Managing and Monitoring Custom-built Software Licenses

While OpenLM was designed to manage licenses for engineering and scientific COTS (custom-off-the-shelf) software, many of our customers have at least one, and sometimes many, custom-built software tools. Such custom software is usually protected by a license agreement, but does not have a formal license manager application to make compliance simpler. OpenLM recognises that a customer can be using software that falls in this category and has a name for it, which is “unmanaged software”. We also have a solution for managing the unmanageable, our product, the OpenLM App Manager. This product provides the license administrator with a way of monitoring and controlling usage of any software application, enabling him to gather accurate data on that usage, as well as limiting over-usage where it creates a risk of non-compliance or incurs unnecessary costs.

What the App Manager primarily supplies is a means to automate the company’s software allocation policy. It can be used for products that are managed by the OpenLM core product, such as AutoDesk, as well as products that are commercially available but not part of the engineering software family, like Adobe Acrobat. The only requirement is that the software is executable (i.e. is in an *.exe file) and has processes for the App Manager to give you control over any software.

What Can be Controlled? – Access

You can tailor the accessibility of any software product, licensed or not, to meet the exact specifications of your environment. This is done via parameters that you set to permit or deny usage and consumption by software version, location and time.

For instance:-

  • you can limit access to normal working hours for a particular location.
  • you can block access to users in the UK from 15:00 to 18:00 EST because that is peak usage time in Boston and New Jersey.
  • you can limit usage to a specific software version for a user group where you are running more than one software version concurrently.
  • You can also permit a specific group access (because they have priority), while denying other users, or limiting their access.

What Can be Measured? – Usage

Then you can also measure and manage license consumption and get accurate values on such usage. This is very helpful even with software products that have license managers, as it provides you with your version of the truth and not the vendor’s opinion of which licenses were used and how much was consumed in time, tokens or any other measure. For custom-written software this is ideal, because you are provided with a view of how the software is being used and identify how to economize on usage. This can also help you define your policy and business rules for the software you need to manage.

Managing and Monitoring at Feature Level

One of the challenges with custom-written software is that it can include features that have their own licenses, via an API or a call to a product, such as Adobe Acrobat in order to generate a PDF. Such callas and interfaces can generate costs or even be non-compliant for your agreement with the called product. You can also set up business rules to manage these circumstances.

Overall Benefits

Limit or prevent excessive consumption, which can result in nasty cost surprises.

This could be the case where the custom software calls an Autodesk product that is managed via a token license – each call will eat away at your total token license annual purchase and may result in you having to top up during the year. The call may only require one minute of usage but costs eight minutes and at least one token. This could be a design flaw and may require a change to the custom application.

Reduce or Avoid Denials at Peak Usage

This is a common problem with all software, even with license managers. Here is a way of assuring that those who need the software the most will get it when they need it, using the time and location parameters. You can even tailor the need to a specific group or even a single user.

Use only the Appropriate Version

If there are multiple versions running simultaneously, you can tailor your accessibility to permit or deny users access to part or all of a product. For instance, let’s say that a call to AutoDesk is essential for users on a particular project. You had a design change implemented to prevent users accessing Autodesk because of the problem we identified as unnecessary consumption. However, you retained the previous version for a small group of users or super-users. Only they are allowed to access this particular version. What is more, unauthorized software running on a workstation or laptop can be picked up and reported on.

Reduce Costs and Avoid Non-Compliance Risks

You will now know the true costs of running the custom product and what you should be paying for your usage, instead of relying on your vendor/development shop’s opinion of what is owed. Where there are APIs and calls to other licensed software you can manage the costs incurred making these links.

Manage your Software Exactly as you Wish

You have the power to control license allocation and management just the way you want, that fits in with your business model and value proposition. You also have the flexibility to change the rules as circumstances require.

Comprehensive Reporting

Reports can be generated that show you exactly what is going on with the software you want to control. While your current need will be for your custom product, you can use it for any software used in your environment.

What You Need to Use App Manager

In order to take advantage of the App Manager, you must first install our OpenLM Core Product. You will also need to download OpenLM Broker (there is no charge for the Broker, but it does have a separate license). To get a bird’s eye view of what each workstation is up to, you need to install OpenLM Agent on each station, but this depends on what level of control you want to implement.

