to open a license manager for each product.

The case study can be downloaded here Transportation Experts Case Study 

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FLEXlm Timeout Settings

What is FLEXlm?

FLEXlm is a license manager that manages software used by multiple end users on different computers. Notably, it allows companies to take advantage of floating licenses. A system employing floating licenses has a license pool on a host server from which end users check out licenses. When a user finishes using a software license, it is checked back into the pool, now available for another user to check out.

Further information on FLEXlm

What is FLEXlm license timeout?

FLEXlm license timeout is a feature that releases inactive licenses back to the license pool. Licensed software is determined to be inactive when a machine is completely idle, meaning no mouse clicks, keystrokes, modal dialog boxes are occurring. Its timeout settings determines how long such a period continues before licenses are freed up.

How to set FLEXlm timeout

License timeout settings can be configured for some or all the features, and are configured in the FLEXlm option file.

Further information on option files

Individual license key timeout is set by entering the variable “timeout” followed by the timeout period (in seconds).

Example: Setting AutoCAD to be timed out in 108000 seconds (3 hours)

 timeout AutoCAD 108000

License timeout for all license keys in the system is set by the variable “timeoutall,” followed by the timeout period.

Example: Setting all licenses to be timed out after 30 minutes of inactivity

timeoutall 1800

Limitations on license timeout settings

It is important to note that software vendors often impose limitations on the timeout period for their products; specifically, the minimum amount of time of inactivity after which licenses can be freed up. For example, whereas Autodesk licenses can be released after 15 minutes of inactivity, MathWorks licenses can only be released after 4 hours.

Autodesk 900 sec (15 minutes)

MathWorks 14,400 seconds (4 hours)

IBM 7200 seconds (2 hours)

Application

Customizing FLEXlm timeout settings is simple way to improve the efficiency of your company’s licenses, ensuring that end users aren’t slowed down by waiting for inactive, locked-up licenses.

 

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FLEXnet Option Files Examples

What is FLEXnet publisher?

FLEXnet publisher (formerly known as FLEXlm) is a software license manager utilized by companies to manage software shared by different people on different workstations. With what are termed “floating licenses,” FLEXnet enables end users to draw and return software licenses from a license pool on a host server.

What is a FLEXnet option file?

An option file defines various operating parameters of the license manager.

Creating/Editing an option file

In order to create an option file, save a text document in the same folder as the license file. Next, the document the according to the name of the vendor, followed by the extension “.opt”

For example, an option file for Matlab will be named “mlm.opt”. Accordingly, option files for Autodesk and ESRI ArcGIS would be named “adskflex.opt” and “ARCGIS.opt,” respectively.

Allocating licenses to a specific user group

First, define a group with the keyword “GROUP,” followed by the name of the group, followed by the members of that group. Names are all case sensitive.

Example: A group called “Matlab_Users,” consisting of Billy, Jim, and Kim

GROUP Matlab_Users billy jim kim

Next, to select which licenses to allocate to that group, type the keyword “INCLUDE,” followed by the feature name, followed by the group name.

 Example: Allocating feature “Optimization Toolbox” to the group “Matlab_Users”

 INCLUDE MATLAB GROUP Matlab_Users

These two steps are combined:

GROUP Matlab_Users billy jim kim

INCLUDE MATLAB GROUP Matlab_Users

Limiting individuals or groups of users to a maximum number of licenses

In order to limit the usage of a feature by a group, first allocate the license to that group or individual as demonstrated above. Then, set a usage limit with the keyword “MAX,” followed by the name of the feature, followed by the group name.

Example: Limiting the max number of Autocad 2002 licenses used by group “Autocad_Users,” consisting of users Ronald and Lisa, to 7. (41100ACD_2002_OF is the name of the Autocad 2002 feature)

GROUP Autocad_Users ronald lisa

INCLUDE 41100ACD_2002_0F GROUP Autocad_Users

MAX 7 41100ACD_2002_0F GROUP Autocad_Users

Excluding access to specific features

Enter the keyword “EXCLUDE,” followed by the feature name, followed by group or individual being excluding.

Example: Excluding user Franklin from feature “Geosteering plug-in for Petrel 2013”

EXCLUDE OCEAN_SLB_SIM_GEOSTEERING franklin

Controlling license borrowing

To allow someone to borrow a feature, use keyword “BORROW,” followed by the name of the borrowed feature, followed by the user or group of users.

