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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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 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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Siemens PLM license analysis and license monitoring

OpenLM supports license monitoring of a wide, and ever growing variety of license managers. Among those are Flexera FlexLM (Flexnet publisher), IBM LUM, DSLS, Sentinel HASP, Sentinel RMS, Reprise RLM, and LM-X.

This group of license management utilities encompass a great variety of licensed products. One group of such licensed products is the Siemens PLM (formerly UGS) 3D & 2D Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) group.

The OpenLM tool provides high level of application usage management and optimization for PLM licenses, providing clear and valuable usage information for Managers, License Administrators and End Users.

Siemens PLM Common Licensing

Siemens PLM employs the “Siemens PLM Software Common Licensing” tool in order to deliver a consistent licensing implementation to all PLM products. It is based on the Flexera FlexNet license management tool, and has incorporated some unique characteristics:

  • The PLM Common Licensing toolkit has adopted the Siemens PLM Software-wide licensing vendor daemon ugslmd. Consequently, all Siemens PLM products gain access to common licenses utilize this same daemon.
  • The PLM Common Licensing toolkit employs a unified license file for all PLM products.
  • The default port for the PLM ugslmd vendor daemon is 28000. That was decided in order to avoid conflicts with other applications, using the default FlexLM port 27000.
  • Composite ID (CID): This is a 12 digit hexadecimal unique machine identifier that is used as part of Siemens PLM Software licensing to lock a license file to a machine. The CID is distinguished from a FLEXnet hostid by the keyword “COMPOSITE=”.
  • NX bundles and Suite Packages: These are packages that Siemens PLM Software has predefined to meet the general needs of customers at a lower cost than purchasing individual floating licenses.

For more information on Siemens PLM Software Common Licensing, please refer to this PDF.

The OpenLM advantage

The OpenLM license monitoring tool incorporates many advantages in PLM software maintenance for members of all positions in an organization. In a nutshell:

  • Managers get a clear picture of their Software assets.
  • System Administrators are freed from managing licenses.
  • End users enjoy improved PLM license availability.

Additionally, OpenLM v 1.8 Automatically sorts NX suites, to clearly display Siemens PLM application usage measuring in its true context.

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OpenLM: Concurrent license monitoring and optimization tool

What is OpenLM ?

OpenLM is a comprehensive license-management solution, designed to monitor and optimize the usage of concurrent (‘floating’) license software. OpenLM is capable of monitoring a wide variety of license managers, e.g.: FlexNet (FlexLM), Sentinel RMS, and DSLS.

Who was OpenLM Designed For?

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

Organization managers:

  • Know what you have: License 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 usage management and troubleshooting.
  • Extract license usage statistics information and patterns.
  • Roles and Permissions: Grant licenses according to specific Users’ permissions.

End User View:

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

Supported features

License managers:

  • OpenLM interfaces a wide variety of license managers. Here is a list of them.
  • Concurrent monitoring of multiple license servers on multiple time zones.
  • Management of Floating, Node-locked and Borrowed licenses.
  • Detection of idle sessions, and retrieval of idle licenses.

Monitoring capabilities:

  • Easily review license inventory in real time.
  • Extract license activity reports (e.g. Flexnet report), with configurable resolution.

Infrastructure

  • Operational over WAN and LAN networks.
  • Interface license managers that run on UNIX, Linux, or Windows’ Operating systems.
  • Web-based user interface, applicable on any major browser.
  • Mobile interface application enhances monitoring abilities for system administrators.
  • OpenLM supports both external and embedded databases.

What does “Open” in “OpenLM” stand for?

OpenLM provides a set of open and documented APIs that enable customers and business partners to develop applications that integrate OpenLM software capabilities.

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 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 at openlm.com, and we’ll be glad to help.

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Application Note 1030: OpenLM license usage monitoring according to projects – v1.8.

