Autodesk network to subscription licenses, plan your way

Autodesk is determined to move all its customers from using the network licensing model to a subscription or named user model. It is important that a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis is done before deciding what action to take, even if top management is pressurizing for a resolution to the situation.

While the network model is generally better for most organizations, there is  no one-size-fits-all answer to the dilemma, some companies might even benefit from switching to the named user model.

What would be a good methodology to consider the switch? We could apply a two-stage process.

Stage One, Identify your Baseline.

  1. Know your current maintenance costs.
  2. Count the number of unique users that you currently have
  3. Multiply the subscription cost by the number of users to understand what your annual cost will be.

Compare the price per year. If the subscription cost is higher than the current perpetual cost, refuse to upgrade. The difference you see now is the MINIMAL amount of money you can save!

If the subscription cost is equal to or lower than the current perpetual cost, move to the next stage that is checking if you currently utilize your license correctly and that you have not been missing out on potential savings.

Based on our experience, depending on the efforts one is willing to invest it is possible to get 100% more usage from the existing license pool, sometimes more. This would mean that you could decrease your licensing costs by 50% or more. In order to achieve this, you will need to have a software tool that will help you to optimize your license usage. The better the software you employ, the higher savings you will achieve.

Stage Two: Identify Where You can Optimize Usage
There are two main areas that require attention:-

  • your license server configuration
  • how both dedicated and network licenses are being utilized

License servers – the more license servers you have, the less optimized your configuration. License server consolidation is one of the most efficient ways to improve access to license pools. In the case of multi-nationals, it is not always possible to consolidate all the servers into a single centralized pool, because the licensing agreements were entered into with regional subsidiaries or partners of Autodesk and they are treated as separate entities. Even so, there will be at least a few consolidations possible, which has additional benefits in that the number of license servers is reduced and the complexity of managing the licenses is reduced as well.

Current License Utilization – Dedicated Licenses

A comprehensive audit of which licenses are being used and by whom is the next step. In the previous step we paid attention to the concurrent license pools. There is a good possibility that there are quite a few dedicated licenses on site. Sometimes granting a user a dedicated license makes sense, where that user spends most of their time using AutoCAD or Revit, for example. What often happens is that a dedicated or named user license was obtained for a short-term need, like a special project, and the user no longer uses it to the extent that a dedicated license is necessary. Going forward, such users can access licenses from the concurrent pool. As you are still evaluating whether subscription licenses will work for you, you should leave these licenses as is for now, bearing in mind the cost savings of dispensing with them.

Current License Utilization – Network Licenses

Once the license pools have been reconfigured, it is time to check what the actual utilization looks like. Data must be gathered on:-

  • Who is consuming the license?
  • On which workstation is it being used?
  • Where there are several software versions, which license is being used?
  • What time of day is the license being used, which aids in understanding usage peaks and troughs?
  • How long is the license session between access and release of the license?

If you are relying on Autodesk’s license manager software, you may find that this information is not readily available to you. This is where a dedicated license management software tool becomes useful. When you want to take the next step and start optimizing usage, the tool will quickly become worth its weight in gold.

However, just by using the basic information you have gathered, you will have identified areas for further investigation, such as:-

  • Should a user have access and why are they using the software? Maybe they just need a viewer to see a drawing, they are not actually drafting or designing
  • Why is the server underutilized?
  • Why are you getting denials when the server is not being heavily utilized?
  • Are users who book out a license for the whole day actually using the tool all day, or is it idle most of the time?
  • Are there users who do not release the software when they are finished, they keep it booked out overnight.

Autodesk’s license manager will definitely not give you all this information. You need a tool like OpenLM’s License Parser to understand what is really happening. Below is an example of reporting on license utilization from one of OpenLM’s customers.

AutoCAD license utilization

 

AutoCAD license utilization at an OpenLM customer

This chart shows how the licenses are utilized realtime. You can see from this graph that, although 70 licenses have been purchased, this could be reduced to 30 licenses without any significant change in quality of service.

First Conclusions

By this stage, you will already have a clearer view on whether subscription licenses are cost-effective for your organization. You might already find that the costs outweigh the benefits. This is even before you have started on your license optimization. You might even have identified that the pros and cons are pretty evenly balanced at this stage. It is premature to decide at this stage. We recommend that you implement some changes that will optimize utilization of your license pool(s) further. Once you have done this, you will get a clear view of your Autodesk license future.