Example: Including users Bill and Sam in the list to borrow the feature Ansys Fluent

BORROW fluent bill sam

Alternately, to exclude someone from borrowing a feature, simply replace “BORROW” with “EXCLUDE_BORROW”

Example: Excluding users Bill and Sam from the list to borrow the feature Ansys Fluent

EXCLUDE_BORROW fluent bill sam

A “borrow lowwater” determines the number of licenses that must remain unused at any given time. Enter the keyword “BORROW_LOWWATER,” followed by the feature name, followed by the number of licenses that can’t be borrowed.

 Example: Setting a borrow lowwater for the feature autocad at 5

BORROW_LOWWATER autocad 5

To adjust how long a license feature can be borrowed, enter “MAX_BORROW_HOURS,” followed by the feature name, followed by the number of hours

Example: Maxing the number of hours a solidworks feature license can be borrowed for at 15 hours

MAX_BORROW_HOURS sldworks 15

Setting license timeout

FLEXlm license timeout is a feature that releases inactive licenses back to the license pool. Enter the keyword “TIMEOUT,” followed by name of the feature, followed by the time (in seconds) after which inactive licenses are released. To set a timeout for all features, simply enter “TIMEOUTALL,” followed by the time.

Example: Setting timeout for Matlab Database Toolbox for 14400 seconds (4 hours)

TIMEOUT Database_Toolbox 14400

Example: Setting a timeout for all licenses for 108000 (3 hours)

TIMEOUT  108000

The OpenLM Difference

OpenLM allows users to harness the full capability of option files using a unique graphical user interface. This interface dramatically simplifies the process of managing license parameters by allowing companies to use active directory groups to automatically generate option files.

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Application Note 1029: LDAP (Active Directory) Synchronization

General

The OpenLM Server is capable of synchronizing users and groups with an organization’s LDAP to combine license management, license statistics, and report extraction with other company information. LDAP synchronization provides automatic maintenance of Users’ and Groups’ data.

LDAP Synchronization holds many advantages, for different levels of decision makers in the organization. On an administrative and managerial standpoint, it can be applied for enforcing license usage permissions, implementing usage chargeback (usage billing), analysis of usage trends etc. Administrators may gain in automating FlexLM Option file management, thus streamlining FlexLM reporting. From the end-user point of view, this information may be applied to easily locate other users holding a required license.

The Groups synchronization functionality is part of the Users and Groups extension, and requires additional licensing.

Additional information

Please refer to the video tutorial section on the OpenLM site, for a demonstration of Active Directory synchronization.

Users and groups presentation

The Users and User groups which exist in the OpenLM Database are apparent in the EasyAdmin web application, in the Users and Groups windows respectively. Initially, upon installation of the OpenLM server, the Users and Groups windows are only populated by the logged user (e.g. ‘Orik’ – that’s me), the default ‘generaluser’ user, and the “OpenLM Users” default group.

The Active directory tab – Interfacing the LDAP

This tab is the OpenLM Server’s interface to LDAP (Active directory) synchronization. The 1st thing to do is to connect to the LDAP Database. Type in the LDAP server details:

  • Domain name: the IP Address of the server which is your organization’s domain controller (e.g: 102.101.100.106)

  • Username (e.g: administrator)

  • Password, and

  • LDAP server type: (e.g. “Active Directory”)

Click the ‘Check’ button, and receive an authentication status notification, as depicted below:

 

Organizations may have multiple domain controllers (for example, if different departments or subsidiary companies have their own servers for user authentication). In order to add a second server, select the row where the asterisk is shown above, and type in the data for the second server. In order to apply another synchronization rule to the same LDAP server, click the “Duplicate” button under the list of domain controllers.

Synchronizing Users

It is important to note that synchronizing to the LDAP is a tricky business. You may end up having taken in more users than you intended, and deleting users from the database is difficult. It is highly recommended to experiment on a separate database, NOT on the production database.

In order to synchronize user information:

  • Check the “Synchronize users” check-box. Other fields on the “Active directory” tab are activated.

  • Click the ‘Select’ button. The active directory browser opens.

  • Select a synchronization start node.In this example, We’ve selected an Organizational Unit (OU): OU_Test. Click ‘OK’ and the node path appears in the “Synchronization Start Node” text box. The LDAP would be synchronized from this node down.

