Dots Connected #4: Have your licenses correctly configured!

7th of an 18-post series, this “Dots Connected” didactic article gives you the tools and process to check that your Flexera One ITAM licenses - heart of the SAM reactor - have been correctly configured to compute accurately license consumption. Following the guidance of the 3 previous "Dots Connected" posts, you can now trust your application and hardware inventory data: with this one, you will trust license consumption. Getting more and more value, keep going!

3/15/20244 min read

You'd better have the heart of the Flexera SAM reactor correctly configured!

Licenses are the heart of the reactor of Flexera One ITAM / FlexNet Manager. They could also be named “Software Counters”, as they don’t stand for the license asset (a right to use an application you may purchase or subscribe to), but the License consumption computing object that powerfully:

  • Reports and aggregates linked entitlements purchase orders. Key attributes of the Purchase Order lines linked to the license that will influence its behavior are the purchase type (nothing (= Software), Software, Maintenance, Subscriptions), the effective / expiry date that are associated to the “Has Maintenance” flag. For instance, a subscription purchase type will contribute to the license total entitlements of the license only when subscription is active.

  • Computes license consumption, prioritizing the optimal cases. When multiple licenses can “cover” and installation, the “best” will be chosen. Optimal cases are for instance, when application is supplementary in a bundle license, or when the title is the closest version (in case of multiple “version specific” licenses with no maintenance).

  • Applies license use rights that include a great variety of parameters (license type, Processor / Core rule, virtualization rights etc.) and can be tuned.

  • Allows restrictions, automated exemptions and allocations. Have a special look to the Intelligent restriction, allocations and exemptions that allow to you take a report as dynamic target. These three features are probably the most useful and simple licensing features that I designed as a Product Manager.

  • Can be multi product and apply sophisticated primary or supplementary logic.

  • Is created with a 3 steps wizard that will use the recognized SKUs logic or ask you the basic question: when applications (s), what calculation (license type). If you have no SKU, the wizard will suggest you license metrics (Windows “Server Datacenter edition, prior to 2016”, “DB2 Enterprise Server 11.1 Bundle” etc. So, don’t be scared if you have no SKU, you will decide with Flexera guidance.

  • Reports compliance by location, corporate unit or cost center. See the Group assignment tab or the License Consumed And Purchase By Location* documentations.

*This charge back report is the first of my reports that got productized

What can be wrong? First check through Recommended Licenses Changes (RLCs)

There are many ways licenses could not count the right way… which defeats the full purpose of a SAM project!

I mentioned earlier the SKU… SKUs can help a lot… and be wrong sometimes! A feature in ITAM allows to track the gaps between the current SKU definitions (from the latest Product Use Rights library (PURL)) and the actual license definition: The recommended License Changes (RLCs).

Is the bundle the right one? (super important and some fixes have happened over the time) Is the license type OK? Are some of the many attributes in the use right and rules inconsistent with what would be expected? The Recommended Licenses Changes make a diff between current state and expected state of a license and can implement changes upon acceptation in the RLCs page UI. See screenshot below.

RLCs can appear a little bit cryptic or massive sometimes (numerous Support tickets are opened on how to interpret these RLCs). One cause is that Recommended License Changes are calculated from a SQL diff performed on table level… some not exposed attributes may be suggested to be changed for instance… As well, linked applications are checked one by one, but not the upgrade / downgrade rights. Best is to analyze carefully the changes, accepts the ones that make sense, and check on the license the upgrade / downgrade on linked products.

Want to learn more?

I would recommend some of the recorded SAM Best Practices Webinar I delivered, that you can find in the Flexera Community

You can find the links to the 24 recorded Flexera SAM Best Practices Webinars in the "ITAM Best Practice Available in the Community" Flexera KB article.

Use the Licenses issues analysis report.

Ou can access this report through the SAM Operations Hub (“Are Licenses correctly created?” section).Can also be run from the SAM Operations folder of the saved reports. This report I developed in March 2023 brings a mix of transparency and issues analysis. Let’s start with the issues as this is the topic of the post!

Less topics are checked, but the reports saves you days of analysis where you would be opening hundreds of licenses one by one and would check data across multiple screens… the magics of SQL in action.

  • Named User license without upgrade rights. A named user license stands for a subscription… a subscription includes maintenance… maintenance implies upgrade rights.

  • Licenses without downgrade rights. This licensing situation is super rare, likely something forgotten when creating the license!

  • Inconsistent upgrade and downgrade rights across products. This is a frequent case when a bundle license has been extended (eventually trough accepting a RLC) without applying the same upgrade and downgrade rights.

  • Unlicensed installations related to primary applications of the license. The count is interesting and can identify installations “under the radar” without navigating back and forth between the license and the unlicensed installations screen.

The report also brings transparency on records that are critical to trusted software compliance and that can’t be found easily without opening the licenses one by one…

  • Last modification date and operator.

  • Covered products, to catch anomalies or unexpected bundles.

  • Licenses with overlapping products, to understand possible “competing” licenses.

  • Restrictions, automated allocations and exemptions by reports, exemptions by entities

Long story short, the most sophisticated and powerful object of Flexera ITAM deserves a powerful analysis report!