Some Changes that will Reduce License Waste

The changes described below require targeted reporting to implement them. You will not be able to extract this data from your Autodesk license manager. The cost savings that you will achieve will more than pay for good license management software that is written to satisfy the customer’s needs rather than the vendor’s requirements.

Introduce Chargebacks

If you do not charge licensing costs back to the respective business units that use the licenses, even your best managers are pretty relaxed about usage. Start charging back to cost centers and see how things change. The license costs will affect the bottom line for most managers, and they will start monitoring usage and cutting down on unnecessary use. You will be able to make this easier for them by providing reporting on idle licenses within their cost centre, which is part of the next change.

Actively Manage Idle Licenses

If you have not been able to manage idle licenses before, you will find that most users are very lax about checking a license back when they are not using it. You need reporting that will alert you to idle licenses. You can either “harvest” these licenses manually, or automate harvesting to occur after a certain elapsed number of idle minutes. Below are several reports available in OpenLM on idle licensing, from selected customer sites.

 idle licenses

List of idle licenses and elapsed time

It is easy to see from the display above which licenses need to be reclaimed. You also have the option to close the application or just remove the license. It may occur that you have a peak period and licenses are in short supply. You may decide to close the licenses for a low priority group to free them for another group who have top priority. However, this is not necessary in this case; here are 10 licenses you can harvest right away:-

 

license idle for over an hour

Licenses that have been idle for over an hour

You can even interrogate usage on a per license basis. Here is an example below.

interrogate license usage
The effect of harvesting is that your actual licensing utilization will drop quite dramatically. You will now be getting a far more accurate picture of your Autodesk license requirements. By now you should have discovered that you have more network licenses than you need for the actual current usage, like our customers who had 70 licenses but only needed 30. You might even have discovered “shelf” licenses, licenses that are completely unused, but you are still renewing the license and maintenance agreements for them. You will also have identified serial offenders who “hog” licenses and can apply some change management.

You are now ready to make an evaluation of whether you should move to Autodesk subscription licenses or not.

Will Subscription Licenses Work for Us? Some Assumptions

  1. There is huge industry pushback on the move to subscription licenses. We are not alone.
  2. The different features and products that are available in the subscription do not affect the decision-making process, we are deciding at vendor level.
  3. We would like to keep the same service level we have now.
  4. This was a preliminary exercise. We can optimize even further.
  5. There might be a case for a few subscription licenses (e.g. full-time draughtsmen)

With the data we have collected from our investigation, we can make an informed and objective decision on whether adopting subscription licenses and retiring concurrent licenses will work for us or not.

 network licenses compared to subscription

Graphical analysis of network licenses compared to subscription

  • In the graph above, the blue line is the named license requirement, where each user needs a subscription. This is a one-to-one relationship and creates a 45% angle.
  • The red line is the best case for concurrent license utilization. Some customers have even achieved a ratio of 1:5 licenses/users, but the average is probably 1:1.5
  • The orange line is a more realistic adjusted network license utilization.
  • Both the red and orange lines will be unique to your organization.
  • The saving exists in the area between the blue and the orange lines and is represented by the green arrow.

What are Autodesk offering?

The subscription option is not cheap- the solution is a package with multiple products, which you may not need and is almost €4000 per user. Even the discounted cost per user for 5 years is almost €15 000.

Subscription multi user – This is a subscription option where the user does not log in using his login credentials (user name and password), but logs in via the network and the license manager authenticates him,which is more flexible than the named user alternative.

Keeping your network licenses – Autodesk is increasing your maintenance costs over the next few years, which will erode the value of your concurrent pool – if you decide to continue paying maintenance costs. The original license purchase is a sunk cost and does not affect the calculation.

Market Forecast

Another factor that is vital in your considerations is your projections on your organization’s growth over the next few years.

Optimistic Scenario

The company will continue to perform well, new projects will come in regularly and we will need more licenses to support our growth. We have the following options:-
Subscription – we will need to buy subscription per user. – no other options
Network – squeeze more usage out of the existing license server (possible!!) OR buy some additional subscriptions.

Pessimistic Scenario

Economy is depressed -the company has lost projects, needs to scale back and needs less licenses –
Subscription – In the first three years, giving up any license will cause a loss of the discount benefit on subscriptions. After the first three years, giving up subscriptions has no effect.
Network – can reduce the usability and keep for better times and consider stopping maintenance in the short-term.