 

  • Set the “Sync time interval” value. The value in this example states that the user details would be updated every 12 hours.
  • It is highly recommended to Check the “Sync only active users of licenses” in order to avoid adding users that do not actively use the application. New active users would be added to the list of users as they check out a license, and their LDAP details would be synchronized when the “Sync time interval” elapses.
  • Set the “Sync username attribute”.

    • “sAMAccountName” is good for Pre Windows server 2000 Active directory versions.

    • “userPrincipalName” is good for Post Windows server 2000 Active directory versions.

    • “cn”  should be used for any LDAP configuration other than “Active Directory”, i.e. “Novelle Directory” or “Apache DS” .

      The value of the selected field (sAMAccountName or userPrincipalName or cn) within the Active Directory would be applied as the user name recognized by OpenLM.

Synchronization of Groups

Check the “Synchronize groups” checkbox to enable a variety of options for associating users with groups in the OpenLM database, according to the data structure on the LDAP.

AD Groups:

This option goes through the list of users that populate the nodes beneath the selected node. The “AD Groups” selection should be used carefully, because it may introduce a large amount of undesired groups. This is because users who are members of groups within the selected node may also be members of groups from beyond that node, resulting in additional introduction of these external groups.

Attribute:

OpenLM groups may be created according to specific attributes their members may have. In order to do that, select the “Attribute” radio button, and pick up a suitable attribute from the adjacent drop-down list of attributes. Examples for attributes are: “Division”, “Employee ID”, “Initials” or “Cost center”. Type in a Regex expression that would articulate the required attribute.

Fixed:

This option enables the administrator to associate a particular group name to all users of a specific node within the AD tree. The ‘Fixed’ name typed in the textbox is the group name of the users that would consequently be synchronized in this method.

OUs (organizational units):

This option is in use by organizations that have an organizational hierarchy represented in the LDAP; for example departments nested inside divisions. By selecting the OU synchronization method:

  • Users would be introduced into groups in the OpenLM database. These groups would be named after the LDAP OUs under which the users have been created.

  • If the “Add full hierarchy” checkbox is ticked, the entire OU hierarchy tree descending from the start node would be introduced as groups in the OpenLM database. OUs in which no users have been defined in the LDAP, would be presented in OpenLM as empty groups.

  • If the “Add full hierarchy” checkbox is not ticked, OpenLM would flatly create groups named after the LDAP OUs, and populate these groups by the users which have been defined under these OUs. No empty groups would be created.

Case study

In order to demonstrate the different group synchronization methods, I have created the following OU structure, and enabled all users. Note that Users U_A1 & U_AB2 are members of more than one group:

Case 1: Synchronize users only

Procedure: OU_AB was selected as the start node.

Outcome: All Users were synchronized. No Groups or OUs synchronized.

Case 2: Synchronize AD Groups (1)

Procedure: OU_AB was selected as the start node.

Outcome: All groups and users beneath OU_AB were synchronized. The Hierarchical tree was not preserved.

Case 3: Synchronize AD Groups (2)

Procedure: OU_B was selected as the start node.

Outcome:

  • Users B1 & AB2 have been synchronized.
  • Group B1 was synchronized.
  • Group A1 was synchronized, with only user AB2.

Case 4: Synchronize AD Groups (3)

Procedure: OU_A was selected as the start node.

Outcome: Mirror image of the previous case:

  • Users A1, A2, A3 & AB2 were synchronized.
  • Groups  A1, A2, A3 & B1 were synchronized. Group B1 only contains user AB2.

Case 5: Fixed

Procedure: Start node = OU_A. The “Fixed” name was named “The_A_Team”.

Outcome: All of OU_A’s users were gathered in “The_A_Team” group.

Case 6: Attribute

Reminder: Users A1 & B1 are the only users to have been defined owning “division” attributes with the value “my_division” (See LDAP diagram).

Procedure: OU_AB was selected as the start node. The “Attribute” synchronization method was chosen. The ‘division’ attribute with the value “my_division” was configured in the Active directory configuration form.

Outcome: All Users in OU_AB were synchronized. Users A1 & B1 were gathered in the “my_division” group.

Case 7: OU

Procedure: OU_AB was selected as the start node. “Add Full Hierarchy” was not checked.

Reminder: Users  AB1 & B1 were created under the OU_AB Operational Unit. All other users, i.e. A1, A2, A3, AB2 were created under OU_A.

