Network licensing upgrade – Autodesk Approach
When considering an upgrade to a network deployment of software, there are a lot of steps involved. Without a proper plan, significant disruption of engineering systems can occur. Let’s take a look at a plan for upgrading an Autodesk network deployment of software.
Autodesk licenses (for those with an active contract) allow the use of the current version as well as the three previous versions. The three version consideration for FlexLM actually involves the license files themselves and not the version of the license manager. Here is some clarification:
- When Autodesk issues a license file to a customer on subscription / maintenance, it will be for the current version (2017) and the three previous versions (2014-2016). So when you request a NEW license file, you will be able to run any combination of 2014 to 2017 software with that NEW license file.
- Old versions of the Autodesk Network License Manager often can’t read new license files.
- New versions of the Autodesk Network License manager (FlexLM) can still read old license files. This means that you can still use an existing license file (for your 2013-2014 software) while you are upgrading to newer software editions. This is permitted for up to 30 days during a software transition.
Here are a set of steps that can be used to upgrade an Autodesk networked software environment (example for 2013 to 2017):
- Upgrade your license manager to one compatible with 2017 software while continuing to use your existing license file.
- Create software deployments for the 2017 versions and prepare to roll them out on workstations.
- Obtain and test (status enquiry) a new 2017 license file for use in the upgraded license manager (LMTOOLS to configure and verify). For the time being, this license file will be a merged version of the previous license file and the new one. This is done by simply copying the contents of the newly obtained license file into the existing one. This will allow users to continue utilizing their existing version of 2013 software while the newer 2017 is deployed and tested.
- Roll out and test 2017 deployments on user’s workstations. This can be done while leaving existing 2013 software on their workstations for production use during the transition.
- After testing of 2017 software is complete and rolled out to all users workstations, the old license file content (for 2013) will need to be removed from the merged and combined license file. Once the old content is removed from the license file (keep a copy for reference), do a Stop, Start, Re-Read in LMTOOLS for the changes to take effect. This step is critical to comply with the license agreement, and is a common oversight that gets companies in trouble in the case of a software audit (if they fail to disable the old software). I would do this within 30 days of obtaining a 2017 license file to be safe.
- After you are sure there are no serious problems with 2017 on users workstations, the 2013 edition can be uninstalled.
Hopefully this adds some clarity to an often confusing process.