Multi-Server Software Licensing
With the advent of network-based floating licenses over 20 years ago, end users of licensed software had a new and innovative way to purchase software. Now purchases could be based on the number of actual users, not just potential users, of a given application.
Of course with this flexibility came the need for the end user to do some work–setting up license servers on their network. But once again, the value to all involved more than outweighed the additional work, and a new licensing model was born.
Ever cheaper computers and networking gear resulted in more dispersed yet better-connected enterprises. This of course meant that end user organizations no longer had “a” server, but rather many.
An important but easily overlooked aspect of a software license management system should be its support for and use of multiple license servers. The customers of software applications typically have more than one server machine on which to deploy license servers.
Maximize License Utilization
Support for more than one license server is critical to the end user organization that wants to ensure the highest utilization of its precious software assets. Nothing is more frustrating to an end user than knowing that a license is sitting, unused, on a remote server, but being unable to access that license.
Without significant software work-arounds, older license management technology could be locked into getting licenses from only the first server it encountered, meaning valid licenses potentially sat unused on a remote server.
But really, shouldn’t all this multi-server stuff be built into your license manager?
Avoid Server “Lock-On”
Be sure to ask your license management vendor how they deal with the server “lock-on” problem. A better approach is to use a license manager with virtual license pools, formed automatically by the license manager. Virtual license pools know about all the licenses on all the servers at the end user’s enterprise, with no extra work required other than specifying them. The use of virtual license pools also relieves users from having to set up complicated and finicky redundant server triads, too, since no extra work is needed to find geographically-dispersed licenses.
Virtual license pools help both software vendors and their end users get the most out of license management. Make sure the licensing technology you use supports them!