Outcome: All users under OU_AB were synchronized. OpenLM has flatly created groups named OU_AB, and OU_A. Each of these two groups contain the users which have been created under the respective LDAP’s OUs:

  • Group “OU_AB” contains the users AB1 & B1 (see image below).
  • Group “OU_A” contains all other users, i.e. A1, A2, A3, AB2.

Case 8: OU (2)

Procedure: OU_AB was selected as the start node. “Add Full Hierarchy” was checked.

Outcome: This time the OU hierarchy was preserved, so OU_A and OU_B appear under OU_AB. The users are again grouped according to the position in which they were created:

  • Group “OU_AB” contains the users AB1 & B1.
  • Group “OU_A” contains all other users, i.e. A1, A2, A3, AB2 (see image below).
  • Group “OU_B” is empty.

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AutoDesk FlexNet feature codes, March 2012

Feature codes

FlexNet (FlexLM) uses a predefined set of codes in order to manage multiple licensed Features. Each of these features is given a unique code, by which FlexNet grants license requests, and keeps track of the license pool.

OpenLM Also makes use of these feature codes during FlexLM reporting in order to monitor and optimize Autodesk license usage. As versions progress and features are added, the code tables need constant updating. The following is a complete list of AutoDesk codes, updated to March 2012. It was taken from Autodesk’s official site.