General

OpenLM is able to record information about the usage of various licenses and allocate them to different company projects. This ability facilitates license allocation according to organizational projects, and can also serve as a mean to effectively charge-back license usage expenses according to these projects.

This ability complements OpenLM’s license monitoring capabilities; integrating license usage optimization with Active directory synchronization, Project assignment, and monitoring a variety of  license managers such as FlexLM (Flexnet), Sentinel HASP, Sentinel RMS, RLM, DSLS, LM-X, IBM LUM, and MathLM.

Scope

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

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

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

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

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

This Application Note describes the feature as implemented in the 1.8 version.

Project usage reporting

The Project usage reporting is available on the EasyAdmin web interface. Click OpenLM Start → Resports → Project usage in order to see the report. Set the filtering options on the left-hand side of the screen, and click the ‘Apply’ button in order to run the usage query. It is also possible to view the report in a chart format, or extract the information to a CSV file (green arrow icon at the bottom) and manipulate it on a spreadsheet software.

However, before having any information to report – it is necessary to set up the projects. Please follow the section below in order to do so.

Projects Settings

The “Projects Settings” screen defines the policy of the Project usage monitoring capability. In order to open it, click the OpenLM ‘Start’ button → ‘Administration’ → ‘Projects’ icon.

Notes:

1. Projects’ information logging requires the installation of the OpenLM Agent (Either Active Agent or Utilizer Agent) on the end-users’ workstations.

2. When the OpenLM server is configured to employ user permissions, access to this window requires administrative privileges.

The ‘Projects’ window appears:

Note:

The project configuration window was moved in OpenLM version 1.8 to EasyAdmin (under the Administration menu. Following is an account of its different configuration objects:

Log Projects Information

Check the Log projects information checkbox to start recording license usage information according to projects’ allocation.

Minimal Usage Duration for Project

This setting defines the shortest duration for logging purposes. Shorter periods would be merged together to form significant usage periods. For example, if the minimal duration is set to 5 minutes, and a user has opened the application for only 3 minutes, this usage period will not be accumulated to the current session, but rather merged with the following session.

Agent’s Behavior Settings

These settings define what the end-users will see on their workstations if they work on more than one project for their organization. If the workers are only allocated to one project in EasyAdmin then OpenLM will log their license usage without the need to take any action when the software is started. If the users work on more than one project then a dialog box will appear on their screen prompting them to select the current project.

Hide projects option from menu

Deny users the ability to determine the name of the project on which they’re working.

Projects window fades away after

OpenLM enables users to ignore the project dialog box by having it fade away after a predefined number of seconds. The Projects window fades away after setting defines the number of seconds after which it becomes invisible.

Allow creation of projects in Agent

This option has been introduced in the OpenLM 1.8 version.

The OpenLM project management module facilitates project creation via the OpenLM Agent. Check this box to enable this option, thus adding the “Create New Project” menu item in the OpenLM Agent interface (see image below).

When an end-user selects this option, the “Create new Project” window opens. The user then could create new projects and associate themselves to them.

Modification of these projects will be possible in EasyAdmin only. The origin of creation of the project will be apparent in the EasyAdmin Projects list window.

Show unassigned projects

By default, users can only see projects they are assigned to in the Agent → Set Active Project menu option. Checking this box will produce a list that contains all enabled projects in the system and the user will be able to select any project from this list. This option has been introduced in the OpenLM 1.8 version.

Support Environment Variable

The LM_PROJECT env. variable support is a backward-compatibility option, that supports this variable for registering projects. The variable is defined separately for each workstation, so there is no option of overriding its value between users.

The environment variable option is disabled by default. It is recommended to use the OpenLM supplied solution, unless backward support of the environment variable option is required.

The “Add unknown project” option presents an administrative filter for project names that are unknown to the OpenLM server:

  • Checked: The unknown project will be set and added to the list of projects.

  • Unchecked (default): The unknown project will not be set.