Other Considerations

You need some additional modules that are included in the latest industry package or the “one” Autodesk, but not in your current agreement. In this case consider buying a few subscriptions, without changing tour network pool.

What Most Customers have Told us

We stayed with our network agreement and purchased few subscriptions by swapping a few concurrent licenses to take advantage of the discount. We now have the benefit of having a hybrid license environment. We allocated the named licenses to a handful of power users and let the majority of users rely on the network licenses – we still have the benefit of the concurrent pool which costs less because of the licenses we converted to subscription licenses.

Even with a clear view of your actual current usage, this is not an easy decision to make, which is why most customers have hedged their bets by opting for a hybrid model.

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Managing Autodesk Licenses Effectively

Optimizing license usage is often overlooked at engineering companies, even when trying to contain costs in the IT budget. When times are tough, this is a quick and easy way to reduce costs. Even when the orders are rolling in, there is no need to spend money on licenses that are surplus to your requirements. Many of OpenLM’s customers have used our license management software to trim down their license portfolio of excess licenses, especially licenses from the Autodesk family.

The recent changes made by Autodesk to their licensing policy going forward have made it even more critical for customers to keep a tight control over their Autodesk license usage.

While Autodesk provide the Flexera license manager to customers, which does provide some information of how licenses are being used within the company, it has been designed from the vendor’s viewpoint of ensuring compliance. To get the transparency and control that every license administrator needs, a customer-centric software product is needed. OpenLM was originally designed by license managers who worked at a site that made extensive use of ArcGIS , and had the same challenges. Their success in building software that helped companies manage ESRI licenses next expanded to helping Autodesk customers with their AutoCAD, Revit and other software.

The  License Administrator’s Wishlist

The license manager needs deep insights into how any vendor’s licenses are utilized. This is needed on a daily basis for optimizing usage, periodically for management reporting and annually or on demand to plan and forecast license requirements for the next year or for an anticipated project. This is rarely available to the extent needed using a vendor’s license management tool, and it is recommended that license management software that is vendor-agnostic is investigated. The features that a good license management package should provide include:-

  • Visibility into license usage on at least a minute-by-minute basis
  • Minimising license denials to users
  • Easy identification of idle licenses
  • The ability to “harvest” idle licenses, either automatically or manually
  • Messaging options to inform users of license availability where they were denied
  • The ability to see a consolidated view of licenses where there are multiple pools and named users
  • Comprehensive reporting that can be used for management reporting to management
  • Financial reporting on usage across the organization  that supports chargebacks to cost centers and projects, based on their usage
  • Forecasting to indicate a need to purchase or dispense with licenses, both on a regular basis and for annual license renewals or new projects
  • A graphical interface that allows the license administrator to manage licenses for a product without having to log in to the vendor’s product to make changes.

To really understand and test for these features, the software should be evaluated on a trial basis. OpenLM is confident that they provide all these features for Autodesk  software products as well as thousands of other engineering software tools.

The Daily License Challenge

Most engineering software can be bought under a concurrent or network user model, which enables the company to buy the minimum of licenses needed to satisfy user demand. The license administrator has to perform a balancing act between keeping his users happy and productive by always having licenses available, while managing the license pool effectively and avoiding further purchases.

To do this, he needs to manage idle licenses. Users have a tendency to book out licenses at the start of day and not return them until the end of day, even when they are away attending meetings or on-site. Some users also will hang on to their licenses overnight, so that they do not need to book them out again when they come into work the next morning.

The license administrator needs to be able to take control over idle licenses and “harvest” them, releasing them back into the pool. The amount of time that a license is allowed to remain idle and whether the session is saved or not will depend on the individual requirements of the company and should have a defined policy and business rules.

He also needs an early warning system that licenses are being denied (although angry users phoning in will happen in any case). OpenLM, with their knowledge of what it is like to be in the driver’s seat, have built these features for Autodesk customers:-

  • License denial reporting
  • Real-time reporting on usage
  • Reporting on inactive, hanging or otherwise unavailable licenses
  • The ability to harvest idle and unused licenses and release them back into the pool
  • The option to suspend, save or terminate an idle session
  • The ability to automatically notify users who were denied that a license is now available for them
  • Distinguishing between “true” denials and denials where the software was available and booked out shortly after the denial
  • Extensions and other aids that allow the license administrator to build business rules, add alerts or otherwise customise OpenLM to fit the customer’s environment

The provision of all these features makes idle license management a breeze. For customers like Array Architects, they were able to confirm their suspicions that users were not releasing their software at and of day, and could now release all those licences, so that the entire pool was available at the start of the next business day.

