Every IT department faces recurring license management issues sooner or later, and this is even more true for organizations that use expensive scientific software (aka engineering software or engineering applications) that can result in significant budget overruns or, just as damaging, cause compliance audits.
Managing engineering software licenses is not simple. By their very nature, they must be managed by dedicated software components called license managers (LMs).
There are a multitude of license managers (LMs) available on the market. Some, such as FlexNet (formerly FlexLM), Flexera’s license manager, are so-called generic, capable of reading license files from multiple software vendors. Others, such as DSLS (Dassault Systèmes), SPLM and soon ISL (Hexagon PPM), ALM (Altair) or SELECTServer (Bentley) are said to be proprietary and only able to read the publisher’s license files. They are added to the long list of existing license managers: Sentinel HASP, Codemeter WIBU, Felics, RSoft, GNS License Manager, Orcaflex, Transoft, Sparx, Bitlock, Elprocad, Rhino3d zoo, IBM Rational ClearCase Atria, EPLAN License Manager (ELM), IBM LUM (IBM License Use Management), SLM/Sentinel LM/Sentinel RMS/Sentinel Protection Server/SafeNet Sentinel (SafeNet / Gemalto), Sentinel Hardware Keys (SHK), LM-X, Solidworks SNL License Manager, T-Systems license manager product LICMAN, Vertex Systems, MathLM (Wolfram Mathematica license manager), RLM (Reprise License Manager), Ranorex, Venturis (TRICAD), Altium, Primavera from Oracle, GHSlm (Green Hills Software License Manager), LSTC-Dyna (LS-DYNA / Ansa / mETA / Livermore Software Technology Corporation), BETA LM (BETA CAE Systems), PKit license manager (PersonalQM / Method Park / Internships), 12D software licensing, License4J, OLicense, Oxygen, and I think I forget some.
Equally important, gathering in a single place, on a centralized or a web server, all the useful information of engineering application licenses, disseminated over several license servers, or even in several locations, and thus being able to globally examine all the license servers of an organization and collect accurate data on the use of its licenses has become a priority in order to obtain a reliable picture of the software licenses available to the organization and the exact way they are used.
Finally, many organizations that have grown through mergers and acquisitions also find themselves faced with the problem of managing licenses installed over time on different license servers managed by local IT teams using management tools such as FLEXLM, RLM, DSLS, SPLM, RMS, and others mentioned above, which negates any possibility of establishing an effective license position (ELP), reinforcing the idea of wanting to inventory all these license managers and control them all within a single tool.
Fortunately, such a tool exists. Several software publishers: OpenIT, Flexera, OpenLM, TeamEAD, X-training, JTB World, to name but a few, have developed software license management (SLM) tools whose function is different from a software asset management (SAM) tool.
These tools, unlike software asset management tools, are capable of interfacing with the multitude of license managers (LMs) mentioned above. And, when properly deployed, will allow an organization to know how many license servers it operates and where they are located, facilitating their migration to a centralized data center. It will also know where and how many license managers (LMs) are deployed, and always thanks to an SLM, it will be able to look inside these license managers and get, through a single graphical interface, information on the status of the licenses: their quantities, expiration date, type, usage rate, user history, …
The benefits that an organization can expect from the use of an SLM are numerous: