Selecting the Right CAD Manager Tools


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Every engineer knows how important it is to have just the right tools to do the job. In modern engineering, many of these specialized tools are software products. This is no different for the CAD manager; his basic toolset includes license management software provided by the CAD vendor. This software is installed on CAD license servers and is used to grant and remove access and to monitor usage of the software. Most companies invest in concurrent licenses because of the high cost of licensing, creating a scenario where only one license is required for 3 or even more users. The CAD manager’s job is to ensure availability and a minimum of denials from the licenses available in the CAD license pool.

A Tool that really Gets to Grips with License Management

While the vendor-supplied license manager software assists in this process, the ideal software can make the CAD manager’s life much less stressful. License management software like OpenLM is specially designed to facilitate engineering license management. It enables the license manager to monitor and manage licenses for a whole range of software, not just the one product, as well as offering features that the vendor license management falls short on, such as license harvesting.

Improving License Utilization

Using OpenLM, the CAD manager can identify idle licenses that have been booked out and release them back into the pool. Where there is a mix of named and concurrent licenses, sometimes referred to as a “hybrid” model, the admin can ensure that the named licenses are being used productively and that named users are not drawing concurrent licenses, thus locking out 2 licenses (this is a licensing anomaly that happens with some products, and is not deliberate on the user’s part). Where denials of service do occur, the stress of having frustrated engineers complaining that they need a license is reduced with the OpenLM Agent, which alerts the user as soon as a license becomes available. This also helps the user, because he does not have to make repeated efforts to pull a license and can get on with something else until the system notifies him.

Reporting that Gives the Whole Story

While the license manager software provided by the vendor measures usage and costs of use, which is relevant where tokens are used, it is comforting to have another objective view of costs and usage which often has conflicting views of actual use. This can be used in discussion with the vendor’s account manager. Enhanced reporting on license utilization also provides evidence to take to management for situations where additional concurrent licenses are needed. Surplus licenses are easily identified and can be discussed with the vendor, either being swapped for concurrent licenses where the licenses in question are single user or discontinued altogether, resulting in cost savings in both instances. There are other monitoring aids, like an in-depth view of denials of service that helps identify whether the shortage needs to be managed or whether they can be ignored, because the user obtained a license shortly after the denial.

Simplifying Complexity with a Single View

Many engineering organizations have complex and scattered CAD setups; this can happen because of geographical constraints for a particular product, where regional licenses are required, or projects have their own licenses for the life of the project. Mergers and acquisitions and company history also create complexity, because there could be several CAD tools in the company portfolio, not just a single product. OpenLM allows the CAD manager to manage all the different tools and different pools and get a single overall view of the licensing landscape. This aids in rationalizing the product mix and consolidating license pools where possible, making for a more efficient and productive CAD/CAM/CAE environment. For more on this subject, please visit


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