In my last article we discussed the basics of Autodesk Network Licensing and the overall benefits. Now we'll dive into several advanced license management features such as restricting users to specific licenses, license borrowing, and license timeout. Be sure to check out the previous article Benefits of Autodesk Network Licensing – the Time to Act Is Now.
The Options File
Access to your Autodesk licenses can be controlled with what FLEXnet refers to as an Options file. Please note the options file is actually an optional component of the system and is not required for normal or basic license operation.
How To Create the Options File
- Create a new text file named ADSKFLEX.OPT
Make sure windows is not hiding file extensions.
- Place this file in the same directory as your Autodesk license file. Generally "C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager"
Configuring the Options File
We're now going to go over the main commands that you can use to control your Autodesk licenses. For a complete list of available options please refer to the FlexNet manual.
Using a plain text editor, such as Notepad, edit the Options file.
Note: By default, windows computer names and user names are case sensitive unless the GROUPCASEINSENSITIVE ON statement has been added to the options file.
The following is the format for adding groups:
GROUP [groupname] [user1] [user2] [user3]
GROUP KETIV KRIEKJ CARLSONM ELIASONN
Now that we have a group defined we can more easily assign permissions, but it is possible to single out individual user or computer names if desired.
Now let's take our KETIV group and reserve a license for a specific product - in this case Autodesk Inventor Professional 2016. You can find product codes for Autodesk 2016 products here.
RESERVE [count] [productfeature] [type] [name]
RESERVE 3 86497INVPROSA_2016_0F GROUP KETIV
Here's a few more examples:
RESERVE 1 86497INVPROSA_2016 USER KRIEKJ
RESERVE 1 86497INVPROSA_2016 HOST KETIVCOMP1
RESERVE 5 86497INVPROSA_2016 HOST_GROUP KETIVTECH
RESERVE 1 86497INVPROSA_2016 INTERNET 192.168.0.100
RESERVE 5 48800ACD_2006_0F PROJECT KETIV_INV
The last example refers to a "Project" and here's how to define that for your users per machine.
- From the Windows start menu click "Settings > Control Panel".
- In Control Panel, double-click "System".
- In the System properties dialog box, click the "Advanced" tab.
- On the Advanced tab, click "Environment Variables".
- Under System Variables, click "New".
- In the New System Variable dialog box, enter LM_PROJECT for the Variable name and the project name for the Variable value.
- Click OK to close each dialog box.
Now we want to make sure that users consuming licenses are actually using them right? For this we can configure the NLM to automatically reclaim inactive licenses after a specified time.
Note: Inactivity is defined as an idle product with no commands issued in the specified time. Users will still be given the option to save their work if they lose their license and if claiming another one isn't possible.
Format: Time is specified in seconds and has a 900 second minimum.
Example: 7200 seconds (2 HRS)
TIMEOUT 86497INVPROSA_2016_0 7200
Creating Exclusions and Inclusions
So now how do we exclude a user, group, or computer from getting a license? Here's the command we need to issue in order to do that.
EXCLUDE [productfeature] [type] [name]
EXCLUDE 86497INVPROSA_2016_0F USER smithj
Sorry smithj, you can't access this particular Inventor now =)
Remember the "type" can be USER, HOST, GROUP, HOST_GROUP, INTERNET, or PROJECT and anyone not explicitly excluded will continue to have access to these licenses.
On the opposite side we have Inclusions and as you might have guessed anyone not explicitly included will not have access to the specified licenses. If you want to block license usage for only a few users you should consider using the EXCLUDE syntax we just went over.
INCLUDE [productfeature] [type] [name]
License Borrowing Options
One of the advantages of Autodesk Network Licenses is that you can enable your users to borrow a license on thier machine for a specified time where they may not have internet access or their connection to the server may be spotty.
- Creating Inclusions and Exclusions for Borrowing
So lets tell the NLM that we only want our field group to be able to borrow Autodesk AutoCAD Mechanical 2016. This means I'll also have to define that group because it didn't exist before.
INCLUDE_BORROW [productfeature] [type] [name]
INCLUDE_BORROW 86478AMECH_PP_2016_0F GROUP FIELD
Again the same rules apply - anyone not explicitly included will not have the ability to borrow the specified licenses. If you want to block license borrowing for only a few users, you should consider using the EXCLUDE_BORROW syntax below.
EXCLUDE_BORROW [productfeature] [type] [name]
Like most features "type" is flexible for USER, GROUP, HOST, ect.
- Creating Borrow Periods
We've now established the product and the group that can access it, but we most likely want to set a specific amount of time that the license(s) can be borrowed for.
Format: In hours
MAX_BORROW_HOURS [productfeature] [hours]
Example: 120HRS (5 days)
MAX_BORROW_HOURS 86478AMECH_PP_2016_0F 120
Activating the Options File
- Stop and Start the license server from the Start/Stop/ReRead tab in LMTOOLS.
- The NLM will automatically include the ADSKFLEX.OPT file. Examine the debug log file to confirm that your options file changes have been implemented by the license manager.
Wow, we covered a lot in this article! It's pretty close to being all-inclusive, but please make sure you at least skim the manual for a complete list - it's 100+ pages long ;)
Again be sure to check out the previous article if you haven't already:
Stay tuned for future articles on this subject as well as trends, tips and tricks, and best practices for the Autodesk community!