Feedback and Reporting

OpenLM has fine-tuned the management of Autodesk software products to second-by-second visibility. Reports showing usage statistics, daily peaks and troughs of user demand and usage by group are all standard. There is also an extension that enables the license administrator to create custom reports.  Anything that needs to be known about AutoCAD licenses or any other Autodesk product can be reported on.

  • Consolidated views of multiple license servers, user groups is enabled
  • Heat maps and graphs on license usage come standard with the application
  • Forecasting for renewals is available
  • Financial reporting for chargebacks based on usage is a standard feature
  • Accurate reporting on usage, that can be compared against Autodesk’s calculations.

These reports can demonstrate to the executive how well license optimization is progressing, as well as quantifying cost savings and ROI. Many of our customers have achieved an ROI in under three months of use.  

Going Forward

The determination of Autodesk to discontinue all network licenses and offer only subscription licenses in the future is a headache for most customers who have a considerable investment in Autodesk products and use concurrent licensing to get the best value for their money.  Every organization will have to do an evaluation of what a conversion to subscription licenses will cost them and whether they should go ahead with the change while the discounted price is still available. OpenLM provides the intelligence to make a decision based on an accurate assessment of the situation.

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Finding a pot of gold in your software license portfolio

A substantial part of the budget of any company is taken up by IT, especially in engineering, healthcare and scientific organizations. For this reason, most CFOs scrutinize any capex or opex emanating from the IT division. One of the recurring costs that is laid out there in black and white will be for software licensing. The CFO will be unhappy about this ever-increasing cost, but regards it as an important part of compliance; after all, he does not want to be subject to a software audit that finds the company has compromised their license agreement and are now subject to a punitive fine. The number of licenses purchased and how efficiently they are used is rightly regarded as the CIO’s responsibility.

The CIO’s Challenge

The CIO, in turn, does his best to optimize license usage, by buying concurrent user licenses where possible and then monitoring that these licenses are used as efficiently as possible. However, if he is relying on the license management software provided by the vendor, the visibility of what is really happening is limited; the software is provided to help the vendor monitor usage, rather than the customer. Some organizations  that have never paid much attention to engineering and scientific software licensing costs, especially where licenses are acquired for every project and those costs are passed on to the customer. In these organizations, the licenses are often not under the control of IT, but are looked after by the relevant engineering department or project.

This does not mean that there are not IT shops who actively monitor and report on their concurrent licenses, but good license management results in demonstrable cost savings, and the CIO will obviously not downplay his success in cost reduction. There will also be readily available reports, which the CFO should take the time to understand.

Are The Cost of Engineering Licenses Often Overlooked?

The CFO is aware of licensing costs. After all the company usually has ERP, accounting and human capital software with which he is closely involved, as well as general office software, such as Microsoft Office, and will probably have several cloud-based applications like SalesForce. For these software products he has a close involvement in the licensing and renewals, but they tend to be on a per-seat or per user basis. This might be why so many CFOs leave money on the table when it comes to engineering software. The CFO will question the acquisition of new hardware, such as a high-spec laptop for the engineering department, but accept that new licenses need to be loaded on to the laptop. The fact that these licenses can cost far more than the laptop is often missed.

What a CFO can do to Mitigate these Costs

Tracking licensing costs for scientific and engineering software is a very labor-intensive task, especially if done manually. A diplomatic first step to get the information required, would be to request a new set of reports that show the number of licenses purchased, in use and the level of their utilization. There will probably be some resistance from the CIO, mainly because these values are very difficult if not impossible to determine using the vendor-supplied software. Any arguments can be countered by conceding that a reasonable budget will be allocated for getting the right software to do the job, but that this must be done as soon as possible. By showing empathy and understanding of the problem, there is no implication that the CIO has neglected to look after his licenses. It might even be the case that he has no control over these licenses, because the engineers buy and manage them directly.

Where this is the case, there may need to be some additional work to bring the license back under IT’s management. Whatever the situation, the reporting will be an eye-opener.

