What is FLEXlm? What is FlexNet?


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FLEXlm software is a license management solution that allows software vendors to limit the number of software seats available to their users. FLEXlm supports different licensing policies such as Floating (aka Concurrent) and Node Locked licenses.
These type of software systems are also called DRM Solutions (Digital Rights Management). Other software with the same functionality are SafeNet HASP, SafeNet RMS and IBM LUM.
FLEXlm is used by a great variety of software vendors, such as ESRI, Autodesk, Mathworks, PTC, Ansys, Cadence and more.


FLEXlm was originally a joint development of GLOBEtrotter Software and Highland Software in 1988. GLOBEtrotter was then acquired by Macrovision in 2000, which renamed the product FlexNet.
In 2008 the company was sold to Acresso Software, and it’s name was changed to Flexera. The product was named Flexera FlexNet Publisher, but is still widely referred to as FlexLM. In 2011 the Canadian Teacher’s Private Capital fund acquired Flexera.

Flexnet License Manager operation

The general structure of the Flexnet license manager is shown below:

License server manager

lmadmin or lmgrd FlexLM daemons are supplied either by the licensed FLEXenabled application publisher or by Flexera Software. Its job is to communicate with the application, and receive the license request from it.It then passes the request to the vendor daemon.

Vendor daemon

Created by the publisher, and is unique to each FlexEnabled application installed on the network. It is the vendor daemon’s job to process the license request and to either grant it or deny it, depending on the number of available licenses, and predefined license usage constraints.

License file

Created by your software supplier, and holds detailed license information such as the quantity and time extent of the license

Trusted storage

Some publishers provide trusted storage as an encrypted alternative to using license files.

Debug log and Report log

FlexNet logs written by the license server manager (lmadmin or lmgrd), typically accounting the license check-outs and check-ins, and license denials.

Option Files

Files created by license administrators to restrict license usage to specific users or user groups.

OpenLM fully supports FLEXlm / FlexNet and 20 other license managers. It focuses on a wide array of CAD, GIS and PLM applications, such as AutoCAD, ArcGIS, SolidWorks, MATLAB, Mathcad, CATIA, progeCAD, Bentley, NX, Abaqus, NX IBM Rational, and many others.

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