Assessing license use (classic)

Check the license compliance for a set of programs by measuring their real utilization. Compare the number of installed programs with the number of purchased licenses to either save license costs for programs that are rarely used or increase the budget to purchase additional licenses for programs that are frequently used.

To examine the use of program licenses within your company, first create a software metering metric for each product of interest. Then add one or more software metering modules to your dashboards to display the previously defined metrics. Software metering modules help you automate the assessment of software licenses across your hierarchies.

Creating software metering metrics

Software metering metrics are created in the Nexthink web interface.

To create a software metering metric:

  1. Select Administration from the main menu.

  2. Click on Software metering metrics under Content management section in the navigation panel.

  3. Click the plus sign in the upper-right corner of the dashboard. The dialog box to create a new software metering metric will appear.

  4. Type in a name for the metric under Name.

  5. Optional: Describe the purpose of the metric under Description.

  6. Click Continue. The dialog box starts retrieving the list of available programs from the Engines linked to Portal while displaying the message Fetching programs from Engines. Once the process is finished, the dialog box is ready for you to configure the programs to assess in the Programs table.

  7. Type the number of desired days into the box for the last x days to measure program utilization for a certain number of days in the past. By default, the number of days is 30.

  8. Click Add program to define how to audit a new program. A new dialog box will appear to allow you to set up the program and its licenses.

    1. Step 1 of adding a program: identify the program

      1. Type a name to identify the program in the entry Program label. Each program name must be unique in the metric.

      2. Optional: Enter a web address with additional information about the program in the entry Add an external link to program's information. Use, for instance, the official web page of the program vendor.

      3. Choose how to select the packages that correspond to the program:

        • To pick the packages from a list proposed by the widget, select from the list.

        • To provide an investigation which will pick the packages for you, select corresponding to investigation.

    2. Step 2 of adding a program: identify the packages

      1. Depending on the mode that you selected in step 1 to select the packages, you either:

        • Choose one or more packages from a list. If you have a mixed installation of Windows and Mac OS devices, the list displays packages from both platforms. Only installed packages are shown in the list:

          1. Filter the list of packages by choosing the initial letter of its name in Available packages starting by.

          2. Click the name of one package (or more while keeping the Ctrl key pressed).

          3. Click Add to selected to add the packages to your selection.

          4. Optional: By default, all versions of the packages selected are accounted for license use. If needed, choose a specific version of a package by clicking the pencil icon to the left of the name of the package in the list of selected packages. Type in a particular version in the Edit package version dialog box and click Edit.

          5. Click Next to move on to step 3 of the wizard.

        • Alternatively, use an investigation on packages:

          1. Export an investigation based on packages from Finder to the clipboard.

          2. Paste the investigation in the text area under the label Paste an investigation.

          3. In the Investigation root element of the XML, manually change the value of the attribute SyntaxVersion from 3 to 2 (i.e. the attribute should read SyntaxVersion="2").

          4. Click Next to move on to step 3 of the wizard.

    3. Step 3 of adding a program: configure licenses

      1. Choose the level of the hierarchy through which you want to distribute the licenses in Set licenses on level. Remember that all the licenses must be distributed over nodes at the same level in the hierarchy. Therefore, the chosen level remains valid for all the licenses that you add to the metric.

      2. Click Add license to configure a new program license. The dialog box for adding a license will appear.

      3. Type a name to identify the license in the entry under the label Reference.

      4. Optional: Type a brief description of the license in the text area Description.

      5. Optional: Type in the number of purchased licenses in the entry labeled Quantity. Leave it blank if you have an unlimited set of licenses.

      6. Optional: Enter a date in the section Expires on to specify the period of validity of your license. If you leave it blank, the license never expires.

      7. Optional: Pick a node to which licenses apply from the Node list. The nodes that you can pick belong to the hierarchy level that you previously selected.

      8. Click Add to finish adding the license.

    4. Step 4 of adding a program: specify binaries

      1. For the metric to compute statistics about program usage, you may pick a set of binaries which are related to the selected packages in the Significant binaries section:

        • Choose no significant binary to avoid this step altogether.

        • Choose based on a list to create a list of binaries. If you have a mixed installation of both Windows and Mac OS devices, you can add binaries of both platforms to the list.

          1. Click Add binary to add a new binary to the list. A dialog box for adding binaries will appear.

          2. Type in the exact name of the executable program in Executable name (include the .exe extension if it is a Windows binary).

