Autodesk License Cascading & Problem of Duplicate Version License Consumption


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Autodesk license administrators are very familiar with the concept of license cascading. This form of license selection, based on users’ needs and allocation costs, serves as a backbone for maintaining an optimal license utilization policy. This is particularly relevant for large organizations that maintain elaborated license deployment schemes.

What is Autodesk License Cascading ?

In a nutshell, cascading is designed to ensure that all users will consume the minimal ranking   licenses they need in order to do their work. When all lower-ranking licenses are being consumed, or when a user requires capabilities that are not available in the current product, the Autodesk license will cascade up to the next level, thus optimizing license utilization in terms of availability and cost.


The policy of cascading dictates a specific order upon which licenses would be consumed. For example:

  • Lower ranking single product licenses will be consumed before higher ranking single product licenses
  • Single product licenses will be consumed before Suite licenses
  • Premium Suite licenses will be consumed before Ultimate Suite licenses
  • Local licenses will be consumed before Global licenses

Please refer to Autodesk’s documentation for further information, and also consult the cascading sequence lists on Autodesk’s site.

What Does License Cascading NOT Cover ?

License cascading does not cover the usage of Autodesk products of different versions.

For some reason or another, some license administrators tend to confuse “previous license eligibility” with the benefits of license cascading.

I’ll explain:

When a user checks out licenses for two suite products, e.g. AutoCAD and Revit, the cascading mechanism may choose to consume a single suite license in place of the two mentioned licenses, to ensure maximal license availability. This is NOT the case for checking out products of different versions (e.g. AutoCAD 2016 and Revit 2017). That’s because products of different versions are not members of the same cascading sequence lists. Checking out products of different versions will always result in duplicate license consumption, even when done by the same user and on the same workstation.

So, What Now?

It is the license administrator’s task to minimize the effect of duplicate license consumption due to launching of products pertaining to different versions. Administrators try to restrict usage to specific product versions in various methods (e.g. Restrict usage to different workgroups, Uninstall and reinstall products on workstations, etc.). The problem with such approaches is that they are both sisyphic to the point of becoming infeasible, and do not exploit the benefits of flexible multi-version license usage.

What is required is a proactive approach that would enable users to check out the versions they require to the product licenses they need, but in the same time notify – or even prohibit – them from accessing products of other versions.

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