For more information on how App Manager Works, watch our short videos at:-

https://vimeo.com/263134305 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8G1DqL1GBU

We also run a webinar for more in-depth information – https://www.openlm.com/webinar-registration/

For more advice, or a discussion with a consultant, please visit our website at openlm.com

 

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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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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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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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Software Asset Management tools vs. the main causes for license compliance drift

The BSA (Business Software alliance) organization runs a cool widget on their site – They call it the Global Software Piracy Study for 2011. It shows the globe divided to political territories. The user can select a country and see the rate of software piracy resident in that country. I admit I find it rather amusing to bet the piracy rate per territory, but apparently BSA officers don’t see the funny side in it. This is the drive for stepping up software license audits.

 As software auditing is becoming ubiquitous, organizations around the world turn to Software Asset Management (SAM) tools to help them come through what some IT members would consider a nightmare.

Strict abiding to license agreements may not be sufficient when it comes to keeping track of software license compliance; As licensing options become increasingly complex, the average honest license administrator may inadvertently slip out of compliance.

Reasons for such a slip are numerous, and can be attributed to :

Structural changes in the organization:

  • Unification and splitting of license pools.
  • Shift of responsibility for license compliance and inventory keeping between IT personnel.
  • Migration to other license servers.

 

Unclear restrictions imposed by the license agreement

  • Change between different license versions.
  • What was right for the previous version may not be OK for the current one.
  • Restrictions that were signed upon in an antecedent licensing agreement.

 

The human factor

  • Inexperienced IT personnel.
  • Unclear notion of the license inventory.
  • End users malcompliance with the organization’s software regulations.

 

These types of triggers for software compliance glitches are addressed by software license monitoring tools such as OpenLM:

  • OpenLM was designed to absorb drifts in license compliance caused by structural changes in the organization. It can interfaces multiple license managers over WAN or LAN, and assign license usage constraints according to licensing policies.

  • OpenLM provides clear accounts of license availability thus eliminating errors that stem from lack of “How many of these do we actually have” and

  • Lifting mundane tasks off the shoulders of license managers and system administrators, thus mitigating the effect of human error.

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Application Note 2008a: OpenLM database migration, from Firebird to MS-SQL

General

OpenLM is a license management tool that provides application usage monitoring for a variety of Concurrent license servers. These include FlexLM / Flexnet, Sentinel RMS (Aspentech SLM), DSLS, IBM LUM, Sentinel HASP, LM-X (Altair), Reprise RLM, Beta-LM, Mathematica LM (MathLM), and Easycopy.

Scope

OpenLM provides an embedded Firebird database  as part of the software installation. It also supports different types of external databases, such as MS-SQL, Oracle and MySQL. This document is intended for system administrators who wish to perform an OpenLM database migration from the default Firebird to MS-SQL. It elaborates the process and tools required for such a migration. This document is closely related to the “Guide to OpenLM Data Migration Tool”, “OpenLM Database Configuration Form”  and “Backing Up Your OpenLM DB” documents, which are recommended for further reading.

Backup the current OpenLM database

It is good practice to begin with backing up the OpenLM database prior to migrating its content. In order to do so:

1. Navigate to the windows services (you can do that by searching for services.msc in the start menu’s search line).

2. Select the “OpenLM Server” service, and Click the Stop icon.

3. Backup the OpenLM database. Please refer to the “Backing Up Your OpenLM DB” document for a more detailed explanation.

Important note: Planning the workflow: Firebird 1.7 to MS-SQL 1.8

There are two routes for migrating Firebird 1.7 to MS-SQL 1.8:

Workflow 1: Migrate Firebird 1.7 to MS-SQL 1.7, and then upgrade MS-SQL 1.7 to MS-SQL 1.8

Workflow 2: Upgrade Firebird 1.7 to Firebird 1.8, and then migrate Firebird 1.8 to MS-SQL 1.8.

We will relate to these two routes throughout this document.

