From For License Admins

This section contains discussions of how to manage your licenses with RLM and how to troubleshoot common licensing problems.

I can’t check out a license, but I can get to the admin interface on the server – what do I do?

I can’t check out a license, but I can get to the admin web interface!

In some cases, a floating license cannot be checked out from a particular computer, yet that same computer can view the admin web interface from the license server.

In very early versions of RLM (prior to RLM v3.0), the most common cause of this failure is that the “normal” hostname of the server node is unknown on the client machine.

So, for example, if you server node’s hostname is “server”, but it is more generally known as “server.mycompany.com”,  and on the client computer it is only known as “server.mycompany.com”, you will see this behavior.

In more recent RLM versions, the most likely cause is that the hostname in the local license file is not the same as what you typed into the browser.

OK, how do I fix it?

If your rlm software is newer than v3.0, the best way to figure out what is happening is to run rlm diagnostics (available in RLM v8.0 and later).

To run client-side diagnostics, set the environment variable RLM_DIAGNOSTICS to the name of a file, then run the application:

% setenv RLM_DIAGNOSTICS filename

% (run application)

The file “filename” will contain the diagnostic information.  It will look similar to the following:


Near the bottom, you will see the name of the license file that the application is using as well as the server’s hostname.  If this is different from the name you use in your browser, correct the license file and try the application again.

If you have a pre-v3 version of RLM, you might also want to put the server’s IP address into the license file on the server side.  So, instead of:

HOST server hostid port#

use a line like this:

HOST server_ip_address hostid port#

For example, instead of:

HOST  server  12345678  5053

use

HOST  192.16.7.12  12345678  5053

My License Server Reports too many licenses in use

One situation we hear about on a regular (but infrequent) basis is similar to the following:

“My license server reports multiple licenses checked out from the same person, yet I know that this person is only using one license.  Why is this?”

As a general rule, this results from users removing laptops from the corporate network, then re-attaching later.  But it could occur any time a machine is either removed from the network, or shut down improperly.

The reason this happens is that the license server machine does not detect that the client side of the connection has been terminated.  This is an unfortunate aspect of TCP/IP, and it will vary on different platforms.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem – the TIMEOUT option in the ISV options file.

If this happens only on a single product, you can add a line similar to the following:

TIMEOUT 3600 the-one-product-with-the-problem

This would cause licenses for “the-one-product-with-the-problem” to be timed out after 1 hour of inactivity.

Alternately, if this happens to many products, you could add the line:

TIMEOUTALL 3600

This line would cause all products from this ISV to time out after one hour of inactivity.

Either of these lines would be added to your ISV options file – by default “isvname.opt” (where “isvname” is the ISV server name), contained in the directory with the license server binaries.  Alternately, you can specify any option filename you like on the ISV line in the license file.   Don’t forget to do a reread on the license server after you edit the options file.

One last thing – your ISV can control the minimum timeout time for any individual product.  By default, this is 1 hour in RLM (3600 seconds).  However, if the ISV specifies:

min_timeout=xxx

in an individual license, then that minimum time would apply even if you attempt to set a shorter timeout time.

Reprise Announces License Usage Reporting Toolset

Reprise Announces License Usage Reporting ToolsetReprise Software has expanded its product line to address license usage reporting and pay-per-use needs of current RLM and FLEXlm/FLEXnet ISVs.

Reprise Software has recently become a global reseller of LicenseTracker’s LT-Analyzer license usage analysis tool enabling your customers to understand their license usage and for you to implement usage based pricing models.

This new product supports both RLM and FLEXlm/FLEXnet. RLM’s report log format is supported as is, and FLEXlm ISVs can take advantage of this new product simply by integrating a small piece of open source enhanced reporting code into their existing FLEXlm/FLEXnet vendor daemon.

By delivering reporting tools, ISVs can let their customers produce license usage reports to support current pricing models. Reports can be used as hard evidence to support fact-based software pricing negotiations, especially at the largest customers.

Usage based pricing can complement current license models.  Time or some other metric that fits your licensing strategy can be measured to ensure that customers pay for what they use.

This tool also allows end customers to assign costs to licenses and to monitor usage versus a set budget, and to assign costs across departments or business units who share common pools of floating licenses.

For those ISVs planning to host license servers for “in-the-cloud” customers, LT-Analyzer can be used in-house to collect license data to produce billing reports based on actual cloud-based usage.

The LT-Analyzer product imports RLM report logs and/or enhanced debug log records produced by modified FLEXlm license servers. Useful reports are produced by aggregating logged usage data during the billing cycle.

Global licenses for LT-Analyzer are based on a scaled-revenue tiers, much like RLM and FLEXlm/FLEXnet.

Please contact Reprise Software for more information about functionality or pricing, or to arrange a demonstration.

RLM License Administration Bundle

RLM License AdministrationRLM License Administration Bundle for License Administrators and End Users

 

The RLM License Administration Bundle is designed to give license administrators everything they need to maximize their use of RLM-licensed applications, the bundle contains the most-current RLM license server, and a tool, “rlmtests,” to help with license server and network capacity planning.

The RLM License Administration Bundle includes some testing tools that let License Administrators answer questions such as:

  • How fast can my license server service license requests?
  • How many licensed users can my server handle?
  • What will my performance be if I double my current user population?
  • When should I split my license inventory into multiple independent license servers?

‘rlmtests’ is totally self-contained, creating the required test licenses and then starting a license server before it runs the tests, finally reporting the results on the screen. The rlmtests utility performs two categories of tests: checkout performance tests and server capacity tests.

With this utility, license administrators and other end users can be proactive about their hardware requirements, matching available hardware to expected needs and developing a plan for hardware acquisition to match the growth in users of RLM-licensed software.