Autodesk code table

AutoCAD 2013 85871ACD_2013_0F
AutoCAD Architecture 2013 85883ARCHDESK_2013_0F
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 85976CIV3D_2013_0F
AutoCAD Design Suite Premium 2013 85969DSPRM_2013_0F
AutoCAD Design Suite Standard 2013 85970DSSTD_2013_0F
AutoCAD Design Suite Ultimate 2013 85971DSADV_2013_0F
AutoCAD ecscad 2013 85889ECSCAD_2013_0F
AutoCAD Electrical 2013 85890ACAD_E_2013_0F
AutoCAD for Mac 2013 85989ACDMAC_2013_0F
AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite 2013 85958INVLTS_2013_0F
AutoCAD LT 2013 85872ACDLT_2013_0F
AutoCAD LT Civil Suite 2013 85991ACDLTC_2013_0F
AutoCAD LT for Mac 2013  86021ACDLTM_2013_0F
AutoCAD Map 3D 2013 85981MAP_2013_0F
AutoCAD Map 3D Enterprise 2013 85982MAP3DE_2013_0F
AutoCAD Mechanical 2013 85885AMECH_PP_2013_0F
AutoCAD MEP 2013 85887BLDSYS_2013_0F
AutoCAD P&ID 2013 85977PNID_2013_0F
AutoCAD Plant 3D 2013 85978PLNT3D_2013_0F
AutoCAD Raster Design 2013 85952ARDES_2013_0F
AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite 2013 85954REVITS_2013_0F
AutoCAD Revit MEP Suite 2013 85955REVSYP_2013_0F
AutoCAD Revit Structure Suite 2013 85957REVSU_2013_0F
AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2013 85943STRDET_2013_0F
AutoCAD Utility Design 2013 86027UTLDESN_2013_0F
Autodesk 360 Vault Collaboration 2013 85983VLTC_2013_0F
Autodesk 360 Vault Collaboration AEC 2013 85984VTCAEC_2013_0F
Autodesk 360 Vault Office 2013 85986PCOFFI_2013_0F
Autodesk 360 Vault Professional 2013 85987VLTM_2013_0F
Autodesk 360 Vault Workgroup 2013 85988VLTWG_2013_0F
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 858923DSMAX_2013_0F
Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2013 85893MAXDES_2013_0F
Autodesk 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2013 85918MXECSP_2013_0F
Autodesk 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suite Standard 2013 85920MXECS_2013_0F
Autodesk Alias Automotive 2013 85881AUTOST_2013_0F
Autodesk Alias Design 2013 85896DESNST_2013_0F
Autodesk Alias Surface 2013 85895SURFST_2013_0F
Autodesk Animation Academy 2013 85922AAA_2013_0F
Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium 2013 85946BDSPRM_2013_0F
Autodesk Building Design Suite Standard 2013 85947BDSS_2013_0F
Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate 2013 85948BDSADV_2013_0F
Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2013 Exclusives 86043ECSPE_2013_0F
Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Standard 2013 Exclusives 86044ECSSE_2013_0F
Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate 2013 85926ENCSU_2013_0F
Autodesk Factory Design Suite Premium 2013 85965FDSPRM_2013_0F
Autodesk Factory Design Suite Standard 2013 85966FDSS_2013_0F
Autodesk Factory Design Suite Ultimate 2013 85967FDSADV_2013_0F
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite for Education 2013 85974ESCSE_2013_0F
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Premium 2013 85992IDSP_2013_0F
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Standard 2013 85993IDSS_2013_0F
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Ultimate 2013 85994IDSU_2013_0F
Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server 2013 86014IMS_2013_0F
Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2013 86013INFMDR_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor 2013 85998INVNTOR_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor Factory Premium 2013 85999INVFPR_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor Factory Ultimate 2013 86000INVFAD_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor LT 2013 86004INVLT_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor OEM 2013 86002INVOEM_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor Professional 2013 86001INVPROSA_2013_0F
Autodesk Inventor Publisher 2013 85979INVPUB_2013_0F
Autodesk Maya 2013 85857MAYA_2013_0F
Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2013 85928MYECSP_2013_0F
Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite Standard 2013 85930MYECS_2013_0F
Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013 85936MOBPRO_2013_0F
Autodesk Mudbox 2013 85869MBXPRO_2013_0F
Autodesk Navisworks Manage 2013 86022NAVMAN_2013_0F
Autodesk Navisworks Simulate 2013 86023NAVSIM_2013_0F
Autodesk Plant Design Suite Premium 2013 85995PDSPRM_2013_0F
Autodesk Plant Design Suite Standard 2013 85996PLTDSS_2013_0F
Autodesk Plant Design Suite Ultimate 2013 85997PDSADV_2013_0F
Autodesk Product Design Suite for Education 2013 85961ESME_2013_0F
Autodesk Product Design Suite Premium 2013 85962PDSP_2013_0F
Autodesk Product Design Suite Standard 2013 85964PDSS_2013_0F
Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate 2013 85963PDSU_2013_0F
Autodesk Quantity Takeoff 2013 86024AQTO_2013_0F
Autodesk Revit 2013 85950RVT_2013_0F
Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013 85862REVIT_2013_0F
Autodesk Revit Structure 2013 85866REVITST_2013_0F
Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis 2013 86005RSA_2013_0F
Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2013 85975RSAPRO_2013_0F
Autodesk Showcase 2013 85956SHOWCASE_2013_0F
Autodesk Showcase Professional 2013 85949SHOWPRO_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 86025SCFD_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Advanced 86028SCFDA_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Connection for ACIS 86045SCACIS_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Connection for NX 86030SCFDNX_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Connection for Parasolid 86047SCFDP_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Connection for Pro/E 86032SCPROE_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Design Study Environment 86034SCDSE_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation CFD 2013 Motion 86036SCFDM_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation DFM 2013 86056SIMDFM_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013 85940ASMES_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Adviser Premium 2013 86006MFAM_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Adviser Standard 2013 86008MFAD_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Adviser Ultimate 2013 86007MFAA_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow CAD Doctor 2013 86009MFCD_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Design Link 2013 86010MFDL_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Insight Premium 2013 86038MFIP_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Insight Standard 2013 86042MFIB_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Insight Ultimate 2013 86040MFIA_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Moldflow Synergy 2013 86012MFS_2013_0F
Autodesk Simulation Multiphysics 2013 85942ASPRO_2013_0F
Autodesk SketchBook Designer 2013 85990ALSK_2013_0F
Autodesk Softimage 2013 85934SFTIM_2013_0F
Autodesk Softimage Entertainment Creation Suite Standard 2013 85932SIECS_2013_0F
mental ray Standalone 2013 86019MRSTND_2013_0F

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How do I know the FlexLM license manager port number ?

OpenLM employs the Flexnet / FlexLM reporting mechanism to monitor and optimize concurrent license usage, and obtain license statistics. The FlexLM license manager interfaces licensed applications via predefined ports. You can verify that a port number is set correctly by:

1. Using Flexera’s LMTOOL utility: Select the “Server Status” tab, and click the “Perform Status inquiry” button. the port number would appear on the line that begins with “License server status:” e.g.:

License server status: 27000@My_server

2. You can also find the server name and port number (If defined as static) directly in the license file, in the SERVER line e.g.:

SERVER <ServerName> <hostId> <PortNumber>

USE SERVER

The path and name of the license file is set in the LMTOOLS, under the “Config Services” tab.

