Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monitoring Autodesk License Usage

Keeping track how many licenses the company has in use can be a challenge, especially if you utilize multiple license servers at different locations. When I first started at HMC they had configured a DOS script to query each license server and generate a text file. That's great if you only have one server and only need to identify usage at a specific point in time. Once you get into multiple servers or needing to sample throughout the day, then you will want to look at something like JTB FlexReport. It's a very powerful tool which allows you to sample usage at intervals throughout the day and record the values so you can start to build historical license usage. However, depending on your budget, you may not be able to go for the full version.

I'd like to introduce you to JTB FlexReport LT which is a free, lite version, of their full tool. I'm immediately putting it to use as I can now query every server with the click of one button instead of using multiple scripts for each server. Here's how it works.

Licenses to Report on:
Setting up the servers you want to query is the first step. A simple @servername will do. Replace servername with the name of your specific server. Description is optional, but you can see that I chose to add one for each server (names have been removed to protect the innocent).

Adding the correct feature codes is really simple. Clicking item (1) "Add Features" will query the license files and list all possible feature codes that can be reported on. Due to the nature of our license files, I needed to exclude what it found by placing a check mark next to the individual entries for specific releases of products and only reporting on the main feature codes - see item (2). Then for item (3), I gave a brief description of the features I wanted to query. Then click Save Settings button - item (4) - to save your changes. Lastly, click item (5) - Show HTML Report - to display your report.

HTML Output sample
Below is a sample of the output generated by the program and quickly gives us feedback on what is getting the most use. Here is a breakdown of the data presented (with names/numbers removed to protect the innocent):

  1. Expand or Collapse license servers will quickly show you all users pulling licenses from each server. In my list of Servers, I've simply clicked on the heading for the first server to see what is in it (see #4). The Expand/Collapse buttons will get every server expanded/collapsed.
  2. Show/Hide users will allow the servers to remain expanded, yet hide the users pulling licenses and simply display the features you've asked to query for that are active on that server.
  3. Aggregated Usage will display the totals for all servers combined at the very end of the report (see #7).
  4. License Server Status = Individual license server details. This shows what licenses are on it and who is pulling which licenses.
  5. If there is an error with one of the servers queried, it will be displayed here. In this example, the server queried runs multiple vendor daemons - one for Autodesk licenses and another for SmartBIM, which is currently being indicated as being down for service (yes, that's daemons, not demons, although the complexity in license files sometimes warrants the nickname).
  6. Another type of error can be indicated, in this case, the license server simply hasn't been setup yet for the office queried. 
  7. Aggregated usage - this is where I really get the benefit from this tool. I can quickly see from a firm wide standpoint, how many licenses are in use, how many are available and a quick % of utilization.

In Summary
JTB FlexReport LT is a very versitle tool in itself and quickly provides you a snapshot of what is going on with your licenses at any given moment. As it's free, I'd highly recommend you take a look at it if you use network licenses. You may even decide in looking at it that you would want to give the full version a try. In that case, I would suggest to contact JTB World to inquire more about the full version and its capabilities that go far above and beyond what the LT version does. Personally, I'm hoping to get the full version sometime early next year.


  1. Thanks a lot for the nice review Steve!

  2. For the Win, Mr. Bennett! I was looking for a routine exactly like this one!

  3. You're welcome Jimmy!

    Jonathan - Glad you will find it useful! I already am.