Borrowing FlexNet & FlexLM Licenses for Homeworking

Homeworking has been in the news recently, with many employers making plans for engineers to work flexibly from any location. Using the Flexnet BORROW function allows ‘floating’ server licenses to be ‘node-locked’ to a computer/laptop on a temporary basis and therefore used away from the corporate network.

The FlexNet license software provides the ability to BORROW licenses, however, the capability must be activated by your software vendor on the license file. Vendors normally provide this functionality ‘free of charge’, it just needs to be requested.

To check whether this has been activated, take a look at your license file. Example below:

INCREMENT NX11110 ugslmd 24.0 permanent 10 CompanyName SUPERSEDE user_info=”NX M-1 Dsgn (FL)” ISSUED=03-mar-2020 BORROW=2880 ck=66 SIGN=”1234″

In this example, the maximum period that licenses can be borrowed is 2880 hours (or 120 Days). License borrowing is disabled when the BORROW parameter is absent in the license file. The license BORROW period can be altered within the Flexlm Options file, syntax and rules discussed here, restricting some users from borrowing licenses.

Most vendors have built an interface for the Flexlm Borrow Utility, like the Solidworks Network Manager shown above. It easily allows you to select the license FEATURE and select how long you wish to borrow it for.

Note: The computer ‘borrowing’ the license must be connected to the License Server to create the transaction. Likewise, you must connect the computer to return the license if returning before the expiry borrow period.

Specific instructions for popular software can be found via thesem links; SolidworksAutoCAD (plus other AutoDesk products), Siemens (NX and Solidedge), Ansys, PTC CreoArcGIS, etc.

Are there any other options for homeworking?

Using the BORROW command changes a flexible floating license to node-locked, therefore reducing its flexibility. Most customers will only own 70 licenses per 100 users, due to usage ratios. In a situation where you need a large number of workers to work remotely, you would be better off developing VPN access for remote workers. This would allow the effectiveness of the floating licenses to continue but remotely, this does, however, require a constant connection, something that can be difficult when relying on WiFi in coffee shops!

Using LAMUM (License Asset Management with Usage Monitoring) as a dashboard for borrowed licenses.

LAMUM monitors all your license servers, providing managers and administrators information on usage patterns, license ratios and whether a BORROW policy should be enabled via Options files. We can report on Users that have borrowed license files and how long the duration has been.

In the image above, we show our LAMUM dashboard, highlighting a user ‘smoss’ on workstation ‘eda5’ who has borrowed the license for 120 hours and the date on which this was activated. In our included Asset Management module we can record which users are authorized to borrow licenses.

This post was based on this LinkedIn post by Paul Empringham, TeamEDA’s European Sales Director. Paul has over 20 years experience within the Engineering and CAD/PLM software industries. He was a consultant with Siemens PLM working with many of Europe’s most innovative manufacturers. Paul has also held management positions at a number of organizations running Engineering Application teams and delivering large PLM transformation programs. Outside of work, Paul is a Level 2 ECB Cricket sports coach and enjoys skiing whenever the opportunity arises.

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