Finding the Money

There are three main sources of unnecessary spending or “waste” on licenses:-

  • unused licenses, or “shelfware”.
  • single-user or named user licenses that are only used occasionally
  • a concurrent or network license pool with poor utilization.

Shelfware. Unused licenses are commonly found where a set of new licenses was procured for a new project, and the project is now completed or the phase of the project where they were needed has passed. What tends to happen with these licenses is that license renewals are entered into without checking that they are needed. These licenses can immediately be dispensed with, you have enough licenses without them.

Single-User Licenses. It is often valid to purchase a single-user license for a resource who uses the software daily and for most of the day. However, there needs to be real justification for retaining them, rather than assigning the user to the concurrent user pool and freeing up the license, to be exchanged for a concurrent license or terminated. Single-user licenses are cheaper, but not if they are not used extensively.

Concurrent Licenses. Concurrent licenses cost more but can be used much more efficiently because users draw them from a pool and (hopefully) return them to the pool when they are finished (good license management software can manage that too by “harvesting” idle licenses). Ensuring that concurrent licenses are used to the maximum is not an overnight job, but the CIO should be able to demonstrate gradual improvement month-by-month once he has the right software to see what is really going on. We have several case studies where customers have used OpenLM to optimize concurrent license usage.

This may seem like an exercise that will result in small savings, but if you take the cost of these licenses into account, some companies have realized over a $1,000,000 by reducing their license overhead. It depends which software you use, but when you consider the price of Catia, Solidworks, Revit or AutoCad, it would be foolish not to get rid of licenses you don’t really need.

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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 2011: Quick Installation guide for the OpenLM license management system v1.8

The OpenLM Floating license monitoring and Usage optimization tool interfaces an ever growing variety of license managers, such as Flexera FlexLM (Flexnet publisher), Beta LM, IBM LUM, DSLS, Sentinel HASP, Sentinel RMS, Reprise RLM, MathLM, LM-X and Easycopy.

Step 1: Installation

The OpenLM System components are available for download on the OpenLM site. After filling in your name and email, you would be directed to the download section. Select the OpenLM Version 1.8 section:


And start by downloading the server:

When downloading is complete, double click the downloaded *.msi file and follow the standard installation instructions.

Step 2: Configuring License Servers

When the installation is complete, click:

Windows’ Start → All Programs → OpenLM → Server → OpenLM Server Configuration

The OpenLM Server configuration window opens.

1. Add in your license servers:

  • Click the ‘Add’ button,

  • Type in the License server’s host name or IP (e.g. lm10) and Port number (e.g. 27000)

  • Select the new License server’s type (e.g. FlexLM)

  • Type in an informative name (e.g. “lm10 – ArcGis server”)

  • Select the license server’s time zone (e.g. UTC+1)

The image below demonstrates this configuration:

 

2. Select a license server and click the check button in order to ensure that OpenLM can retrieve information from that license server. This information is the input received from the License manager.

3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for all license servers.

4. Click ‘Apply’, and “Restart now”.

Step 3: The OpenLM EasyAdmin Interface

The EasyAdmin web application is the main OpenLM Administrative and user interface.

You can find it on:

Windows’ Start → All Programs → OpenLM → OpenLM EasyAdmin2.

The OpenLM EasyAdmin opens. Click the EasyAdmin start button to explore this application’s features.

The image above is an example of an EasyAdmin workspace. It features Administrative tools, License data, License usage data, Graphic usage representation, Roles and permissions’ assignment, and Active Agent capabilities.

For more information on the OpenLM EasyAdmin web interface, please refer to this document.

Congratulations!

You now have an up and running OpenLM system.

For further information regarding the installation and preliminary configuration of the OpenLM system components, please refer to the “Application Note 2010: OpenLM license management system Complete Installation guide v1.8” document.

Revision table

Revision

Author

Date

Remarks

0.1

Orik

Apr 23,  2013

Preliminary

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Get more out of your floating licenses

OpenLM is a complete floating license management solution designed to optimize the use of licensed software: more production for lower cost.
OpenLM is made to harvest idle licenses, and improve license utilization of any organization: big or small.

Who was the OpenLM Utilizer Designed For?

Unlike other license management systems that only offer administration and license monitoring statistics, the OpenLM Utilizer optimizes license usage in a unique manner that provides all personnel with useful license-related functions.