At the time of writing this revision (Rev 1.0), only Workflow 1 is supported, but both are described in this document. Please follow through the steps required according to your selected workflow.

Workflow 2: Upgrade Firebird 1.7 to Firebird 1.8

Upgrading of the Firebird database OpenLM Server version 1.7 to Firebird database OpenLM Server version 1.8 is done by simply installing the later OpenLM Server version over the old one. It is important to keep a copy of the database prior to this upgrade. For more information, please refer to this document:

Application Note 1101: Upgrade guide of OpenLM Version 1.7 to Version 1.8

Workflows 1 & 2: Creating a new MS-SQL Database (Building the tables)

Create a new empty database with OpenLM tables in MS-SQL. In order to do so, OpenLM supplies dedicated DDL scripts (*.SQL files) to be applied in the MS-SQL Database control application.

1. For Workflow 1: The DDL scripts for MS-SQL 1.7 databases are available for download here. The Downloaded file contains two files for MS-SQL servers.

For Workflow 2: The DDL scripts for MS-SQL 1.8 databases 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 choose the DDL scripts. The Downloaded file contains two files for MS-SQL servers.

2. Open the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

(Start → All Programs →  Microsoft SQL Server → SQL Server Management Studio).

3. Create a new DB: Right click the  “Databases” icon. select  “New Database” from the pop-up menu, as shown below.

4. Enter a new name for the database (e.g.: db_name) and click OK.

5. For workflow 1: Drag the “OpenLM_SQLServer.SQL” file from the downloaded directory over to the Microsoft SQL Management Studio window. The Contents of “OpenLM_SQLServer.SQL” is displayed. (The file can also be opened by clicking “File → Open → File…” and selecting “OpenLM_SQLServer.SQL” from the unzipped folder).

For workflow 2: Drag the “OpenLM_SQLServer_1.8.0.SQL” file from the downloaded directory over to the Microsoft SQL Management Studio window. The Contents of “OpenLM_SQLServer_1.8.0.SQL” is displayed. (The file can also be opened by clicking “File → Open → File…” and selecting “OpenLM_SQLServer_1.8.0.SQL” from the unzipped folder).

6. Enter the new database name after the word “use” as shown below (e.g.: db_name) and click “Execute”

7. Wait until you see the message  “Query executed successfully” as shown below:

Workflows 1 & 2: Data Migration

Now we get to the actual migration of data from Firebird to MS-SQL:

1. Make sure that the original Firebird DB is backed up, according to this document.

2. Open the “OpenLM Data Migration” tool.

For workflow 1: Data migration is done from Firebird 1.7 → MS-SQL 1.7. Use the data migration 1.7 version.

For workflow 2: Data migration is done from Firebird 1.8 → MS-SQL 1.8. Use the data migration 1.8 version.

3. On the Source frame:

3a. Select “Firebird”. The “Database Credentials” window appears:

3b. Enter the Firebird database path in the appropriate text box.

3c. Select your database(*.FDB) and enter the username and password. By default, the username is set to ‘sysdba’ and the password is ‘masterkey’

4. Target frame actions:

4a. Type in the MS-SQL Server name.

4b. Select the ‘MS-SQL’ radio button. The “Database Credentials” window appears.

4c. In the “MS-SQL Service” text box type in the MS-SQL instance name.

4d. The MS-SQL default port is set to 1521

4e. Set the Username and Password, and click OK.

5. After configuring the Source and Target databases, click the ‘Transfer’ button to begin the migration process. At the end of the migration, a notifier window appears.

Please refer to the “Guide to OpenLM Data Migration Tool” document for further information.

Workflow 1: Upgrade MS-SQL 1.7 to MS-SQL 1.8

Upgrading the MS-SQL 1.7 database to 1.8 is done by applying the 2nd SQL script (‘OpenLM_SQLServer_1.8.0_Upgrade.sql’) downloaded as part of the “Workflows 1 & 2: Creating a new MS-SQL Database (Building the tables)” section above. Drag it over to the Microsoft SQL Management Studio, and run it. The OpenLM MS-SQL schema is upgraded to version 1.8.