          3. Type the first numbers of the versions of the executable that will be taken into account for computing the statistics in Version starts with.

          4. Click Add to add the defined binary to the list.

        • Choose based on investigation to automatically select significant binaries from an investigation.

          1. Export an investigation based on binaries from Finder to the clipboard. The investigation can be multi-platform, but it cannot have a time frame of During last x minutes (hours or days are valid).

          2. Paste the investigation to the text area below the option based on investigation.

          3. In the Investigation root element of the XML, manually change the value of the attribute SyntaxVersion from 3 to 2 (i.e. the attribute should read SyntaxVersion="2").

      2. Set the threshold of daily average usage of binaries per device to consider only those binaries that a device actually executes for a significant amount of time. Select the number of hours and minutes in Under usage threshold.

      3. Click Add to end the wizard for adding programs.

  9. Click Finish to end the metric editing process.

Right after adding a new software metering metric, optionally launch its computation in Portal. Otherwise, software metering metrics are processed during the nightly computation of Portal, as is the case with any other metric.

Creating a Software Metering Module

Once you have defined one or more software metering metrics, create a software metering module to visualize them in your dashboards.

To create a software metering module:

  1. Select Custom Dashboards from the main menu.

  2. Select any dashboard from the list in the navigation panel.

  3. Click on the action menu at the top-right corner.

  4. Select Create new module.... The dialog box to create a new module will appear.

  5. Choose Software Metering as the type for your new module.

  6. Select the software metering metrics that you wish to include in your module from the list of Available metrics. Use the Ctrl or M keys while you click with your mouse to select more than one metric at the same time.

  7. Click the left-to-right arrow to move the selected metrics from the Available list to the Selected list.

  8. Click the button CREATE to generate a new software metering module with the selected metrics.

Interpreting the results of software metering metrics

To view the results of a software metering metric, navigate to the software metering module that holds the metric (the module must lie within your available dashboards) and select the dashboard that displays the metric of interest.

The dashboard of the metric shows a table with license compliance information that can be broken down both by software product and by hierarchy level. By default, the table displays an overall view of all the products located at the hierarchy level that corresponds to the view domain of the user (for instance, if the user is a central administrator, that would be the root level). In the overall view, you get the following columns in each row of the table:

  • A color-coded bullet that indicates the status of license usage:

    • Green with a check mark when the number of installations of a particular software product is equal or lower than the number of valid licenses for that level of the hierarchy.

    • Red with a cross mark when the number of installations of a software product exceeds the number of valid licenses available for the level.

    • Gray with no mark when displaying results for nodes that do not belong to hierarchy levels with allocated licenses. For instance, if you configure the number of valid licenses only at the root (top) level of the hierarchy, you will see gray circles when you break down the results to lower levels because you have not provided license information specifically for those levels.

  • The name that identifies the program in the column Product

  • The number of devices that have the program installed in the column Installed

  • The number of valid licenses for the program in the column Nb valid licenses

  • The ratio of devices with the program installed divided by the number of valid licenses in the column Compliance

  • The number of devices that underutilize their licensed products in the column Devices in underusage

Navigating through products and hierarchy levels

Navigate through the available hierarchies and levels to show the license compliance by location, department or any other decomposition criterion followed to build your hierarchies. Use the hierarchy tool in the middle of the blue ribbon at the top of the window.

The dashboard also displays the validity period of the license data displayed: the start date and the end date that corresponds to the last 30 days

Analyzing binary usage

If you configured the metric to survey significant binaries, you can get detailed information about the use of those binaries on the monitored devices. Only those devices with the appropriate packages installed and that have been active for the last 30 days are included in the computation.

To get statistics about binary usage:

  1. Hover the cursor over the results of either the Installed or the Devices in underusage columns.

  2. Click the Export details tooltip that appears to download a CSV file named data.csv with the usage statistics.

For each device over the last 30 days, the statistics in the CSV file display:

  • Device: the name of the device

  • Average usage per day: the average number of milliseconds per day that any of the related binaries were executed

  • Average executions per day: the average number of executions per day of any of the related binaries. For devices that did not execute any significant binary over the last 30 days, the average usage displays:

    • 0 ms, if the device was active over the course of the last day (the day of the computation).

    • - (a dash sign), if the device was not active during the last day.

  • Last activity: the last time one of the binaries was executed.

  • A list of all the binaries included in the metric that indicates whether the binary was executed (yes) or not (no). The header includes the names of the related executable (e.g. excel.exe or powerpnt.exe).

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