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OpenLM Version 1.8 Preview

The upcoming OpenLM release version 1.8 is a major milestone in the development process of the OpenLM license management system. This version has been in preparation since October 2011, when version 1.7 was released, and is expected to be officially released by the end of 2012.

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

Version 1.8 also integrates some 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.

Database manipulation

Version 1.8 enhances the administrator’s capabilities to manipulate the OpenLM database:

  • Archive or delete old data,

  • Extract irrelevant users, delete unnecessary groups, or even

  • Use multiple OpenLM servers on a single Database. This is a prerequisite for providing support for cloud – computing license management environments.

EasyAdmin

Many changes have been made to the EasyAdmin administrative interface, making the presentation of usage reports more efficient, robust and better designed. Here are some of these enhancements:

  • Support of the Apple Safari Browser
  • License Expiration date filtering
  • License Manager Up-time logging
  • Improvements in License usage reporting (e.g: Flexnet / FlexLM reporting).
  • Improvements Feature usage reporting: accessible from every workstation.

Packages

Software packages are automatically recognized, and populated by the software product  which are members  of these packages.

User Group monitoring

The group monitoring tool would be integrated into OpenLM v1.8, and enhance OpenLM’s ability to provide clear group-related license statistics.

Support of new 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 already incorporates the support of FlexLM / Flexnet, Sentinel RMS (Aspentech SLM), DSLS, IBM LUM, Sentinel HASP, LM-X (Altair), Reprise RLM, Beta LM, Mathematica LM (MathLM), and Easycopy, and the list is constantly expanding.

Version 1.8 has seen the addition of Beta-LM, Mathematica LM (MathLM), and DSLS. In addition to that, support of some license management tools was enhanced, for example – the IBM_LUM license manager has been added expiration date and license denial indications.

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Flexera FLEXnet license management implementation in ESRI ArcGIS 10

Licensing ArcGIS version 10

It is a common misconception that migrating to ArcGIS version 10 replaces the licensing software. This is incorrect; ESRI has only upgraded the old FLEXlm version to a newer one. The FLEXlm licensing software has gone through many changes during the passed several years, and is now called FLEXera FLEXnet for publishers. For every practical term – it is still the same good old FLEXlm software.

The main changes

The main changes that have been implemented in the ESRI ArcGIS licensing scheme include:

  • The FLEXlm (Flexnet) license management tool was upgraded from version 7.* to version 11.6.
  • The license file was replaced with trusted storage, in order to enhance security.
  • The FLEXlm LMTOOLS UI is not provided with the ESRI ArcGIS 10 package. ESRI provides it’s own management tools.
  • Borrowing licenses is made possible in ESRI ArcGIS 10.

Problems

Some problems have appeared in FlexLM reporting alongside these changes:

  • Due to the use of FLEXera trusted storage some imporant FLEXlm management tools are malfunctioning, for example, lmutil.
  • The FlexLM ‘lmremove’ utility has been omitted from the pool of license management commands. This is a known ESRI ArcGIS version 10 issue.
  • ArcGIS 10 monitors Borrowed licenses on its proprietary interface. The license output file tends to be inaccurate when it comes to reporting Borrowed licenses. The Identity of the users who borrowed licenses is also concealed from the output file.

Effect of these issues on OpenLM

These issues have imposed several limitations on the capabilities of OpenLM when interfacing ESRI ArcGIS 10.

  • Instead of the old ‘linger’ license output-file line, Borrowed licenses are marked with the “ACTIVATED LICENSE” line. These lines’ syntax excludes the identity of the user who borrowed the licenses.
  • The output-file lmutil lmstat information regarding license borrowing is inaccurate; “ACTIVATED LICENSE” lines are multiplied, effectively increasing the number of licenses reported as borrowed.
  • The absence of the “lmremove” utility implies that the ArcGIS license can not be removed, thus application the use of the “Suspend and Resume” method is not possible in OpenLM. Also, for the same reason, the “License removal” button in the “Active products” window is not functional.

The OpenLM Advantage

The OpenLM Active Agent may still “Save and Close” the ArcGIS 10 extension enabled application. This is regardless of the omission of the “lmremove” command. The closure process employs the applications’ own closure APIs, sent by the Active Agent, and applied by the OpenLM extension. Closing ArcGIS 10 may also be done via the “Close Application” button on EasyAdmin’s “Active Products” window.

This makes OpenLM the only solution for remotely saving & closing ArcGIS 10.

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