Selecting the active project

When logging of project information is enabled (see above), work hours need to be assigned to a specific project. When there is only one project – that project will automatically be assigned all the working hours. When there are more than one project – it is up to the end users to report on what project they are currently working.

1. One option for the end user to set the Active project is to right-click the Agent icon, and select the “Set Active Project” option.

2. Another option for setting the Active project is by a pop-up window. The appearance of this pop-up is configurable by options in the ‘Projects’ window, which was mentioned above.

Display at license retrieval

The default option is to prompt the worker to select the project when retrieving a license. This is a very useful way to ensure accurate logging of the project information, therefore the recommended setting is to leave the checkbox turned on.

Display periodically every

Users may start to work on one project, and then switch to a different one, without changing the Active Project setting. If this checkbox is ticked, a dialog box will pop up in a predefined time interval, according to the number of minutes set by the user.

Project creation in EasyAdmin

In the previous section, we have seen the mathod for creating project via the Agent. Projects can also be created via the EasyAdmin “Add project” window.  

In the “Project details” tab, the Administrator can set up the following characteristics:

  • Project name

  • Start and End time for the project

  • Number of working hours allocated to this project

  • The project’s priority, and

  • The project’s completeness percentage.

Users and user groups may be assigned to the project upon its creation, via the ‘Users’ and ‘Groups’ tabs. After configuring these items, click the ‘Save’ button.

Editing existing projects

The new project would be apparent in the Projects list window. In order to access this window, Click the EasyAdmin Start button → Users and Permissions → Project List.

This window presents options to create new projects, as well as to delete or edit existing ones. It is split to two panes:

  • The left pane serves as a filter for projects to be shown on the list on the right pane.

    • The Priority drop-down list presents Low / Medium / High priority levels.

    • “Created in” marks whether the project was created by the Agent or via the EasyAdmin window: Admin / Agent

  • The right pane consists of a list of the existing projects, and an action bar at the top.  Click the top bar icons to add a new project, delete a selected project, Edit a selected project’s properties, Enable or Disable a selected project.

Attaching users and user groups to the project

After creating a project, it is time to bind users or user groups to the different projects, according to organizational preferences. In order to do so, select the target project, and select the Users or Groups tab in the ‘Add project’ window. Then select the User or Group that would be attached to the project, and click the ‘Add’ button.

Appendix A: Projects information logging in v1.7

This application note relates to the OpenLM 1.8 version. As stated in the scope of this document, most Projects information logging capabilities are already existent in the 1.7 version. The main change of interface is due to the shift of the configuration from the OpenLM Server configuration tool to the EasyAdmin web application. Below is a screenshot of the 1.7 Projects setting tab on the OpenLM Server configuration tool for comparison.

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OpenLM Maintenance Release – Agent version 1.7.1.5

OpenLM Agent Version 1.7.1.5

OpenLM Agent version 1.7.1.5 is a maintenance release to version 1.7.
It contains a fix for monitoring the new ESRI ArcGis v10.1 license.
This version impacts the OpenLM Active Agent, and should be installed by users of the ESRI ArcGis v10.1.

Upgrading

In order to upgrade to Agent version 1.7.1.5:

  1. Download and Install the new Agent version on top of the existing one.
  2. Update the products XML from the OpenLM site. In order to do so:
    1. Open the OpenLM Server configuration tool in the ‘Advanced’ tab,
    2. Click the “Update products…” button. The “Update product features” window opens.
    3. Select online updating, and click the ‘Update’ button.
    4. Click the ‘Apply’ button, and “Restart Now” when prompted.

See image below for clarification.



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Some customer testimonials:

“OpenLM is exactly the software we were looking for”
“Thank you OpenLM team for your incredible product.”
“Thumbs up for OpenLM !”
“(OpenLM’s) capabilities have made administering the licenses a snap …”
“Thanks to the OpenLM team for a great piece of software.”
“Congratulations on an excellent product”

 

Kory Krofft, CAD Administrator,

Trimble Navigation Ltd, USA

“Trimble Navigation Ltd. Is a Silicon Valley based technology company with a wide product range whose core technology leverages the many applications for Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Customer solutions range from controlling earthmoving equipment and precision agriculture to fleet management and surveying.