Configuring Openlm to work with the SQL server

Now the OpenLM server must be made to reference the new SQL Server.

1. Open the “OpenLM Database Configuration” tool:

(Start → All Programs → OpenLM → Server → OpenLM Database configuration)

.

2. Click the DB provider drop-down menu. Choose one of the options: “SQL Server Authentication” or “Windows Authentication mode”. The “OpenLM Database Configuration” window changes accordingly:

3. Fill in the information in the blank text boxes.

4. Click “Check” to check the OpenLM server’s connection to SQL Server.

5. Click “Apply” to finish the configuration.

Please refer to “OpenLM Database Configuration Form” for further information.

Revision

Rev 1.0, May 30 2013.

 

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Application Note 2008b: OpenLM database migration, from Firebird 1.7 to Oracle 1.8

General

OpenLM is a license management tool that provides application usage monitoring for a variety of Concurrent license servers. These include FlexLM / Flexnet, Sentinel RMS (Aspentech SLM), DSLS, IBM LUM, Sentinel HASP, LM-X (Altair), Reprise RLM, Beta-LM, Mathematica LM (MathLM), and Easycopy.

Scope

OpenLM provides an embedded Firebird database  as part of the software installation. It also supports different types of external databases, such as MS-SQL, Oracle and MySQL. This document is intended for system administrators who wish to perform an OpenLM database migration from the default Firebird to Oracle. It elaborates the process and tools required for such a migration. This document is closely related to the “Guide to OpenLM Data Migration Tool”, “OpenLM Database Configuration Form”  and “Backing Up Your OpenLM DB” documents, which are recommended for further reading.

Backup the current OpenLM database

It is good practice to begin with backing up the OpenLM database prior to migrating its content. In order to do so:

1. Navigate to the windows services (you can do that by searching for services.msc in the start menu’s search line).

2. Select the “OpenLM Server” service, and Click the Stop icon.

3. Backup the OpenLM database. Please refer to the “Backing Up Your OpenLM DB” document for a more detailed explanation.

Prerequisites

1. Download “ODAC 11.2 Release 5 (11.2.0.3.20) with Xcopy Deployment” for 64 or 32 bit from oracle.com.

32b: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/windows/downloads/index-101290.html

64b: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/windows/downloads/index-090165.html)

2. Unzip the file downloaded in Step 1. The ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\32 folder is created.

3. Copy the following Dll’s to two locations:

3a. The Openlm server installation folder \bin directory

(usually located in: “C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenLM\OpenLM Server\bin”), and

3b. The data migration folder:

(usually located in: “C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenLM\OpenLM Data Migration”).

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\instantclient_11_2\oci.dll

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\instantclient_11_2\ociw32.dll

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\instantclient_11_2\orannzsbb11.dll

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\instantclient_11_2\oraocci11.dll

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\instantclient_11_2\oraociei11.dll

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\instantclient_11_2\orasql11.dll

  • ODAC1120320Xcopy_x64\odp.net4\bin\OraOps11w.dll

Important note: Planning the workflow: Firebird 1.7 to Oracle 1.8

There are two routes for migrating Firebird 1.7 to Oracle 1.8:

Workflow 1: Migrate Firebird 1.7 to Oracle 1.7, and then upgrade Oracle 1.7 to Oracle 1.8

Workflow 2: Upgrade Firebird 1.7 to Firebird 1.8, and then migrate Firebird 1.8 to Oracle 1.8.

We will relate to these two routes throughout this document.

Workflow 2: Upgrade Firebird 1.7 to Firebird 1.8

Upgrading of the Firebird database OpenLM Server version 1.7 to Firebird database OpenLM Server version 1.8 is done by simply installing the later OpenLM Server version over the old one. It is important to keep a copy of the database prior to this upgrade. For more information, please refer to this document:

Application Note 1101: Upgrade guide of OpenLM Version 1.7 to Version 1.8

Workflows 1 & 2: Creating a new Oracle Database (Building the tables)

Create a new empty database with OpenLM tables in Oracle. In order to do so, OpenLM supplies dedicated DDL scripts (*.SQL files) to be applied in the Oracle Database control application.

