License Compliance Calculations (Especially for Bundles)

FlexNet Manager Suite 2021 R1 (On-Premises)
Multi-product license consumption for publisher's bundles can be confusing. This detailed description is for those wanting a deeper technical understanding of how the results were calculated.
Remember: Only mark products as supplementary on your multi-product license when doing so accurately reflects the legal terms of the license agreement. For most publishers, the list of products on a multi-product license should generally display Primary = Yes in every row, since they typically have no products defined as supplementary in the license agreement (exceptions to this are IBM and sometimes Oracle — please check the details of your license agreements carefully, including whether any products defined as supplementary need to consume entitlements: for example, on IBM VPC licenses, supplementary products are generally "no charge" items that do not separately consume license entitlements). Having all products on a multi-product license as primary also simplifies the compliance outcomes.
The compliance calculation process is broken into two completely separate main phases, in this order:
  • Resolving all possible multi-product relationships (the bundle phase)
  • Resolving all other consumption links (the single-product phase, where individual product installation/usage records may be reconciled against licenses of any type, single- or multi-product.).
Finally, excess consumption must be accounted for.

For simplicity, the following description speaks of "installations", which are the measure for device-based licenses. Other licenses have different forms of consumption (use, access, points, and so on), which you may interpret as appropriate.

Here is the summary of the automatic process:

  1. Manually-made allocations are considered first and consume entitlements just as you expect.
  2. In the bundle phase (always considered next):
    1. Select all multi-product licenses.
    2. Order them by:
      • The descending count of linked products (the total of primary and supplementary linked products linked to each license); and
      • As a tie-breaker, the descending count of linked primary products; and
      • As a further tie-breaker, the order of license record creation. (This allows consistent ordering patterns from one reconciliation to the next.)
    3. For each license in priority order, select all inventory devices that have two or more of the licensed products installed.
      Tip: At least one of the licensed products installed on the inventory device must be a primary product on the license. If only supplementary products are installed on this device, and you need this inventory device to consume from this license, make a manual allocation to force the association.
    4. Order the inventory devices by:
      • The descending total count of installed products from the current license (including both primary and supplementary products); and
      • As a tie-breaker, the descending number of installed primary products; and
      • As a further tie-breaker, the order of inventory device record creation.
    5. Link the inventory devices in priority order to the multi-product license, until the available entitlements on the license are exhausted (or all the selected inventory devices are accounted for).
    6. Repeat for the next license in priority order, until all multi-product licenses are exhausted or all bundle installations have been linked to licenses.
  3. Enter the single-product phase:
    1. Select all inventory devices with application installations not linked to any license.
    2. Order the devices/installations by:
      • Relative application edition within its product (most advanced to least advanced)
      • Relative application version within its product (most recent to earliest).
      Tip: This ordering ensures that consistent inventory input produces consistent license consumption output.
    3. For each application in turn, order the linked licenses according to the current priority displayed in the Licenses tab of the application properties sheet. All licenses (with remaining capacity) are considered, regardless of whether they are a single-product or multi-product license (this distinction is ignored now, with priorities being strictly as already recorded in the application properties).
    4. For each application, inventory devices (installations) are linked to the licenses in priority order (when the entitlements on a license are exhausted and there are still inventory devices to account for, the next license in the list linked to the application is used). This process continues until the entitlements of all linked licenses are exhausted, or all devices are accounted for.
    5. Repeat for the next application, until all application installations are accounted for or none of the related licenses have any remaining capacity.
  4. Account for excess consumption, if there are still installations not linked to licenses.
    1. If an unaccounted inventory device has two or more products installed that are represented together in multi-product license(s), the highest priority license from the available set of multi-product licenses receives the excess consumption.
    2. For individual applications, the excess consumption is linked to the top priority license on the Licenses tab of the application properties sheet. In the case where this top priority license happens to be a multi-product license, the consumption can be linked here only if the installed application is listed as primary for the license (supplementary products must find other licenses, or remain as "unlicensed installations").

Example: The impact of supplementary settings

Consider the impact of primary and supplementary product settings through the following two simplified scenarios, where the only initial difference is the value for Primary against each product linked to the licenses. Keep in mind that license priorities are always recorded in the Licenses tab of each application properties sheet, and that the only difference between a single-product license and a multi-product license is the number of values for Product listed in the set of application records linked to each license. This means that, when required, multi-product licenses can be prioritized right along with the single-product licenses.
Tip: The following scenarios assume that the supplementary products must also be separately licensed (that is, consume license entitlements). Remember to check the terms of your license carefully: for example, in an IBM VPC licence, it is more common that supplementary products are 'included' with the licensed primary product(s), and do not consume entitlements on their own.
Here are the scenarios:
Step/item With all primary products With supplementary products

License 1

  • Product A (primary)
  • Product B (primary)
  • Product C (primary)
  • Product A (primary)
  • Product B (supplementary)
  • Product C (supplementary)

License 2

  • Product B (primary)
  • Product C (primary)
  • Product D (primary)
  • Product B (primary)
  • Product C (primary)
  • Product D (supplementary)
Step 2b: License priority
  1. License 1 (tie-break: created first)
  2. License 2
  1. License 2 (has 2 primaries)
  2. License 1
Inventory device X installations
  • Product A
  • Product B
  • Product C
  • Product A
  • Product B
  • Product C
Step 2e: Linking devices
Device X linked to top priority License 1 and consumes:
  • Product A
  • Product B
  • Product C
Device X linked to top priority License 2 and consumes:
  • Product B
  • Product C

Step 3: Single products

No further action (device X is fully accounted for)

Product A on device X must be considered.

Step 3c: License priorities on the Licenses tab of Application Aa (the most recent application that is part of Product A)
  1. License 35 (fully consumed)
  2. License 1
  3. License 24
  4. License 846

Step 3d: Linking devices

Device X linked to the highest priority available License 1 and consumes:
  • Product A

You may have expected that a multi-product license for A,B, and C, and an inventory device with installations of A, B, and C, together made a perfect match and consumption could not go elsewhere. However, to deal with the complexities of bundle licensing from a few publishers, the primary (and non-primary, or supplementary) setting must be taken into account in the ways shown, which may result in the "perfect installation" pattern being broken up and consuming from two different multi-product licenses (or one multi- and one single-product license, as another possible outcome for these scenarios, depending on license priorities).

The moral of this story is do not over-use the Primary switch. Unless the license agreement specifically designates some products as secondary or supplementary (as may happen most often in licenses from IBM or Oracle), it's best to leave all the products as primary on a multi-product license.

FlexNet Manager Suite (On-Premises)

2021 R1