Trimble’s engineering staff includes roughly 95 CAD system users whose CAD tools are licensed through a FlexLM floating license manager. It has been a long term struggle to properly allocate the costs associated with the CAD system tools such as new licenses and maintenance fees for existing seats to the proper departments.

Initially, OpenLM was investigated as a tool to track license usage so that the costs can be allocated to the specific groups within Trimble based on actual usage of the licenses provided. OpenLm’s “Groups” feature and reporting tools make this task as simple as constructing the report description. The output clearly displays the hours that each department is responsible for, making the allocation of costs simple and equitable.

In addition to the reporting capabilities, Open LM’s license monitoring allows CAD administration to easily see the status of multiple license servers and to remotely release hung licenses.

These capabilities have made administering the licenses a snap.”

Jorge Cunha, IT department – license manager,

Faculty of Engineering,

University of Porto, Portugal

 Work day morning. IT department received a complaint about Matlab licenses not being available and was asked to explain what happened. Usual procedure would be scavenging flexlm logs, building reports by hand and filtering the data so it would make sense.

Openlm proved to be a precious tool! With few clicks we were able to create a report on what happened and illustrate it with graphics. Even more, if the users wanted to see who was using matlab, and what features were active, it provided an online web tool that could be queried on demand, by the inquiry user, enabling them to get data by the minute.

The work stress was lifted from our shoulders and the users got the information they were looking for, and more.

Thumbs up for OpenLM!

 

Philip Nelson, GIS Project Manager

Land Management, Bord na Móna, Ireland.

“I have been using OpenLM for over a year now managing our concurrent licences on Citrix between four offices and seven departments. As we only have a limited number of licences available it is critical that I can monitor the use on and hourly basis to make the most effective use of the available licences. It also helps me with the accounts department to show that we are making the most cost effective use of licences and to produce detailed statistics on a monthly/annual basis of licence use.

At the moment I am not using the full capability of OpenLM to shut down unused licences but as the use of ArcMap grows in the company I expect to implement this in the near future.

The most useful feature of this software is the ease of monitoring licence use so that users who do not have their own dedicated licence can still use ArcMap on quiet days when the full compliment is not being used. The technical support provided by OpenLM is fast and always efficient in solving any problems.”

 

Dirk Linnemüller, GIS Manager,

Landkreis Osnabrück, Germany

“As a GIS manager in a public administration I was again and again confronted with the same questions from groups with very different interests. The GIS-users asked for more GIS-licenses, the financial accounting urged me to save money in the GIS-business. With the installation of OpenLM software these questions are history. We use

our licenses much more effective and were confirmed in our guess, that some users opened GIS-software when they started working and keep the license the whole day, just to have it ready if they need. Now licenses are freed up after 20 minutes when a license usage of 80% is reached and everything works fine. The financial accounting I can apply with statistics from OpenLM about the usage of licenses to show the importance of GIS-software. OpenLM is exactly the software we were looking for. Thanks to the OpenLM team for a great piece of software.”

 

Craig Robson, JBA Consulting, UK

“As for our thoughts on OpenLM, I can honestly say we are extremely pleased with it. Before we used OpenLM there were always broadcast emails being sent around the company asking ‘can anyone free up an ArcGIS licence’ – these stopped almost immediately when we installed OpenLM. We always suspected that people were ‘hogging’ licences (i.e. loading ArcGIS when they first got into the office in the morning because they wanted to use it later and feared they wouldn’t be able to get a licence), so we widely publicised the fact that licences would now be freed up after 15 minutes of inactivity.

