License Types and Purchasing
A license unit can be assigned a license type. License types fall into two broad categories:
- Machine-based licenses are those that grant the right to install or run some software on some number of computers. Depending on the license type, the machines can include some named workstations, servers, all machines at a site, or all machines in some organizational group.
- User-based licenses grant the right to use software to a named set of individuals, or all individuals in a particular organizational group. The only user-based license is "Per user."
Cherwell Asset Management also includes an "Unmanaged" license type, which is assumed to be machine-based, but is otherwise undefined.
License types are not used by License Analytics.
A software license can be assigned to an individual, a group, or both.
Licenses are assigned to individuals primarily for the purpose of recording where the software is installed or who its primary user is.
Cherwell Asset Management defines two different kinds of individuals to which licenses can be assigned:
- Machine: A computer of any kind (server, desktop, or laptop)
- User: An individual person
Licenses are assigned to groups primarily for the purpose of accounting for expenses.
Cherwell Asset Management defines two different kinds of groups to which licenses can be assigned:
- Machine groups contain computers.
- User groups contain users.
While any kind of license can be assigned to any kind of individual, the license type is used to determine what kind of group to which licenses can be assigned. Machine-based licenses can be assigned only to machine groups, and user-based licenses can be assigned only to user groups.
The kinds of assignment groups determine license type "compatibility." Since all machine-based licenses are assigned to machine groups, these licenses are considered "assignment-compatible." A license unit or line item can be changed from one kind of machine-based license to another without making any changes in the kinds of groups to which the licenses are assigned.
For the purposes of determining “assignment-compatibility," unmanaged licenses are considered to be compatible with machine-based licenses.
Software Line Items
When you enter information about software purchases into Purchasing, you will ordinarily enter the purchase details using a software line item. As mentioned elsewhere, a purchase or lease can contain many different kinds of things, each of which is entered as a line item.
Software line items contain information about the software title, the publisher, number of licenses purchased, per-license (unit) price, and so forth. Software line items also allow you to specify the license type that was purchased.
When you enter a software line item, you can also provide information on how you would like the licenses to be assigned, either to machine- or user-groups, based on the license type. Once the line item is reconciled to a license unit, these provisional assignments are grouped with the other assignments for that license unit.
Reconciling Software Line Items and License Units
License units usually represent installed software that Cherwell Asset Management discovered in your environment. Reconciliation is the process of associating a software line item (something you bought) with a license unit (something that is installed).
Reconciliation is entirely optional, but provides several benefits:
- The quantities entered in Purchasing are automatically added to those reported on for the purposes of compliance.
- The number of licenses available for assignment is automatically adjusted based on the number purchased.
- The most recent price paid is assigned as the "value" for all licenses purchased.
Conversely, if one or more software items is "unreconciled" from license units, any licenses added are, instead, subtracted from the totals available for compliance and assignment.
License Types and Reconciliation
When a software line item and a license unit are reconciled, they must both have the same license type. Purchasing makes certain assumptions about how the final license type will be determined:
- If both the line item and the license unit already have the same license type (for example, " Per user" or "Per server"), no license type change is required.
- If the license unit license type is not "Unmanaged," and the line item license type is "Unmanaged," the line item’s license type is changed to match the license unit. (But see the Note at the end of this list.)
- If the license unit’s license type is "Unmanaged," and the line item is not "Unmanaged," the license unit’s license type is changed to match the line item.
When editing a software line item, you can search for a license unit to reconcile with the line item. Once you make a selection from the list of available license units, Purchasing provides information on any changes that must be made to allow the reconciliation to proceed. You can also choose to change the line item license type in a way that will require you to delete your license group assignments.
In certain cases, Purchasing automatically reconciles one or more software line items with a license unit. This will occur only when both of the following are true:
- The line item name exactly matches either a license unit name or a software nickname.
- The line item license type and license unit license type are either equal, or when either the license unit or line item license type is "Unmanaged," and changing the license type will not cause any group assignments to be lost because of changes in assignment type.
Cascading License Type Changes During Line Item Reconciliation
When a line item and license unit are reconciled, Purchasing makes sure that both of them have the same license type. This can sometimes produce unexpected side effects. Consider the following example:
- A number of line items, with a license type of "Unmanaged," are reconciled with a license unit (let’s call it "L") whose license type is also "Unmanaged."
- You enter a new purchase that contains a software line item with a license type of "Per seat," and choose to reconcile with license unit "L" while using Purchasing to edit the line item.
- Purchasing changes the license type of "L" to "Per seat."
- Purchasing changes the license types of all of the line items reconciled with "L" to "Per seat" as well.
In this case, the rule to remember is that if you don’t assign a license type other than "Unmanaged," the first time you choose a different license type, all related line items will be changed to match.
Notice that this change will occur automatically only when the license types are "Unmanaged." If you were then to change the license type of a line item reconciled with "L" to something else, Purchasing would tell you that doing so will unreconcile the line item.
Cascading License Type Changes When Changing License Unit License Type
Changing the license type of a license unit using CAM Administrator can also affect reconciliation. There are three possible outcomes:
- If you change the license type of an "Unmanaged" license unit that is reconciled to a number of line items to a machine-based license type, the line item license types will be changed to match the license unit.
- If you change the license type of an "Unmanaged" license unit that is reconciled to a number of line items to a user-based license type, the license types of those line items without group assignments will be changed to match the line item. Line items with group assignments will become unreconciled.
- If you change the license type of a license unit that has a license type that is not "Unmanaged," any line items reconciled with the license unit will be automatically unreconciled.
If reconciled line items become unreconciled, you will notice that the license unit license counts will change, because the (previously reconciled) line item license quantities are subtracted from the number of available licenses. If you want to re-reconcile those line items to restore the license counts, you must use Purchasing to first find all of the affected line items, and then edit each one and reconcile it to the license unit. In each case, when doing the reconciliation, Purchasing will inform you that it will change the line item license type to match the license unit.