1. For Workflow 1: The DDL scripts for Oracle 1.7 databases are available for download here. The Downloaded file contains two files for Oracle servers.

For Workflow 2: The DDL scripts for Oracle 1.8 databases 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 choose the DDL scripts. The Downloaded file contains two files for Oracle servers.

2. Open the Oracle Database control application from the Windows start button. Use only Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

3. Create a new OpenLM Schema in the Oracle database

3a. Create a new User:

3b. Select the Server tab, and click the “Users” link (see below).

3c. Create a new user. Add the following Roles and System Privileges to the user:

  • Roles: CONNECT

  • RESOURCE

  • System Privileges: add all System Privileges.

4. Open the Oracle SQL developer, and create a new connection. Log in to that connection with the previously defined Username and Password.

For workflow 1: Drag the “OpenLM_Oracle.sql” file from the downloaded directory over onto the Oracle SQL developer window. The Contents of “OpenLM_Oracle.sql” is displayed.

Run the SQL script. The OpenLM 1.7 schema is created in Oracle.

For workflow 2: Drag the “OpenLM_Oracle_1.8.0.sql” file from the downloaded directory over to the Oracle SQL developer window. The Contents of “OpenLM_Oracle_1.8.0.sql” is displayed. Run the SQL script. The OpenLM 1.8 schema is created in Oracle.

Workflows 1 & 2: Data Migration

Now we get to the actual migration of data from Firebird to Oracle:

1. Make sure that the original Firebird DB is backed up, according to this document.

2. Open the “OpenLM Data Migration” tool.

For workflow 1: Data migration is done from Firebird 1.7 → Oracle 1.7. Use the data migration 1.7 version.

For workflow 2: Data migration is done from Firebird 1.8 → Oracle 1.8. Use the data migration 1.8 version.

3. On the Source frame:

3a. Select “Firebird”. The “Database Credentials” window appears:

3b. Enter the Firebird database path in the appropriate text box.

3c. Select your database(*.FDB) and enter the username and password. By default, the username is set to ‘sysdba’ and the password is ‘masterkey’

4. Target frame actions:

4a. Type in the Oracle Server name.

4b. Select the ‘Oracle’ radio button. The “Database Credentials” window appears.

4c. In the “Oracle Service” text box type in the Oracle instance name.

4d. The Oracle default port is set to 1521

4e. Set the Username and Password, and click OK.

5. After configuring the Source and Target databases, click the ‘Transfer’ button to begin the migration process. At the end of the migration, a notifier window appears.

Please refer to the “Guide to OpenLM Data Migration Tool” document for further information.

Workflow 1: Upgrade Oracle 1.7 to Oracle 1.8

Upgrading the Oracle 1.7 database to 1.8 is done by applying the 2nd SQL script (‘OpenLM_Oracle_1.8.0_Upgrade.sql’) downloaded as part of the “Workflows 1 & 2: Creating a new Oracle Database (Building the tables)” section above. Drag it to the Oracle SQL developer window, and run it. The OpenLM Oracle schema is upgraded to version 1.8.

Configuring Openlm to work with the Oracle database

Now the OpenLM server must be made to refer to the new Oracle database.

1. Open the “OpenLM Database Configuration” tool:

(Start → All Programs → OpenLM → Server → OpenLM Database configuration).

2. Click the DB provider drop-down menu, and select ‘Oracle’.

3. Fill in the information in the blank text boxes. See example below.

4. Click “Check” to check the OpenLM server’s connection to the Oracle DB

5. Click “Apply” to finish the configuration.

Please refer to “OpenLM Database Configuration Form” for further information.

Revision

Rev 1.1, September 11 2013.

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Software License Management: Best Practices

Forward

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

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

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

1. Define a Software Management policy

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

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

2. Inform Management and Employees

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

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

3. Produce an inventory of all software

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

4. Uninstall old applications

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

5. File software licensing agreements

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

6. Perform Regular checks

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

7. Use of latest approved versions

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

8. Implement policies to enforce compliance

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

9. Make software license compliance a business strategy

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

10. Adapt to the users requirements

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

Summary

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

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