Managing Reserved Licenses in OpenLM


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There are situations where a license administrator may decide to reserve one or more concurrent licenses for a specific user or group of users. Reserving a license is a significant action and should not be done unless strictly necessary. By changing a license to ‘reserved’, the license administrator takes an expensive, floating license and converts it to a less expensive and less valuable node-locked license. Locking a license as ‘reserved’ blocks it so that only the designated user(s) have access to it.

Utilization of reserved license designations should be done with care because of this limitation. Each minute that a reserved license is not in use is time where it could have been utilized by other users in the network.

The identification of whether reserved licenses are being used satisfactorily can be done using OpenLM. This needs some understanding of how FLEXlm reports on reservations. There is a differentiation between licenses that are lying idle and those that are in use, and the important metric is licenses that have been reserved but are not in use.

FLEXlm License reservation is allocated in the Options File; this is where the license administrator isolates licenses for a user or a group.

How FLEXlm Displays Reserved Licenses

The FLEXlm license reservations (for users or groups) declared in the Options File displays the following allocation when out of 5 licenses in the inventory, 1 is reserved for user rachel and none are in use:

Users of Viewer:  (Total of 5 licenses issued;  Total of 1 license in use)

 “Viewer” v10.1, vendor: ARCGIS

 floating license

       1 RESERVATION for USER rachel (

As can be seen, a reserved license is shown by FLEXlm as in use even when no one is using it.


When the reserved license is in use, the status is unchanged except for the reserved license detail line being replaced by the session details:

Users of Viewer:  (Total of 5 licenses issued;  Total of 1 license in use)

 “Viewer” v10.1, vendor: ARCGIS

 floating license

    rachel DELL x(<C;tQ%e;S (v10.1) ( 102), start Fri 12/25 11:40

When the session is closed, the status returns to that of the previous example.

Licenses can be reserved according to user, group, host, host group, IP address, display or project. Details about group or host-group members can only be seen in the Options File: details of groups do not appear on the license output.

FLEXlm Reservations in OpenLM

From version 4, OpenLM lets you view licenses in use either according to actual utilization or considering all reserved licenses as in use (the FLEXlm way). With actual utilization, the number of available licenses decreases only when a reserved license is allocated.

When a license is Reserved but not in use, OpenLM Server records a session (defined as a “reserved session”) with a dedicated username (defined as a “reserving user”) in the following format for user rachel:

FLEXlm_Reserved_<Entity Type>_<Entity Name>. E.g. – FLEXlm_Reserved_U_rachel

Entity Name denotes a user, group, host, host group, ip address, display or project and would have one of the following values:

“U” for user

“G” for group

“H” for host

“HG” for host group

“D” for display

“I” for internet

“P” for project

Because the reserved license is not available to users outside of its specified group or user, it is not fully utilized unless the user or group consumes the license 100% of the time, in which case no ‘sessions of reserved sessions’ are shown in the system. The significance of  ‘sessions of reserved sessions’ is that the reserved license is allocated but lying idle.

A more accurate picture of license allocation can be achieved using the OpenLM License Usage report with a filter of the “reserving user” name. If the report shows reserved sessions to be constantly higher than 1 (i.e. reserved licenses not in use), it means that license administrator can decrease the number of reserved licenses for that entity and thereby free up licenses for the benefit of all other users.

A Real Life Example

Let’s consider the following example:

A small company has 5 concurrent licenses of Viewer. The company has many users (more than 5) that need to use this license but it is absolutely imperative that the engineers will have a free license when they need it.

So the License Administrator decides to reserve some Viewer licenses for the engineers and adds the following lines to the Options File:

GROUP engineers natal efrat rachel chen richard

RESERVE 2 Viewer GROUP engineers

Now there are always 2 Viewer licenses reserved for the engineers group.

Let’s say a month goes by and the License Administrator uses the OpenLM “License Usage” report for Viewer.

Option A – No denials from the non-reserved licenses

In this scenario, during the the elapsed month, number of used licenses never reached the maximum of 5, and even if it did, no usage beyond that number was needed.

In other words, every user that ever needed a license always got it. In this case the license administrator should do nothing but when maintenance renewal is due, he should produce this chart again and recheck the situation.

Option B – Denials received when trying to pull non-reserved licenses

In this scenario, during the elapsed month, the number of used licenses reached the maximum of 5 and the OpenLM denials report shows there were users (engineers and others) that were denied licenses when they needed them:

Now you need to investigate and drill down into the data.

OpenLM displays a virtual user for reserved licenses, the name being constructed from the group name – in this case FLEXlm_Reserved_G_engineers. This user is ‘in use’ whenever reserved licenses are NOT consumed.

The Administrator can now filter the same License Usage report by this user and analyze the results:

If no usage at all is seen for that user, it means that the reservation was fully utilized – i.e. there was always a user of the engineers group that used it. If however, there are denials too, this indicates that the capacity of the concurrent licenses to satisfy the users’ needs may have reached its limit and the purchase of additional licenses should be considered. Users could also be booking out a reserved license and not releasing it when finished.


On the other hand, it is possible that there is usage for that user and it is continuous and not fragmented:

Where the ‘reserved usage’ is always 1 or more, there was one reserved license that was lying idle and unused by the group of engineers, while other users who could have used it were denied licenses. Here the license administrator should consider reducing the number of reserved licenses for the engineers group.

Another option is that the reserved user does not have any (or has minimal) usage during the stated period:


This, combined with OpenLM denials report, may suggest that the engineers don’t get enough licenses. Here the License Administrator may consider increasing the number of reserved licenses for the engineers or even replacing their concurrent expensive licenses with single use/named licenses.


Reserved licenses are floating (concurrent) licenses that are inaccessible to all but a select user or group of users. It is very important to monitor the utilization of this privilege to ensure that it is still required and is not being abused. OpenLM gives its users the tools to do just that.

From version 4.1 OpenLM allows license administrators to filter reserved licenses from the License Usage report so that the report can be viewed in two modes: the total number of licenses consumed overall including reserved licenses, or the total number of actual consumed reserved licenses.


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