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Autodesk FlexLM License Dilemma

In my last post [1] on this issue I opened the topic with the options that Autodesk provides with licensing.  My concern is that choosing one or the other does not allow me to cover my disaster  recovery needs.   If I go one way – I have troubles.  If  I go the other way – I have different troubles.

To recap – there is Distributed (a lic file in every office) or Redundant (three lic files on differing hardware to cover hardware failures)

Here is my concern… This does not address the real world issue of disasters.

Redundant is great for most disasters that impact hardware.  If a server fails – it rolls over to the backup server.  But it will not work for the most common, an internet outage between the home office and a remote office.

Please tell me how an individual office stays running in CAD or Revit if the internet connection to the home office is lost.  That happens all the time.  We have internet outages spread around our offices multiple times per year.  We have very high corporate level of reliability, but it happens.  We do not have DSL backup – that would help, but would cost us money.

Well – you say – Go to Distributed.  But this also has its drawbacks.

Distributed allows me to split out my licenses between offices.  But if an office goes offline, fire, flood, whatever, I have a dead license file on that server and cannot tell my people to go to another office and work.  The licenses are captive on the dead server.  I can request a replacement lic file and ADSK is fairly quick, but even if it took only one hour, that is one hour times the number of licenses locked.  30-40 hours of dead time while I wait for a new lic file.

Redundant is best for sharing centrally located licenses, but Distributed is better to insure local access.

My request…

I am looking for one central license file that fails into distributed mode upon loss.  No need for a redundant backup – the distributed files are our backup.

By allowing one lic file to contain all of our seats that fails over to a local lic file that is limited, I think we can achieve what I am looking for.  This would allow each office to work from a local lic until the connection is restored back to the home office.  Worst case is that we are temporarily over our seat count within a maximum of 8 hours until we get the main lic file back online.

ADSK has offered a tricky, fragile and hard to create and manage system of Options files, but that is way to much trouble in my opinion.

Come on Autodesk – can you help me out?  Can you get something better than what is offered now?  I need to stay within my legal seat count without undercutting my ability to keep doing business.

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3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Autodesk FlexLM License Dilemma"

#1 Comment By Jimmy Bergmark On 2009/09/21 @ 5:50 PM

Great post on a common problem.

#2 Comment By Doug Webb On 2011/03/24 @ 4:33 PM

Thanks for that validation Mark. I too was hoping for that solution. Set it and forget it. Better yet use Bentley’s time out feature, something like 30 days I believe.

#3 Comment By skatterbrainz On 2011/03/25 @ 6:39 PM

Another option would be an automatic “borrow” for up to X hours. But that would only work for the vendors if there were constraints to prevent repeated abuse of this (keep in mind that it’s always in the view of what the vendors feel COULD be abused by unscrupulous customers). Maybe something like an automatic borrowing for up to a max of 2 or 3 hours and only once per 30 days. That way customers couldn’t keep killing connectivity and allowing additional users to borrow more than the total allocation. This was a problem early on that resulted in Autodesk blocking the borrow feature entirely until they fixed a bug in lmgrd that forgot borrowed licenses upon a sudden server reset (flexlm 9 I think). In any case, I’m glad I’m not the only one that has concerns about license management and fault tolerance. Good article and your site is fantastic!