Cetrus Blog

Why real-time tracking is the only way to go

Posted by Erik Hoogerhuis on Apr 30, 2015 11:25:00 AM

Why real-time tracking is the only way to know actual concurrent usage and why it enables better licensing

Last week we touched on how tracking usage at the endpoint can reduce the numbers of databases a software Asset Manager needs to maintain for reporting.  This week, we’re covering why endpoint tracking is the only way of knowing what your concurrent license usage is.


First, let’s define concurrent usage - for us, concurrent usage of entitled licenses means both “open” and “active.”  Open means the applications have been launched.  Active means the application is being used. Organizations typically license desktop applications several ways:  as individual licenses, as an enterprise license, or as concurrent sessions if the applications are virtualized, are shared across time zones, or the organization has some idea as to how many licenses will be used concurrently.  Each method has its benefits and issues:

Individual licenses:

  • Benefit: Ideally puts licenses where they are truly needed
  • Issues: Most expensive licensing method, has the highest cost of administration, and the organization has no way of knowing if the license continues to be used (Would any of us give up an application once it’s on our desktop?)

Enterprise licenses:

  • Benefit: No worries about tracking individual licenses – everyone who could possible need one is covered
  • Issues: The organization has no good way of knowing what the real needs for the application are, so it throws up its hands and is licensed for more than it needs. Audits track the number of users, but not the need to see how many unneeded licenses have been paid for. In addition, the organization doesn’t know how frequently the licenses have been used, so verifying value is much more difficult.

Concurrent licenses:

  • Benefit: The organization does not have to track where the individual licenses reside.  The organization pays for actual usage of the license, rather than by how many copies are made (so it’s not paying the same price for a heavily or lightly used license).  It is a better proxy for value than paying for individual licenses
  • Issues:  It is very difficult to track concurrency of individual licenses (how do they report they are opened)?  It is very difficult to track if they are being used (a license has to now report its state).  If a server has 10 concurrent users, and an 11th user needs the application, he/she is blocked.  But what if several of the users have been idle for the past 30 minutes?  There is no mechanism for sharing concurrency across multiple server pools.

So how does endpoint usage tracking address the above? If each application launch can be tracked in real time, the organization now knows which applications are being used (on which desktop and by which user), a growing issue with more workers being mobile or hoteling. In addition if the tracking capability on each desktop can identify if an application is active, you finally have a way of identifying active or true usage. 



To track active or true usage, the monitoring capability has to both identify that the application is launched, and then actively monitor its state (is it being actively used or not). It must also be able to report if the application is active or idle.  By combining the data from individual and concurrent licenses (you might have both license types implemented for the same application in an enterprise), you can consolidate licensing to just concurrent usage.  This includes disconnected usage, which otherwise might “force” an organization to pay for more expensive individual licenses.

That’s why we believe point of usage tracking simplifies tracking, as well as enables fair and verifiable licensing models. This is the easiest way for both the end customer and vendor to track and verify value. 

Come back next week and we’ll look at “pay per X (insert your metric here)” tracking.