Switching License Managers

As Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) continue to adopt RLM in increasing numbers, we’re asked to provide advice on how to optimize the process, helping to ensure a smooth transition from another technology to RLM.

Correspondingly, we’ve also solicited our customers for their feedback about the process, and how we can help make it better.

Below is some of our collected wisdom on the subject of switching license management technologies.

You have a Range of Options

Just as ISVs have choices when deciding which license model to go to market with, there are a range of transition strategies from which to choose to move to RLM.  The variables involved include the number of licenses already installed in the field, the frequency with which you’ve upgraded licensing in the past and the complexity of your product line.

We’ve had customers switch out their legacy license manager and ship product with RLM in a matter of weeks.  Similarly, plans to move a complex product line with a significant installed base can take months just to get the plans in place to properly make the switch.  But the truth is, there’s no one “right” way to move to RLM.

It’s Not as Scary as you Thought–Really

Probably the first thing we’re asked when talking to ISVs is “how do I make the transition?”  While this is certainly a valid question and something that needs to be done correctly, it needn’t take on mythic proportions.  After seeing customer after customer switch, what we can confidently say is, “it can be done and it’s probably not as scary as you might think.”

Some Technical Details

First off, there’s nothing preventing an ISV from adding RLM to whatever existing licensing scheme may already be in place.  Simply check first for an RLM license; if RLM licenses are not installed, the product can behave as it does already.  RLM can peacefully coexist with whatever technology is already there.  Regarding license servers and client-server communication, again, there should be no issues with all technologies living on the end user’s network in harmony.

In fact, RLM can detect the presence of a FLEXlm lock file and use that knowledge to prevent doubling the end user’s licenses–one (existing) set licensed with the old technology and another (duplicate) set licensed via RLM.  Since only one or the other server can run at the same time, only 100% of the end users’ licenses can be served.  This strategy can be the basis of a technical transition plan to RLM.

One way to look at a transition to RLM is that it’s much like an upgrade to whatever existing license management technology you may be using today: you’ve had to ship updates before.  Apply those procedures but simply include RLM-licensed binaries (and servers if necessary).

The Sales Pitch (Or, Why We Really Think You Should Do This)

We wouldn’t be here explaining how to move to RLM, and you likely wouldn’t be reading, if there weren’t benefits for both sides.  As we work to build a solid product, company and brand, we’re quite aware that we need to bring something extra to the table to be worth your time.  So what is it that we bring?  Probably the best way to summarize that is, “experience.”  Software licensing may appear initially quite simple.  Trivial, in fact.  However, after nearly 50 years of combined experience in the licensing industry, we can confidently say that while licensing may appear to be pretty simple 95+% of the time, it’s that 5% of the time that will make you comfortable that you have a team like Reprise and a product like RLM behind you.

Technologies, hardware/software platforms and business models change with time, and we’re right there, days or weeks, not quarters or years, away from supporting that latest “gotta have it”.  We’re here to help debug problems and turn around fixes, not just acknowledge the question, in days.

Ideally, software licensing works well, mostly in the background, helping keep everyone honest, improving revenue and not getting in the way.  But as we all know, with computers comes the capability to break things at nearly the speed of light.  When those occasional but critical problems do happen, we’ll be here to help.  Planning and executing a smooth transition from a legacy license manager to RLM is the best way to get started towards making things better for ISVs and their users.

Please contact us to explore how your company could switch to RLM.

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