A while ago, we wrote a blog post entitled 101 license models. Since that time we followed up with posts on unrestricted license models and nodelocked license models. In this post, we will explore the third set of license models described in that post – the Floating License Models.
The Floating License Models
To review, floating licenses are the most commonly used license models. These licenses can be used by anyone who can contact the license server. The floating license models provide the richest set of license control. The floating license models we talked about are these:
- cached licenses
- computing environment limited
- customer name
- license type (beta, demo, eval)
- minimum use time
- shared by host
- replace other licenses
- soft limit
- shared by arbitrary data
- software version
- timeout restrictions
- shared by user
- VM enabled
Ways to use floating license models
Floating licenses are not generally locked to any machine – although they can be. They are served by a license server which is itself locked to the host where it runs. In other words, in general floating licenses work anywhere, but only up to the maximum concurrent license count imposed by the server. Floating licenses are the most popular licenses used by software publishers since they allow the maximum flexibility in pricing as well as day-to-day usage by end-customers.
The traditional, or “plain vanilla” floating licenses are by far the most popular of all. They allow a software publisher to sell more valuable licenses (often at a higher price) as compared to node-locked licenses. For the customer, the added flexibility to use a license on any client on their network provides significant extra utility and value, when compared to licenses node-locked to each client.
The other models listed are generally variants of the traditional floating license. By adding these attributes to the license, additional restrictions apply. Often a publisher will restrict the timezone where a license is available, or the platforms on which the software is allowed to run.
A named-user license is a special case of a floating license. It allows the customer to assign particular users to the licenses. Over time, these users can be changed, but not too often. This gives the customer the flexibility of a floating license model, but restricts the usage to the names on the list only, not to the general user population.
Finally, license sharing (for example, shared by host) allows multiple instances of the software while consuming a single license. In the case of shared by host, multiple instances running on the same host would consume only one license.
We will explore the last two License Models (Token-based and Metered) in future blog posts.