The RLM License Administration Bundle can be downloaded from the RLM License Admin support page:  http://www.reprisesoftware.com/admin/software-licensing-downloads.php

How to Produce RLM Report Logs

SUMMARY: RLM license servers can produce detailed report logs of the license activity of your products. By default, these log files are turned off. This article will explain the potential uses of these report log files, what they are and how to tell your RLM license server to start producing them.

User Benefits

Users of products that use RLM license servers for floating or concurrent licenses use report logs for:

  • Proof of internal license compliance
  • Allocating costs across departments who share licenses.
  • Asset and maintenance cost optimization and budget planning
  • Entering into and monitor usage-based software licensing agreements

ISV Benefits

Software vendors benefit from report logs too. They can be used to:

  • Reconcile over-usage
  • Build post-use billing models
  • Produce audit reports to support future product pricing negotiations

How to turn on RLM Report Logs

There is nothing that the ISV needs to do.  The user creates an “options file” for each RLM ISV for which he wants to produce a log file, and adds this line to the file: REPORTLOG +file_path

Also, on the ISV line of the license file, the options file name must be specified.

Format (pre-RLM v9.0): ISV isvname isvname.exe isvname.opt

or

Format (RLM v9.0+): ISV isvname options=isvname.opt

 

Other RLM Report Log Features

  • Plain-text format is fully documented
  • Applications can ensure that report logs are capturing usage
  • ROTATE [daily | weekly | monthly | #days ], automatic log file rotation
  • Feature names mapped to “product names”
  • Authentication to ensure report data integrity
  • Anonymized – ensures user privacy
  • ISVs can write their own report log records
  • 3rd party RLM reporting tools are available from Reprise Software partners

For more information about RLM report log and its format specification, please review the RLM End User Manual.

Format (pre-RLM v9.0):

ISV isvname [isv-binary-pathname [options-file-filename [port-number]]]

Format (RLM v9.0+):

ISV isvname [isv-binary-pathname [options-file-filename [port-number]]] [binary=isv-binary-pathname] [options=options-file-filename] [port=port-number]

Advanced End User Reprise License Manager (RLM) Administration Tutorial Series

Advanced End User RLM Administration Tutorial Series

Reprise Software continues its series of regular on-line tutorials designed to help users maximize the value of the Reprise License Manager (RLM). These sessions are designed for system administrators and ISV tech support people.

This third session will be conducted by Reprise Software’s lead software developer, Bob Mearns, who has over 15 years experience developing and supporting license manager software.

The 40-minute session is scheduled for Tuesday October 12th at 8AM PDT (GMT-08). This session will focus on RLM license server administration and optimization in a multi-server environment. It will specifically address:

  • License server administration of multi-server sites
  • Connecting to multiple license servers
  • Connection and Idle Timeouts
  • Server to Server License Transfers
  • License Queuing
  • RLM’s environment variable settings

For more information about the tutorial series, please contact Mr. Cody Crider at [email protected]

License Server Deployment: Local or Web-Based?

Which is Better for Your Customers?

As license management technology has evolved, so has Internet-based networking and the ability to locate various clients and servers at physically distant locations.  But are “distant” and “remote” always best for a software vendor’s customers?

Let’s look at some of the thinking that could go into the decision on how and where to locate license servers, and what that means for a software vendor’s choice of license management technology.

First off, it’s best to look at the question of server location in the context of a specific type of end user.  Clearly, not all software is best managed with license servers, either local or across a WAN or the Internet from its intended users.

Software that is best deployed with license servers is typically low-volume and high-dollar-value software, such as is used in various engineering fields (mechanical CAD/CAM, chip design or “EDA”, oil and gas exploration, video production, etc.)  So, it goes without saying that the nature of these software products, and their value to the organizations buying licenses for them, demands near-instantaneous, secure availability of those licenses, as well as the ability to easily report on their usage.  In fact, this model is where the term “software asset management” is derived: non-tangible yet hugely valuable software licenses that are treated by end user organizations just like any other important, valuable physical asset.

Given that high-value software licenses must be always available, secure and reportable, where should the servers hosting those licenses be sited?  On the end user’s Intranet?  Across a WAN?  Across the Internet?

At Reprise, our experience going back over 20 years leads us to think that the physically closer you can site license servers to their intended users, the better.  Also, the fewer network devices you can put between the user and their license(s), the better.  While it can be argued that networking has only gotten better over the years, with more capable routers, higher-speed connections and better system and network management, as of yet no one has figured out how to remove Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame.  And the last thing your poor, harried user needs is Murphy messing with license servers at the eleventh hour of a big project, when that important software license had better be available.

Besides availability, control is obviously important in deploying license servers.  Large enterprise organizations dedicate individuals or even teams to keeping software licenses watered, well-fed and ready for their users.  Inherent in that is the capability to tweak individual vendor servers, or the main server itself, so that license reservations for groups or projects and reporting are all set up to maximize the users’ benefit.  So while moving all of this infrastructure across the Internet may seem appealing to the software vendor, be sure to ask your users what they would think of this.  Would your users still have routine administrative access to stats about server and license availability?  What happens when Port 80 is saturated when the next “gotta watch” video is posted?

While there’s a trade-off between configuring firewalls to handle non-Port 80 traffic and the immediate availability of Port 80, it’s our observation that most end user organizations want to dedicate ports and server hardware to serving valuable licenses, so that their users can get them when they need them.  And now, with the concept of license “refreshing” and re-hosting, a good hybrid deployment model is available to end users of license managed software.  Imagine–having the flexibility to easily move licenses from one server to another with the good availability of licenses served from a machine directly under the end user’s control.  What could be better!