Managing a large IT estate often with thousands of workstations and hundreds of software title is a complex operation. Bringing a tool like Snow License Manager helps shedding light on the situation. Often this gives the first corporate wide view on what is installed, what is being used and what assets and licenses are lying dormant. Great!
But it’s not. In most cases the first glimpse is either not properly focused, or is disturbingly skewed. We have seen first run reporting with compliance showing at 3%, when we’re sure we have the licenses and they should all be in the system. What can explain this?
This article gives some common answers, but is by no means exhaustive. I’m also restricting it to Autodesk specific issues but similar thinking can be applied to most software vendors.
Get the basics right
First thing is to understand both your environment and what you have purchased, then have them correctly imported into Snow LM:
1. Organisation – Do not simply use an AD dump, but create an intelligent presentation of your entire organisation, optimised for software and license management. Remember that different vendors pose vastly different criteria.
2. Discovery – Are all your PC’s reporting to Snow, using up-to-date agents and all the necessary scripts? If not, none of your reports won’t be accurate.
3. Agreements – Have you got current entitlement data and checked that all your software titles are registered with the vendor? If not, you should update the data as soon as possible. Incomplete data renders all subsequent reports incomplete.
4. Licenses – Are all your licenses correctly loaded to appropriate agreements, with accurate dates for maintenance contracts, restricted to correct OU and/or users? If not, you’re going to end up with large compliance cost figure and many unassigned users. Or worse yet all licenses are in a single pool which does not work at all for calculating compliance, Autodesk is very different from Microsoft.
5. Maintenance and Subscriptions – Pay special attention to agreement valid days. If your master agreement expires, it can render ALL licenses obsolete even if the individual contracts are still valid. Same applies to maintenance periods where stopped upgrade rights can seriously mess up your compliance.
Some common reasons to watch out for
Autodesk license rules
• Rules are not understood or correctly implemented in the estate setup phase
• Autodesk perpetual licenses are licensed per device or concurrent user. They are restricted per country and per legal entity (operating) company. No cross region or cross company use is allowed unless you have an ETR (Extra Territory Rights) or other corporate wide agreement that allow this.
• Autodesk subscriptions (rental software) is licensed per user and don’t have similar restrictions. They have, however, exactly same installation footprint on the target PCs which makes a mixed environment extremely difficult to manage IF NOT installed from correct software images obtained from Autodesk’s license management portal for each of your licenses.