Organization managers:

  • Know what you have: Inventory.
  • Plan license maintenance and procurement of expensive licenses.
  • Charge projects or business units for software usage time.
  • Cut costs by dropping maintenance for licenses that are no longer in use.

Administrator view:

  • Real time license usage management
  • Alerts – Real time troubleshooting
  • Extract usage statistics information and patterns as reports or charts.
  • Roles and Permissions: Grant licenses according to specific Users’ permissions. Enforce concurrent License restriction.

End User View:

  • End users are not kept in the dark. They are informed about the status of denied licenses.
  • Receive a License availability notification when a license becomes vacant.
  • Who is using the license I need?
  • What is this person’s contact details?

Supported features

License managers:

  • OpenLM interfaces a wide variety of license managers, e.g.: FLEXlm / Flexnet, IBM LUM, Sentinel RMS, Sentinel HASP, RLM, DSLS and other leading license managers.
  • OpenLM supports Concurrent monitoring of multiple license servers on multiple time zones.
  • OpenLM supports management of Floating, Node-locked and Borrowed licenses.

Monitoring capabilities:

  • Easily review license inventory in real time.
  • Extract license activity reports, with configurable resolution.
  • Receive FLEXlm reports, statistics and charting (FLEXnet reports).
  • Receive Billing reports for any time period, per user or software (FLEXbill capabilities).

Infrastructure:

  • OpenLM may work over WAN and LAN networks.
  • OpenLM employs a web-based user interface that works with any supported browser.
  • A Mobile interface application enhances monitoring abilities for system administrators.
  • OpenLM may interface license managers that run on UNIX, Linux, or Windows’ Operating systems
  • OpenLM supports both external and embedded databases.

Proactive capabilities:

  • Release orphan licenses with a single mouse click.
  • Query users and licenses from any workstation.

Other features

  • A customizable alert system
  • An open, detailed API

OpenLM Architecture

OpenLM’s basic software package includes the core OpenLM Server module and its user interface; the OpenLM EasyAdmin module. In addition to these core components, the OpenLM Broker, OpenLM Alerts module and the OpenLM Utilizer Agent modules are also incorporated in the basic software package.

The OpenLM Server

is the core element of the OpenLM system. It integrates the functionality of all other peripheral system components, such as the OpenLM EasyAdmin, OpenLM Agent, OpenLM Alerts, and OpenLM Broker. The OpenLM Server is implemented as a Windows service and could be installed on any network machine.

OpenLM EasyAdmin

An HTTP based application that can run on any machine in your network. EasyAdmin is the reporting and management interface of OpenLM. It facilitates extraction of lisence usage statistics, and usage repots, as well as the control and optimization of license usage.

OpenLM Agent

An optional component that can be installed on any machine on the network. The Agent enables end users to query license availability and find who is using the license they need at any point in time.

OpenLM Alerts

is a dedicated alerting service for the OpenLM system. This module alerts system administrators when predefined conditions are met.

OpenLM Broker

is an optional server component that runs on the license server machine. The Broker performs tasks as dictated by OpenLM Server, and is required in order to provide advanced licensing information and sophisticated abilities.

OpenLM Screenshots

Watch the OpenLM EasyAdmin screenshots on the OpenLM site.

Want to evaluate the software ?

You can get the most updated version of OpenLM Utilizer from our OpenLM downloads area. After filling in your name and email – you’d be directed to the Downloads section. The Installation process is easy and straightforward, but if you still need any assistance – Please send an email to support@openlm.com, and we’ll be glad to help.

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OpenLM fits in the US Federal “Shared First” policy.

US Federal Budget cuts have produced a new policy of software procurement within government agencies. This strategy is nicknamed the “Shared First” policy, and is at the base of some major changes in Federal software license procurement and maintenance.

The “Shared First” policy requires agencies to share IT systems, acquisition and expertise. US Government agencies are required to consider using existing software, both inside their agencies and across government before turning to further purchase of software. This policy has manifested in enormous cuts in IT expenditure.

Increased sharing of software assets is one of the central pillars of this policy. Federal agencies have reported saving many millions of Dollars by using enterprise-wide (“floating”) license agreements over the passed two years. Being a software that specializes in the monitoring of floating licenses, OpenLM fits in this capacity perfectly. It is ideal for monitoring enterprise-wide licenses over WAN or LAN networks, and over different time zones.

