Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tip for usage of timeout to release network licenses

AutoCAD, ADT (now also ACA), Inventor and a lot of other products support the time-out feature for network licenses using FLEXnet/FLEXlm network license managers (from Microvision Acresso). Using this feature can save your company quite many licenses as you can see from this sample graph created with help of JTB FlexReport. If you don't use the time-out feature the usage might look like the blue curve but with the time-out feature on it can look like the green curve.



Tip for the CAD user

Don't leave a command running or a modal dialog box opened (a dialog box
which needs to close before continuing to other tasks) unless you need to work
in your application again within 15 minutes.

Make it a habit to check the above when you goes away from your desk, work
with other software's, talking on the phone, eating or taking a break for a
longer time than 15 minutes.

Tip for the IT/License/CAD Manager

Set the timeout to the minimum time, 900 seconds.

Use TIMEOUTALL so you don't forget to add new product features to the options
file at a later occasion.

Make sure that to inform your users about how license timeout works.

Make sure that you can supervise your network license usage with license
reports and statistics like what JTB FlexReport can provide.

Using timeout solves problems when licenses not return to the Network License
Manager pool for a long period of time after the connections with client
workstations are lost.

Idle Period

Any of the following activity in the active application prevents the client
workstation from being idle:

  • Any keystroke.
  • Any mouse click.
  • Any command, Lisp expression, menu macro or script in progress.
  • Any Modal dialog box opened (a dialog box which needs to close before continuing to other tasks).
Unfortunately the Automatic save (SAVETIME system variable) functionality triggers a command activity. Thus it can take longer time than the minimum timeout before the license is available for others. It may be needed to increase to larger value than the timeout.


Setting license inactivity timeout

You can configure the license manager to
automatically reclaim inactive licenses after a specified time. Inactivity is
defined as an idle product with no commands issued in the specified time. Users
will be given the option to save their current drawing if a license is revoked
by the license manager for inactivity. Note: Time is specified in seconds
and the lowest acceptable value for these options is 900 seconds (15 minutes).

TIMEOUT [productfeature] [seconds]

TIMEOUTALL [seconds]

The following examples set inactivity timeouts of
15 minutes for AutoCAD 2007 and all respective products:

TIMEOUT 51200ACD_2007_0F 900

TIMEOUTALL 900


Creating the options file

  1. Create a new text file named ADSKFLEX.OPT. It is strongly recommended that you only use a plain text editor, such as
    Notepad, for editing options files.
  2. Place this file in the same directory as your
    Autodesk license file.   
  3. Perform a ReRead License File operation from the
    Start/Stop/ReRead tab in LMTOOLS. 
  4. Examine the debug log file to confirm that your
    options file changes have been implemented by the license manager.
To make sure that the Options file is read, you must stop and restart the
network license server. Follow these steps:

  1. Start LMTOOLS.
  2. On the Service/License File tab, make sure that the Configuration Using
    Services option is selected.
  3. Click the Start/Stop/Reread tab.
  4. On the Start/Stop/Reread tab, click Stop Server.
  5. Click Start Server.
  6. To confirm that the TIMEOUT option has been set, open the debug.log file.
    If the TIMEOUT option has been set you will see a statement similar to the
    example below:

    FEATURE 51200ACD_2007_0F INACTIVITY TIMEOUT set to 900 seconds
Number of seconds after which inactive license is reclaimed. The vendor sets a minimum value.If you specify a value for seconds that is smaller than the vendor’s minimum, the minimum is used.

The lowest acceptable value for timeout of MathWorks is 14,400 seconds (4 hours) and for IBM 7200 seconds (2 hours).


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