Concept: Automate License Acquisition



  • The discussion on failover licenses today got me thinking... why would anyone buy unneeded licenses "just in case" since you can buy them as you need them, anytime. It's not like having hardware that takes time to get into place, set up, etc. All you have to do is buy and... done.

    So here is an idea. What if you had a system, such as a server to server failover system, that detects a fault situation and, when a new license is needed, hits an API with your license vendor (Softmart, CDW, etc.) and authorizes the acquisition of the appropriate license. The script then waits for a "confirmation" signal and continues on with the failover. This could, in theory, reduce license acquisition to minutes or even seconds allowing a failover system to, in the rare case that it is needed, failover automatically and almost instantly without needing to buy any licenses that are not actually needed for the scenario at hand.

    Same kind of thing could apply to VDI and other auto-provisioning scenarios as well.



  • Interesting, what i could see happening is this is setup and then many months down the line credentials have changed and the auto acquisition fails. Then does it prevent the failover from occurring or do it continue after a set timeout and cause you to be not compliant on the licenses.



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Interesting, what i could see happening is this is setup and then many months down the line credentials have changed and the auto acquisition fails. Then does it prevent the failover from occurring or do it continue after a set timeout and cause you to be not compliant on the licenses.

    You'd still have it email everyone involved so that everyone knows it is being attempted and both parties, vendor and internal (and maybe MSP) all know that the license is needed and can check into the process.



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Then does it prevent the failover from occurring or do it continue after a set timeout and cause you to be not compliant on the licenses.

    That would be scriptable. You could have it say it is attempting and continue the failover and send emails saying it has or hasn't gone through. Then you could be all over getting it purchased immediately. Like anything, not technically legal, but you can prove that you attempted it, put a lot of effort into buying it and as long as you completed the transaction immediately, no one would ever care that you crossed into a grey area for a few minutes. But you need to be on top of making people finish that transaction fast and not letting it slide.



  • @scottalanmiller Makes sense. Also could have multiple vendors in case one fails.



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @scottalanmiller Makes sense. Also could have multiple vendors in case one fails.

    True, but that would add a lot of complexity. One with email backup is likely quite adequate.



  • In fact, it should be the vendors like Softmart that make a script like this for this kind of use case 🙂



  • Im sure the vendors rather get the sales upfront 😉



  • So pretty much FlexLM with a true up for OS level stuff.



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Im sure the vendors rather get the sales upfront 😉

    Would rather, but they'd rather not lose the sales completely.



  • @stacksofplates said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    So pretty much FlexLM with a true up for OS level stuff.

    Yeah, or just "extremely rapid license acquisition."


  • Banned

    I love the idea, the simple question is how do you configure it. Per DR node to go out and purchase a license of said level?

    What if you aren't able to purchase that version license any more?



  • From my understanding FlexLM only handles managing floating licenses, it doesn't actually automatically purchase licenses.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    I love the idea, the simple question is how do you configure it. Per DR node to go out and purchase a license of said level?

    What if you aren't able to purchase that version license any more?

    It would be very case by case, I think. It could have guidance in it, or logic. Example...

    Script: I need Windows 2003 Server Standard

    Logic: If 2003 is needed, buy 2016 instead and downgrade rights.



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    From my understanding FlexLM only handles managing floating licenses, it doesn't actually automatically purchase licenses.

    But with a true up you could.


  • Banned

    @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @DustinB3403 said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    I love the idea, the simple question is how do you configure it. Per DR node to go out and purchase a license of said level?

    What if you aren't able to purchase that version license any more?

    It would be very case by case, I think. It could have guidance in it, or logic. Example...

    Script: I need Windows 2003 Server Standard

    Logic: If 2003 is needed, buy 2016 instead and downgrade rights.

    Can you get downgrade rights that far spread?



  • @stacksofplates said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    From my understanding FlexLM only handles managing floating licenses, it doesn't actually automatically purchase licenses.

    But with a true up you could.

    Not sure i follow.

    I have several floating licensing servers and none provide any automatic purchasing feature.



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @stacksofplates said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    From my understanding FlexLM only handles managing floating licenses, it doesn't actually automatically purchase licenses.

    But with a true up you could.

    Not sure i follow.

    I have several floating licensing servers and none provide any automatic purchasing feature.

    A true up would give you the ability to use as many as you wanted and then pay at a later time. We have a big contract with a software company and we can essentially use as many licenses as we want but we take hourly snapshots or our licenses being used. Then it's reviewed every 6 months or so and if we are over what we signed up for we pay the overage.

    FlexLM let's us set hard limits so we can control it but we could use as ma y as we want.



  • @stacksofplates Oh cool I assume that is all automated? The snapshot and then the review at 6 months?



  • @tiagom said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @stacksofplates Oh cool I assume that is all automated? The snapshot and then the review at 6 months?

    We have to submit the review but other than that ya it's all automatic.



  • "Backup" or "failover" licenses is something I have never understood. Like you said, more licensing can be purchased extremely quickly. Often the approval takes longer than license acquisition.

    I honestly thought my previous boss was joking when he asked me to look into it... Until he said he was serious and we talked about it... We didn't get failover licenses.



  • @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Often the approval takes longer than license acquisition.

    Then that is a manager deciding that being down is more important than paying for the license, even in the heat of the moment while the outage is happening. If that happens, it proves that the company felt that the lowest possible cost for risk mitigation was not worth it so the license and the failover should not happen. Easy peasy.



