What is an Autodesk Network License?

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Autodesk discontinued the standalone and network license models and moved to Cloud and Token-base licensing only. But there are still a substantial number of customers using these license models. Either through a postponement of the agreement for the bigger Autodesk customers, or customers that haven’t migrated to the Cloud.

This article is created to help customers find out how to leverage their existing licenses and/or how to migrate to the Cloud cost-effectively.

Network Licensing

When purchasing and/or maintaining Autodesk licenses, except for the Cloud subscriptions and token-based licenses, there are 2 types available*:

  1. Standalone License (Single-User)
  2. Network License (Multi-User)

*Availability is discontinued unless you have an agreement with Autodesk and/or maintain a Network-based environment.

The Standalone License permits a user to apply the license to one workstation. This is done by attaching a serial number to a specific workstation. The user has to fill in the email address and activate the license on the workstation. Re-assigning the licenses to a different workstation is permitted, but the activation process has to be reapplied.

A Network License differentiates by the fact that it is not locked to a specific workstation. Instead, when a customer purchases a Network License, they are provided with a license file that is used in a license manager. The license manager could be the Autodesk license manager, or the more broadly used FlexNet (Formerly known as FlexPLM). The license manager is always situated in the customer’s environment and manages all the multi-users for the specific Autodesk products and/or bundles.

The license file contains the maximum number of permitted concurrent users that can access the Autodesk software on the license manager. This is broadly called the higher-water mark of usage and illustrates the maximum number of users that can use the software at the same time. License managers could be set up in multiples to create a load-balancing configuration. The software is installed on as many as you need workstations and they can access the software by checking in with the license manager.

Users who need the software outside of the company’s premises can do so by checking out a license (borrow a license) from the license manager and checking in when they are back to their respective offices. Each time a user checks out a license, the license file will reduce the number of available licenses to the on-premise users. After checking in, the license is added to the total number of available licenses of the license file.

The benefits of Network Licensing

The benefit of a Network License is the ability to only license the users when they are using the software. A customer only pays for the actual usage, to a certain extent, of the software. Another benefit is the ease of license management. Non-compliance is minimal because the license manager is continuously managing access to the Autodesk software. For example: if you have a license file for 100 x Autodesk AutoCAD, only 100 users can access the software at the same time. Even if you have 120 users that are permitted to use the software. This provides a substantial cost-saving opportunity.

The challenges of Network Licensing

There are challenges regarding Network Licenses. Customers could be paying more than they need if their high-water mark is too high. Calculating the optimal concurrent use could be difficult if you take into account the complexity of big and/or decentralized environments. Managing the licenses according to the company and regional restrictions set by Autodesk could also be a challenge.

A less known challenge is how to deal with sessions that are on stand-by, where the engineer is having a meeting while still consuming expensive software checked by the license manager.

How can Blackbelt XP help?

  • Blackbelt XP has helped multiple customers through their Autodesk audits. Our Audit Defense services are able to help you prepare for an audit and minimize the risks. Our tools and expertise are field-tested and have helped our customers to save money.
  • Help you prepare and manage your migration from Standalone and Network Licenses to the Autodesk Cloud and Token-based subscriptions.
  • Help you optimize the use of your Network Licenses. We can help you checkout unused and/or stand-by sessions.

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