Managing Your FLEXlm Licenses with Cacti and phpLicenseWatcher

So you are tasked with managing multiple FLEXlm based software license managers, but you want more than a dump of the current license information into a text file or in some horribly written and truly user-unfriendly Windows GUI. Then I have a couple of web based open source products for you, and while the installs are not the easiest they do offer some great insight into your license usage.

Managing Your License Servers

The first product is phpLicenseWatcher. It presents in a nice web interface all of the information that the command line as well as Windows GUI tool provides, and then some. Quoting from their website:

  • Shows the health of a license server or a group of them
  • Check which licenses are being used and who is currently using them
  • Get a listing of licenses, their expiration dates and number of days to expiration
  • E-mail alert of licenses that will expire within certain time period (i.e. within next 10 days)
  • Monitors license utilization

One of the biggest advantages of the product is that it allows you to monitor and manage multiple servers at once. It even includes the ability to graph your license use, but instead I would recommend the following:

Graphing Your FLEXlm License Usage

As you know I’m a great fan of the Cacti graphing system. Well thanks to the work of a user named pvenezia on their forums, he developed a fantastic template and script for graphing FLEXlm usage. The script allows you to monitor multiple license servers and graph the usage of every application on those servers.

What makes the Cacti based graphs of the FLEXlm servers so nice is that you can combine the data from multiple servers to give you an overall picture of your license use. For example we have multiple FLEXlm servers in different offices handling our AutoCAD use. Following graph shows an example of how I’ve combined the usage data from the multiple servers to show how each office is the licenses (note this is a custom graph create from the data from the referenced script and template).

I highly recommend these two open source solutions for helping you to monitor and manage your FLEXLm license servers and their associated products. It will help you to control your costs (i.e. knowing if you have too many licenses) and better manage who is using your software.

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12 Comments

  1. I think it’s a nice article. Good contribution. However it seems that these tools mentioned are limited to only show particular server statistics. They seem to be unable to deliver user statistics or let people setup auto-email when something happens (e.g. users using the licenses for too long) so it’s somewhat handicapped if you want to know a little bit more detail.
    Even though License Statistics is a comercial tool (http://www.x-formation.com/license_statistics/index.html) it’s capable of doing much more. E.g. you can track denied users, see which application is used the most, see which deparment takes most licenses and several other things.
    One bonus is that it’s much easier to install 😉 which we have benifitted from.

    — Poul

  2. Poul,

    You raise some valid points about tracking per user, and we have looked at the X-Formation product. As a commercial product it does offer some things that these open source solutions do not, but for a reasonable fee.

    I admit that we have not tried your product and probably will not because we do not need (at this time) the additional functionality.

    As for you claim of easier to install, I’ll have to take your word, but my two recommended products were both pretty easy to install for someone with a modicum of UNIX/Linux experience, and heck they’d probably work on a windows systems, but I haven’t tried.

    –ken

  3. Poul Damgaard

     /  October 4, 2006

    Actually we’re just a happy user of this software. I’m sure you’re right that it’ll work for Windows but in our case it only took 10 min. to get things working. Also one of the cool graphs is about license utilization which explains how much each license *really* is getting used. See http://www.x-formation.com/security_blog/archives/45-Understanding-your-license-usage-of-FLEXlm,-Sentinel-RMS-and-LM-X-applications.html
    Their support is really easy to deal with too so we feel we got alot for the money.

    Free choice is good however and one bonus point to the software you found is that it’s free. 🙂

    — Poul

  4. help required

     /  April 25, 2007

    Please let me know where i can find the installation guide for these 2 softwares.

  5. Dear help required,

    If you follow the links in the orginal post, they will take you to software sites for each of the products where you can find the installation instructions.

    If you need specific help installing I would suggest that you visit their forums or mailing list archives. Or post your question here and I’ll do my best to answer.

    –ken

  6. hi there!
    how did you manage to combine all those data in just one graph?

  7. As one of kids would say “It’s a mystery”.

    Just kidding. It was easy, just time consuming. I basically created a custom graph. You go to graph management, click the add button. Create a graph with no template or host. And then manually add the data sources and graph items you want.

    If you need additional detailed instructions let me know.

    Good Luck,
    –ken

  8. hmm..ok, that is working..more or les..no it’s not:(

    how did you find the right offset for the data?

  9. Another alternative is OpemLM, You can get a Free version suitable for one FLEXnet/FLEXlm server or reasonably priced version for bigger organizations.

    Oren

  10. Nice tool – Im using it …
    Can you give me a quick overview of how you made the custom / cumulative plots ? I want to make the aggregated plot similar to your graph / example above – for us 3 different lic. servers
    With thanks
    Alan

  11. You could either use the Aggregate Plugin, or create a graph by hand which is what I did. You just go to graph management, click add to start the process. While you might be able to use a template to get started, I just selected none as my template. From that point you give it a name and then start adding graph items. Let me know if you need some specific instructions, and I’ll see if I can write something up.

    –ken

  12. Josh

     /  February 13, 2015

    Did you ever post detailed instructions on how to set this up with multiple FlexLM sites?

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