..As you can see, after several months of use we don’t have any real problems. OpenLM is very straightforward to administer and works very well in the background without interfering with the users’ way of working. All in all, we’re extremely glad we stumbled upon your website!! Congratulations on an excellent product.”


Daniel Avramov, GIS Team Lead,

Environment Canada

“OpenLM is the most important tool in the management of Environment Canada’s geospatial software assets. Over the past several years, Environment Canada has been working towards better coordination of the Department’s geospatial tool. OpenLM has given us the power to identify and optimize the Department’s investments and is instrumental in the decision making process for the purchase and maintenance of geospatial software. Now, instead of independently investing in duplicative and costly licenses, we have been able to consolidate and save time, resources and money. OpenLM staff are knowledgeable and friendly and most importantly know the value of client service. They went the extra mile to get their software configured on our infrastructure well before we ever committed to purchasing the software. The software is well designed, very easy to use and the summaries and statistics it provides far exceeds any other software management tool that we evaluated. OpenLM is extremely affordable and the cost saving it provided in licenses has made it pay for itself many time over. Thank you OpenLM team for your incredible product.”


Clara Alonso Fernández-Coppel,

GIS manager, Tragsatec, Spain

  “With more than 800 seats of potential users for ArcGIS, we were really worried about the  amount of licenses we will need to buy to cover our needs. People argue that they cannot finish their work when there’s not enough license available, so we received a lot of pressure to buy more licenses. We suspected that in most cases, licenses were captive but not being used. Until we bought OpenLM we couldn’t be sure that we were right.

   Now we have delayed our purchases of licenses until we get real data for the need of buying them.

   At the beginning, people get a bit annoyed when they loose their licenses, but they see the benefit of it pretty soon.

   We have received a great support from people at OpenLM: quick, effective and friendly. It has been a pleasure to work hand in hand with them. We got help right from the beginning when we were merely testing the software.”


Israel Tauber, Director, Forest Management,

Monitoring & GIS, Forest Management, Israel.

“For a long time we heard complaints from many of our GIS users in the organization about the low availability of ArcGIS licenses. We considered buying two more expensive licenses, as we regularly did almost every year. However at that time we happen to be introduced to the OpenLM application and were invited to participate in testing one of the first OpenLM versions. We asked for the price of the software, just in case we ended up deciding to purchase it. When we heard the price we realized that we have nothing to lose. If the application would actually work as expected, we should be saving much time and money by using it, so we really had nothing to lose. The results were beyond expectations, in fact amazing. No more complaints, high availability of licenses and when there is an urgent need for a license, you can always see who are the active users and ask one of them to release their license. I highly recommend OpenLM to every organization, large or small.”

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IBM LUM i4blt command reference

Scope:

Even though the IBM LUM license monitoring tool has decreased in popularity over the passed several years, it is still a widely spread tool for monitoring and tracking license usage of many CAD applications.

The OpenLM license monitoring tool extracts information from a variety of license managers, such as Flexnet / FlexLM, DSLS, Sentinel HASP, Sentinel RMS, Reprise RLM, and – of course IBM LUM. OpenLM extracts comprehensive license reports and obtains license statistics for all these lisence managers.

In order to interface the IBM LUM license manager, OpenLM employs the i4blt command.
The i4blt command is very versatile; its usage depends on the attached i4blt flag options. The following document is a reference to some of these flags.

Syntax:

There are several syntax rules to be met:
1. Named strings containing spaces must be presented within single quotation marks.
2. Names are case sensitive
3. Listed values must be presented within double quotation marks, e.g.:
i4blt -lp -n my_server -v “‘Vend A’ ‘Vend B'”
4. Parameters that appear within options are position specific, e.g.: vendor information in the i4blt -E (Enrollment) option include vendor_name, vendor_id, and vendor_password.

Command reference

The following diagram is a reference to some of the main i4blt options. The Yellow rectangle is a complete reference to the primary i4blt command options. the turquoise rectangles contain elaboration for some of these primary options.