Moreover, Following President Obama’s executive order from last November to take inventory of Federal agencies’ software assets, there has been a growing need for monitoring license usage and pointing out weak spots in software license utilization. These weak spots are non-compliance with license agreements and under-utilization of  existing software licenses. Again: circling out such weak spots is what OpenLM is for. OpenLM may be configured to alert for such conditions, and actively improve license utilization.

Further reading …

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OpenLM Newsletter 2012 #01


Dear valued OpenLM users,

On this first edition of the OpenLM 2012 Newsletter I would like to greet you all, and wish you a happy and successful new year. 2011 has been very good for us here at OpenLM, all thanks to your support. Our team has grown bigger, and is now able to provide better support to our improved product.

We are proud to introduce the OpenLM Mobile touch interface. This interface may run on any mobile device operating system; e.g.: IOs, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile etc. With the help of some of our faithful customers, we have managed to perform a successful Beta trial for this interface. The OpenLM Mobile Touch interface is available to all customers under a valid maintenance agreement with no additional cost.

Based upon requests from our customers, and following Dassault Systemes migration from IBM-LUM to their proprietary DSLS license manager, OpenLM has quickly adapted to provide support to DSLS. We look forward to receiving further customer requests, in order to meet our users’ needs.

We have recently launched a new and enhanced company website. This site is clearer, more informative, useful and generally – nicer than our old one. Among other things, It features a new introductory animated video on OpenLM. We hope that you will like it.

Best Regards,

Oren Gabay, CEO


OpenLM updates

OpenLM goes mobile !

 

The OpenLM EasyAdmin Mobile application enables system administrators to keep track of the license management systems, while being out of office. This document describes the essentials of the OpenLM EasyAdmin for mobile application; installing the application, and running it on a Mobile set.Read more…

 

OpenLM Live Webinars

OpenLM is now hosting a couple of Online Webex Webinars each week. This Webinars give an overview of the OpenLM system; its components and capabilities, and is intended for newbies as well as for experienced users. Please check out the date for the next webex Webinar on OpenLM’s site.


OpenLM resources

OpenLM introductory video

 

 

 

 

 

OpenLM Video tutorials: OpenLM server configuration – License server tab

 

 

 

 

 

 

OpenLM Video tutorials: Active Directory Synchronization

 

 

 

 

 

 


Monthly Articles

Get more out of your floating licenses

Being this our first edition of the OpenLM Newsletter for 2012, We found it adequate to give a brief summary of what the OpenLM utilizer actually is. This is good reading material for Newbees, and nice to remember for more experienced users. Read more…

OpenLM system structure

Another important article for first timers, this one elaborates all about the OpenLM system structure; Where should every module be installed, and what are the interconnections between them. Read more…

Products and Packaged licenses in OpenLMs EasyAdmin web application

This Article deals with two adjacent subjects: Renaming features as products, and gathering these features into licensed packages in the OpenLM EasyAdmin web application. Read more…

Configuring FLEXlm FLEXnet Option File Using OpenLM Easy Admin

FLEXlm (Flexera FLEXnet) option files grant license administrators close control over various operating parameters within the constraints of the license model. Licensed features can be dedicated, denied or reserved to users or groups of users, according to the option files setting.

The OpenLM solution incorporates synchronization of License administration tools with the organizations LDAP (Active Directory), keeping the FLEXlm option file up-to-date as users leave or join the organization, or move between groups. Read more…


 

Points of interest

IBM Rational – FlexNet Token based licensing:

The IBM Rational License Server uses FLEXnet for licensing IBM Rational products. This article presents the main characteristics of FlexNet Token based licensing, and the benefits of this method. Read more…

Autodesk cascade licensing and the PLIST

Cascade Licensing allows a product to obtain a license from a network license manager pool when that license manager is servicing more than one product. Cascading was implemented primarily to address mixed-product environments where both suite and base products co-exist.

Read more…

FlexNet Producer Suite Is Distinguished by the Frost & Sullivan 2011 Market Share Leadership Award for Software-Enforced License Management

The Frost & Sullivan Award for Market Share Leadership is presented to the company that has demonstrated excellence in capturing the highest market share within a segment of its industry. Read more…

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How Does OpenLM TIMEOUT for ESRI ArcGIS works

Background

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.

Discussion

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.

Summary

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.

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