License Management is a common requirement for a systems management solution, but is once again an area where what you get can differ greatly between products. Most all products will allow you to specify license information against your Software Inventory. Where things begin to differ is just what doing so gets you. At the low end, license management means simply running reports. As we move up in functionality, products are able to track the usage of software and help you rationalize that against your purchases licenses. This is referred to as Passive Software Metering. With passive metering, usage is tracked and then you can run reports to retroactively determine if you have purchased too many or two few licenses. Finally, there is Active Software Metering. With active metering, concurrent usage of license are enforced to prevent license violations.
Active Metering may come off sounding like a better feature than it is. Most software is not sold per concurrent user, so it would be a violation of the license agreement to purchase say a dozen licenses, install it on 500 machines and then limit its use to twelve people at a time. This is called concurrent licensing and is typically not how software is licensed. Rather, software is typically licensed per installed computer. Here some trickery can be employed to get concurrent licensing by only having it installed on those twelve systems at a time. It would work like this: every time someone tries to use an application, the system checks for a license and, if one is available, the application is installed on the computer and launched. When the application is closed, it is automatically uninstalled and frees the license for someone else. Alternatively, the application may remain installed until it is requested by a user and no licenses are available– at which point the system can determine where it is not being used and remove it prior to installing it on the new system. No matter if managing the execution of the application, or the dynamic installation and removal of the application, it has the potential to stop people from doing their work which is often unacceptable.
License management is often a feature a seller of systems management solutions will focus on because it can provide a rapid return on your investment (ROI). You can save money by not renewing maintenance on licenses you don’t use, and you can avoid potential fines and the pain that comes with a failed audit. In some cases, you may be spending so much more than you should on software licenses that you can quickly offset the cost of purchasing a systems management solution.
Taking license management a bit further, is Software Asset Management. This term refers to managing the inventory, the license and tracking the purchases and renewals of their contracts. It typically requires a robust software inventory solution with a software catalog.
This is one of many systems management features covered here at AppDetails. When considering what features are important to you, we recommend you also contemplate the importance of a strong software inventory, application deployment, an intuitive user console and other systems management features.
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