Usage examples:

The following are usage examples of the i4blt command. The examples are taken from real workstations, and include genuine usage information. They were cleared of any user identification markings.

i4blt -s -lc

In order to obtain current license usage information, OpenLM employs the i4blt -s -lc option.

i4blt -ln

The list display option with the ‘n’ flag lists the servers which are monitored by the IBM LUM.

i4blt -r1 -e

The r1 report type enables the extraction of  further information. This example shows license related event logging, in this case: license release.

Forward reading

I have found the following links helpful:
From the University of Alberta

A bit about HAL (High – Availability licensing) : i4blt -H.

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Application Note 1027_a: OpenLM Agent Installation and Configuration

OpenLM Utilizer Agent

The OpenLM Utilizer Agent is the end user tool of the OpenLM system. It completes the OpenLM license monitoring tool from the End user’s point of view. It provides end users the following capabilities:

  • Query license availability.
  • Check which users are holding required licenses.
  • View a user’s full set of details as they appear on the LDAP, and communicate with users regarding license availability.
  • Receive license availability notifications as soon as requested licenses become available.
  • Report the session’s active project (mainly for billing purposes).

OpenLM Active Agent

The Active Agent incorporates all the characteristics of the Utilizer Agent. On top of that, it supports an extension that enables system administrators to shut down open applications either manually, or by defining a timeout policy. In this manner, system administrators can suspend or save and close idle applications, in order to make more efficient use of licenses. The Active Agent features a user-friendly interface that enables users to quickly reopen closed applications, or resume suspended ones.

Installation

Download and save the Openlm Utilizer or Active Agent MSI installation file from the Download section of OpenLM’s site. Double-click it, and follow the instructions of the installation wizard.

When installing the Active Agent, the Extensions “OpenLM Extensions” dialog window appears.

The user may either:

  • Select to install the appropriate software extensions, thus ruling an idle application to be treated in the “Save and Close” method, or
  • Select NOT to install the appropriate software extensions, thus ruling an idle application to be treated in the “Suspend and Resume” method, even though it is an “Extension Supported” application.

For more information on Extension-Enabled applications, please refer to “Application Note 1005: Configuring OpenLM to close idle Licenses”.

At the end of the installation process, in the “Agent Configuration” dialog window, type in the OpenLM server with which the Agent is required to connect, and click the “Apply” button. The Installation is now complete, can be changed at any time (see below).

After installing:

The OpenLM Agent icon appears on the “system tray”.
OpenLM Agent in a connected state:
OpenLM Agent in a disconnected state:

Agent Configuration

  • Right click on the agent icon and select ‘OpenLM Agent Configuration’. The Agent configuration window opens.
  • Select the Agent’s language.
  • Type in the OpenLM server name or IP.
  • Type in the OpenLM server port. This is by default 7012.
  • Click the “Check connectivity to OpenLM server” button.

Advanced settings:

  • Logger Configuration File: Type in the location of the Agent Log File.
  • Logging Level: Adjust the Agent’s logging level.
  • Skip Double Instances Alert: This option either enables or blocks alerts when trying to open two agent sessions simultaneously. This option is set active by default.
  • Use Local Computer’s Proxy Settings: This setting may solve issues that originate using a proxy server. This option is set inactive by default.
  • Shut Agent when products Are inactive… : These parameters are relevant for VM servers. When OpoenLM closes a licensed application, the VM (e.g: Citrix) is kept in use by the workstation, unnecessarily consuming a license. This configuration shuts down the OpenLM Agent after INACTIVITY_TIME, thus releasing the VM license.

The OpenLM Java Agent window

The OpenLM Agent window shows the Feature usage status, per License Server, Vendor and User name. Individual user data is also available through the Agent; Just click a chart line to get more information on the user who is currently occupying the license.

Revision 0.1, Apr29 2012.

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