Main innovations of elasticLM

elasticLM licenses are mobile objects that may move as applications  to different execution environments. Use of protected applications is granted through Service Level Agreements resulting from negotiation of license terms prior to application execution. Using elasticLM allows advance reservation of licenses. Thus, licenses are available when needed but not blocked when the application is waiting for execution.

All authorization for the use of a license is done locally at the home organisation of a user, taking into account policies of the ISV, site-specific policies defined locally or user-specific attributes as e.g. retrieved from a Virtual Organisation. Signed and encrypted terms of a license are scheduled to the (remote) execution environment.

Integration of an Accounting and Billing System allows price determination and budget control when the license is requested.

In the following table the major features of the elasticLM product are shown compared to the limitations in current license management:

Current Situation Innovation of elasticlm
Software licenses allow little flexibility in terms of location independent use. Thus, license protected applications may hardly be used in Grid or Cloud environments. With elasticLM, licenses may be used to run applications in Grid and Cloud environments no matter whether during the application run there is network connectivity to access the site that hosts the license server that issued the license.
Licenses are often spread across departments making it difficult to track license usage. elasticLM provides access to and management of all licenses owned by a site.
All license usage policies are embedded in the license of the ISV. elasticLM allows the definition of local policies for license usage addressing the site-specific needs. These policies are evaluated in addition to the embedded policies of the ISVs.
Before starting an application a user has only limited information about the cost incurred most often estimated based on wall-clock time of usage only. With elasticLM, an accurate, user-specific price is calculated beforehand based on a large number of configurable parameters, like the time of usage, the features, the history of usage, local policies that define different prices for different users or user groups.
Accounting of license usage more often than not is statically bound to usage times. elasticLM comes with an advanced accounting and billing system that allows to adapt the accounting information after license usage, taking into account the effective usage, e.g. run-time information, hardware capabilities.
License usage control in terms of budget for different users or groups is done independently from the process of granting licenses. In elasticLM budget limitations are checked and enforced when a user requests a license.
Illegal usage of licenses can be achieved through hacked license servers or hacked versions of the license supplied by the ISV. elasticLM realises a number of sophisticated, state-of-the-art security mechanisms that render illegal use almost impossible.
License terms are immutable once checked out from the license server. elasticLM offers re-negotiation of license terms at run-time, e.g. giving up a license before the reservation period is over, trying to extend a reservation period, or adding new features.
License servers only support first come first served schema. elasticLM allows advance reservation of licences for later use, e.g. coordinated with the availability of computational resources.
Customer owned licenses managed in his administrative domain usually can not be used for running applications using an ASP’s computational resources. Through elasticLM an ASP can temporarily host the customer’s licenses allowing the execution of applications using the customer’s own licenses. Customers’ licences may be combined with ASP owned licenses for running complex jobs, e.g. exceeding the number of processors a single license grants to use, with different applications or application features.