Reserved Licenses in OpenLM


License reservation for FLEXlm is done using the Options File, where the license administrator specifies that one or more licenses are to be reserved for a specific user or group.

Reserving a license is a significant action and should not be done without weighing the consequences. By changing a license to “reserved”, the license administrator takes an expensive, floating-license and converts it to a less expensive, node-locked license. Reserving a license prevents access to anyone but the designated user(s).

Because of this, license reservations should be considered thoroughly. Each minute that a reserved, node-locked license is not in use is a minute where the same license could have been used by someone else as a floating-license.


How FLEXlm displays reserved licenses #

Here is FLEXlm’s output for a license reservation that is not 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 you can see, a reserved license is shown by FLEXlm as in use regardless if it’s actually used or not.

When a reserved license is in use, its allocation will not change, but the license manager output does:

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 user session has ended, the license will be shown as reserved again in the report. The license will continue to be allocated for that specific user only.

Licenses can be reserved per user, group, host, host-group, IP, display or project. Details about group or host-group members exist only in the Options File. Group details do not appear in the license output.


FLEXlm reservations in OpenLM #

OpenLM shows the number of license reservations directly. Users can also see if a reserved license is used or not as they do with FLEXlm.

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 “reserved user”) that has the following format:

FLEXlm_Reserved_<Entity Type>_<Entity Name>

E.g. FLEXlm_Reserved_U_rachel

Entity Name is a letter that denotes any of the following values:

“U” for user

“G” for group

“H” for host

“HG” for host group

“D” for display

“I” for IP address

“P” for project

A reserved license is considered fully utilized (100%) when the user or group consumes the license all of the time and no records of reserved sessions are shown in the system. The more reserved sessions there are, the higher the probability that the reserved license is allocated but not actually consumed (utilized).

A more accurate picture of license allocation can be achieved using the License Usage report while adding the created reserved user to the Users filter. If the report shows constant usage higher than 1, the license administrator can decrease the number of reserved licenses for that entity and thereby free up licenses for the benefit of all other users.

Additionally,  there is an “Exclude Unconsumed Reservations” checkbox. This means that the report can be viewed in both ways: if it is unchecked it will display the total number of consumed licenses + all reserved licenses (regardless if they’re in use or not). If checked, the report will include the total number of all consumed licenses but exclude reserved licenses that are not in use.


A Real Life Example #

Let’s consider the following example:

A small company has 5 concurrent licenses for the “Viewer” product. The company has more than 5 users that need to use this license but it is absolutely necessary that the engineers group have 2 licenses available at all times.

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 2 Viewer licenses reserved for the engineers group at all times.

A month goes by and the License Administrator uses OpenLM to generate the License Usage report for the “Viewer” product.


Option A – Number of used licenses never reaches the maximum

In this scenario, over this past month, the number of used licenses never reaches the maximum of 5 licenses:

This means that every user (engineer or not) that ever needed a license always had access to one. In this case, when the license renewal date is due, the License Administrator should generate the report and check. If the number of used licenses never reaches the maximum available amount, he should consider switching to a license agreement with a lower amount of licenses.


Option B – Number of used licenses reaches the maximum

In the second scenario, over the past month, the number of used licenses reached the maximum of 5 licenses. When checking OpenLM’s Denials report, the License Administrator may even see that there are some users (engineers and others) that were denied access to licenses when they needed them:

Now the License Administrator needs to drill down further and investigate the data.

As mentioned above, OpenLM creates a special user for reserved licenses. In this case, it is named: FLEXlm_Reserved_G_engineers. This user session is recorded whenever the corresponding reserved licenses are NOT consumed (in use).

Now, the Administrator can filter the License Usage report by this user and analyze the results:

If no usage has been demonstrated for that user, it means that the reservation is fully utilized – there always was someone from the “engineers” group who used the licenses. This, along with an analysis of the Denials report for the “engineers” group, may lead to the conclusion that more licenses are required to ensure that nobody gets denied when they need access to a license.

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


In this case, the License Administrator can deduce that since usage level was at 2 for a considerable amount of time, one reserved license for the engineers group was not being used. Meanwhile, other people who needed that license and could have accessed it, were denied. Here the License Administrator may consider reducing the number of reserved licenses for the engineers group.

A third possibility is that the reserved user does not have any (or minimal) usage during the stated period.

This, combined with OpenLM Denials report, may suggest that the engineers don’t have enough licenses. Here, the License Administrator may consider increasing the number of reserved licenses for the engineers or even switching from the expensive, floating-type licenses to single use/named licenses.


Summary #

Reserved licenses are licenses that have been withdrawn from a pool of floating licenses and then allocated (node-locked) to specific users. If they are not managed and monitored correctly, it can lead to situations where a license is reserved for a particular user/group but is not actually being used, leading to mismanaged resources and an increase of costs. Fortunately, OpenLM offers you the tools to find out exactly when and where this waste occurs.

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