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License Management and Monitoring using X-Formation License Statistics

windchill features best plm software
Written by SPK Blog Post
Published on June 13, 2011

license management tool
Over the past year, I have been doing a lot of work with clients who use high-end CAD and/or EE software tools from respected vendors like Cadence, Synopsys, and Mentor Graphics. The majority of these software tools require a license server to be setup on your local network, and you purchase a number of floating licenses, or possibly you purchase a permanent license and node-lock the license to a specific user or workstation. One of the biggest challenges with these licenses is managing them. If users are complaining that they can’t get a floating license because they are all in use, you need a way to justify to upper management that purchasing more licenses is a worthwhile investment. One way to accomplish this is by using a license monitoring tool such as PHPLicensewatcher or X-Formation License Statistics.

What are the differences between the 2 products?

PHPLicenseWatcher is a free PHP-based web monitoring tool for FlexLM-based licenses only. It provides a nice graphical web-based interface to see the status of your license servers and licenses in use and expiration dates. It also has the ability to send warning emails when a license or feature is about to expire. You can configure unlimited amount of servers and licenses, as long as they are FlexLM-based. This tool also provides some minimal usage history, but lacks in some areas when it comes to fine details of usage. For example, you can’t see how often and how long a certain user has checked out a floating license. For basic license monitoring, however, this is a great tool.

For more advanced license usage and monitoring, I highly recommend X-Formation License Statistics. This product provides a great user interface, easy to configure, and detailed reporting for all types of license servers. That’s right, you are not limited to just FlexLM license servers, you can monitor different types such as IBM LUM, Sentinel LUM, and Reprise License Manager (RLM). They offer up to 9 different types, and 14 different parsers. There a ton of cool features for this product, but I will point out a couple that caught my eye when I was setting this up for the first time.

  • Real-time usage information via the Dashboard: This is critical if you need to quickly find out why a certain license is not being able to be used. Is the server out of licenses? Is it down? All of this can quickly be seen from the Dashboard screen.
  • Ability to export data to several different formats (PDF, Excel, CSV, SQL). This is really great if you want to take a graph that you generated and export it to a PDF for a presentation or in an email justifying purchasing of more licenses.
  • License server status notification. You need to know if your license servers have gone down for some reason. This tool provides the ability to receive an email to notify you when a license server is not responding or not functioning, or has expired.
  • Easy to configure. Within 15 minutes of installing the product, I had configured 8 license servers and products and was receiving data regarding them. That is true plug and play.

There are a whole bunch of other features as well. This product has installations for either Linux or Windows-based servers, so you can get some flexibility there. I found that installation on both platforms to be straight forward and easy. There’s also no need to install any 3rd party add-ons to make the product work.

Summary

License management and utilization is a big part of an organization’s success when it comes to software tools. If a user can’t do his or her work because they can’t obtain a license, productivity is lost. I’ve found that using X-Formation Statistics helps SPK deliver top quality IT management and service with regards to license management. The biggest ROI a company can have when it comes to these licenses is to see that they are being utilized effectively. From graphing and historical data reporting to real-time monitoring of license servers, X-Formation License Statistics provides everything you need to ensure your investment is worth it.

Have any experience with X-Formation, or want to know more about license management in general? Feel free to comment, and I’ll be glad to talk more about it!

Bradley Tinder
Systems Integrator
SPK & Associates

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