  • @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    "Backup" or "failover" licenses is something I have never understood. L

    Basically there is no such thing. Feeling that there is is what makes it confusing. All usage of Windows is... well.. usage of Windows. So if you use it, you have to license it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Often the approval takes longer than license acquisition.

    Then that is a manager deciding that being down is more important than paying for the license, even in the heat of the moment while the outage is happening. If that happens, it proves that the company felt that the lowest possible cost for risk mitigation was not worth it so the license and the failover should not happen. Easy peasy.

    I should have specified. We'll be trying to buy something, whether that is hardware or software... After we vet the product and state the reasoning, it goes through a lengthy approval process. In some networks, I would say "If we upgrade the software, it'll break this over here.. so we need to upgrade that software before we do anything else. It costs X amount of money." Manager says it'll be taken under consideration... Some time passes and the software is beyond its point of being supported and we run into an issue where we have to contact the company. But they won't talk to us until we pay them quite a bit of money for the upgrade... then all of a sudden it's quickly cutting a check for $25k and a late night to upgrade that monster of an install.

    Apparently it's not important sometimes unless it's an emergency. Even if you're saying (for months) "This is important... Hey, this is coming down the pike, it's important..." :|



  • @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Often the approval takes longer than license acquisition.

    Then that is a manager deciding that being down is more important than paying for the license, even in the heat of the moment while the outage is happening. If that happens, it proves that the company felt that the lowest possible cost for risk mitigation was not worth it so the license and the failover should not happen. Easy peasy.

    I should have specified. We'll be trying to buy something, whether that is hardware or software... After we vet the product and state the reasoning, it goes through a lengthy approval process. In some networks, I would say "If we upgrade the software, it'll break this over here.. so we need to upgrade that software before we do anything else. It costs X amount of money." Manager says it'll be taken under consideration... Some time passes and the software is beyond its point of being supported and we run into an issue where we have to contact the company. But they won't talk to us until we pay them quite a bit of money for the upgrade... then all of a sudden it's quickly cutting a check for $25k and a late night to upgrade that monster of an install.

    Again, that's a manager making a VERY clear decision. Not a good one, but there is no such thing as "no decision." Not paying for needed support is the decision there. For whatever reason, the decisions maker(s) decided that that risk and cost was what they felt was a good idea.



  • @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    Apparently it's not important sometimes unless it's an emergency. Even if you're saying (for months) "This is important... Hey, this is coming down the pike, it's important..." :|

    Or they hope that someone else has to sign off on it. Often it is people putting the company's needs second and just playing politics. I see that a lot. But at the end of the day, someone at the top (CEO) has to make politics prioritized over corporate value. So even then, it's a decision.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    "Backup" or "failover" licenses is something I have never understood. L

    Basically there is no such thing. Feeling that there is is what makes it confusing. All usage of Windows is... well.. usage of Windows. So if you use it, you have to license it.

    I buy a license to run a single Windows server. That single server only runs on a single VM Host at any given time, excepting live migrations. Why do I need two licenses for this?

    Is that because I have two servers that could possibly run my single copy of Windows Server?



  • @dafyre said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    "Backup" or "failover" licenses is something I have never understood. L

    Basically there is no such thing. Feeling that there is is what makes it confusing. All usage of Windows is... well.. usage of Windows. So if you use it, you have to license it.

    I buy a license to run a single Windows server. That single server only runs on a single VM Host at any given time, excepting live migrations. Why do I need two licenses for this?

    Is that because I have two servers that could possibly run my single copy of Windows Server?

    Because the license that you mention does not allow the usage that you describe. Unless you also limit the live migrations to once every 90 days, you need one license per physical server, not just one overall.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @dafyre said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    "Backup" or "failover" licenses is something I have never understood. L

    Basically there is no such thing. Feeling that there is is what makes it confusing. All usage of Windows is... well.. usage of Windows. So if you use it, you have to license it.

    I buy a license to run a single Windows server. That single server only runs on a single VM Host at any given time, excepting live migrations. Why do I need two licenses for this?

    Is that because I have two servers that could possibly run my single copy of Windows Server?

    Because the license that you mention does not allow the usage that you describe. Unless you also limit the live migrations to once every 90 days, you need one license per physical server, not just one overall.

    Wow... I think that just pretty much eliminated me ever using a Windows Server for anything again, if I have any say in the matter!



  • @dafyre said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @dafyre said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @scottalanmiller said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    @BBigford said in Concept: Automate License Acquisition:

    "Backup" or "failover" licenses is something I have never understood. L

    Basically there is no such thing. Feeling that there is is what makes it confusing. All usage of Windows is... well.. usage of Windows. So if you use it, you have to license it.

    I buy a license to run a single Windows server. That single server only runs on a single VM Host at any given time, excepting live migrations. Why do I need two licenses for this?

    Is that because I have two servers that could possibly run my single copy of Windows Server?

    Because the license that you mention does not allow the usage that you describe. Unless you also limit the live migrations to once every 90 days, you need one license per physical server, not just one overall.

    Wow... I think that just pretty much eliminated me ever using a Windows Server for anything again, if I have any say in the matter!

    Pretty soon you will have to pay for every system you have because you "could" install Windows on it and run it at the same time.


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