What is Bentley license manager?


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What is Bentley licensing?

If we wanted to describe Bentley’s trust licensing model in one word, the word would be flexible. Engineers looking to manage and visualize live construction in two- or three-dimensional CAD design with Bentley Systems Microstation, or work with AssetWise have the option to purchase either a perpetual license, a term license, or a subscription, depending on short- and long-term demand.

Bentley Select is designed for organizations to get the most out of their perpetual licenses. Under this program, the vendor provides software updates, 24/7/365 technical support, and country-wide license pooling, alongside the option of annual software asset portfolio balancing. The latter will give SAM managers the option to exchange perpetual licenses for other Bentley software once per year.

Term licenses give organizations the flexibility to address short-term, most likely project-based demand for Bentley software licenses. The SELECT quarterly term licenses allow access to Bentley’s full software portfolio.

How OpenLM can help you?

Numerous customers have contacted OpenLM expressing their concern about losing control over software license checkouts. These customers complained that they were unable to handle cases of excessive license consumption, overuse, which resulted in unplanned expenditure or violations of licensing compliance.

OpenLM allows administrators to automatically intervene in the license checkout process, restrict overuse, avoiding unexpected expenditure and compliance violations.

OpenLM improves control and visibility of license consumption, while remaining independent of any particular vendor or license manager.

Organizations that use the SELECT Server license can benefit from OpenLM’s complementary services. This service adds capabilities that work with both the on-premises and cloud versions of the software.

The benefits of using OpenLM

  1. Avoids overspending on Bentley licenses, because it aids the management of the Bentley pooling system.
  2. Allows for direct control of license checkout events based on time, group, application, version, and other criteria.
  3. The OpenLM solution can release the license once the workstation is hibernating, preventing another Bentley bucket from being filled after the user leaves.

What factors to consider while choosing your Bentley Licensing?

There is a trend in the software market to go cloud, but Bentley Systems has its own unique approach to customers. One of the most established vendors of engineering software, Bentley stands apart with the variety of licensing choices it provides to organizations. Too many options may create confusion, so let’s dive into the Bentley licensing options and how you can monitor the software assets the organization decides to purchase.

Knowing exactly what type of license you need is key, because each model is tailored to serve a specific set of needs of the organization. When you know which application you’re going with, it’s also important to forecast the length of need, allocation of resources, and so on.

Why is it important to have Bentley software?

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used by engineers in a variety of fields: architectural planning, civil engineering, design construction and operations, process manufacturing, infrastructure projects, and electrical and gas utilities. 

Bentley Microstation may not have Autodesk’s AutoCAD market share, but they compete in the engineering software market for architecture, engineering and construction industry segments.

Bentley license manager
Image source: Enlyft

So, if your organization is using Bentley application to deliver and work together on architecture, civil engineering, transportation, and more projects, you must have Bentley as a software asset. 

How do you decide which Bentley licensing model to subscribe to?

The flexibility in Bentley licensing allows organizations to embrace the vendor’s solutions for the first time to start small and trade-up according to demand. As an example, you can start with Bentley Systems PowerDraft for 2D and purchase an upgrade to Microstation 3D if the project requires it. You can also move to OpenBuildings for BIM and pay only the price difference between the software asset the organization owned and the one it wants to add to its SELECT subscription.

Under SELECT subscription, Bentley allows its customers to rebalance their software asset portfolio once a year. This is a great opportunity to align the organization’s software needs to its short and long-term goals.

Let’s look at the Bentley software Subscriptions Options Available

Small and medium-sized businesses with lower IT budgets can opt for the VIRTUOSO subscription which costs $1995 per year. It comes as a named user license, but Bentley promises flexibility that matches the SMB’s project needs.

If the organization goes with the SELECT subscription, it has two options:

  • purchase a perpetual license for $6865;
  • choose the annual subscription, which costs $1299 per year.

The SELECT subscription includes the concurrent licensing option, country-wide license pooling, gives engineers access to Bentley’s entire product portfolio, and includes free software upgrades. Compared to the VIRTUOSO package, SELECT customers have the option to rebalance their Bentley software portfolio once a year.

Large organizations can negotiate a better Bentley license price by opting for the Enterprise package. They will get unlimited access to the whole Bentley software portfolio, global pricing, and daily rates, according to the vendor’s product page.

Perpetual licenses with Bentley SELECT

When a customer agrees to purchase perpetual licenses, they can maximize the use and value of Bentley software by sharing them across sites, country-wide. This is known as license pooling. 

This use case suits organizations with a large license base – you can consider one or more drafting offices or the like – where many engineers log into the software regularly, but not all concurrently.

Bentley Select server UI. Image source: Bentley

The SELECT licensing terms grant access to the Bentley pool to end users living in the same country. This simplifies license management, as you need one Bentley Select server per country. However, there are tricky situations where a global company may run into compliance issues as engineers work in multiple time zones. This is where OpenLM comes into the picture (more on that later).

Cloud Services Subscription (also known as CSS)

Bentley’s CSS end users have access to all applications, hosted and on-premises services, managed services, and cloud services. The subscription promises to solve the main challenge SAM managers face: aligning the software portfolio to the actual need of end users. Organizations are charged quarterly against the subscription balance. Unused subscriptions don’t have an expiration date.

A Cloud Services Subscription means unlimited access to AssetWise and ProjectWise servers, according to the vendor’s website. Organizations can opt for an unlimited number of on-premises SELECT servers for free, go with hosted services from Bentley, or proceed with hybrid architecture.

Enterprise License Subscription (ELS)

Tailored for large organizations, the Enterprise License Subscription (ELS) is billed annually. As we mentioned above, this package opens the door for global teamwork and collaboration with worldwide license pooling. This eliminates the risk of non-compliance in the case of an enterprise having offices spread across the world, although it comes at a price. However, Bentley charges only for the software engineers’ use.

Bentley’s license management falls short of preventing an end user pulling a license, even if the concurrent usage has reached the maximum specified in the license agreement. Also, it doesn’t inform the IT manager of licenses sitting idle.


This is a newer version of the ELS subscription. It is a custom solution that includes software, dedicated account management, and success plans tailored to large-scale enterprises with a global footprint. Importantly, your annual investment in Bentley technology will be significant, because E365 is available only to clients who plan to spend more than a certain amount.

Are you ready to start monitoring and managing the organization’s Bentley licenses? Contact OpenLM today!

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