Derek’s Cheesy list of CELUG 2015 Conference Learnings

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Yes, the title is a blatant rip-off of John Cooley’s “My Cheesy Must See DAC Lists” :)

Lots of great information at the 2015 CELUG Conference.  For those of you who missed it, perhaps this list will help you to justify attending next year’s conference which will be in the week of June 5, 2016 in my own backyard of Austin, Texas.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but these are the things that leap to mind.


  • The FlexNet Publisher roadmap was very focused on a new product called FlexNet Embedded.  Not sure what that means, but clearly Flexera is very focused on it.
  • Be sure to take advantage of Daniel Galecki’s “New Guy” status while it lasts!  He’s bringing a new approach to the FNMEA team and is clearly very focused on relieving the pain that most of us feel who use FNMEA, specifically the Cognos engine.  Almost all of his roadmap focused on that.
  • Mentor announced that starting June 1, 2016 that they will no longer support Sparc Solaris as a license server platform.
  • Mentor also disclosed that there is a memory leak in their current Linux production binaries (  The leak is only seen on highly loaded servers.  On request, you can get an updated daemon based on if you think you are seeing this problem or are likely to see it.  Beware.
  • Ansys revealed that in FNP that you could see errors on clients such as “FLEXlmserverisnotresponding.Resource temporarily not available.“, which could be fixed by setting a new environment variable, FNP_IP_ENV to 1.  Apparently, this has something to do with new DNS resolution routines which are trying to query ipv6.  Your mileage may vary, but you may want to look into setting this variable if you’re seeing these types of errors.
  • Synopsys announced, and I have it written down, that starting with the March, 2015 releases that the fix is in place for the dreaded “Forward Time Zone” problem for Synopsys tools.  Do I have a volunteer to test this?
  • Synopsys also showed off some fancy new testing tools in their upcoming release, allowing you to test your server capacity, load, connection reliability and infrastructure reliability.  Good stuff.

“The Cloud”

  • It is now a US Federal requirement that any conference focused on technology have at least one speaker talk about “the cloud”.  And boy did we deliver.
  • David Pellerin gave a great talk about EDA in the Amazon AWS Cloud.  There was at least one documented instance of an engineer going to AWS to solve a capacity constraint that couldn’t be fulfilled internally.  There are probably others that we don’t know about.
  • There truly are amazing opportunities using the cloud for capacity and bursting.
  • The AWS Elastic Network Interface (ENI) provides some interesting possibilities for the implementation of license services in the cloud.  Because you can’t duplicate a HostID in AWS, some of the HA solutions discussed below can’t be implemented, but the ENI could let you do some things in an easier fashion than what’s been developed.  As usual, it’s going to require someone to play with it, but the potential looks very interesting.
  • Read more about the AWS offering in the password-protected section:  [wpfilebase tag=file id=46 /]
  • IBM announced that they are getting into the cloud business, offering their own home-grown EDA tools and flows on top of CentOS and LSF.  Their offering is an “all in” offering (you have to keep all of your data in their cloud), but they could really clobber other providers on price since they own so much of that stack.  At the time of this writing, it is unclear if a subscription to the IBM cloud comes with a free lawyer or not.

High Availability

  • Bob Van Der Kloot presented the Teradyne High Availability solution, which in my opinion was ground-breaking.  It “lifted the veil” on how at least some members are achieving HA in the industry in front of suppliers as well as Flexera.  This presentation really put perspective on what HA means to practitioners of license management and highlights how inadequate triads, license borrowing and trusted storage are for most of us.
  • As a counter-point, most “non-supported” HA implementation (based on Flex, at least), rely on HostID Duplication in order to work.  The problem here is that through this mechanism, a company could intentionally or unintentionally have a lot more licenses than they paid for.  Now, you might tempted to engage in some schadenfreude because you see the budget struggles to pay your suppliers and say “well if you didn’t charge so much people wouldn’t do that!”, but that unfortunately is a very short-sighted approach.  The savings those companies reap can be used to clobber your pricing in the marketplace.  It’s imperative that we work together as an industry to find a way to defeat piracy for our mutual benefit.
  • Suppliers and Flexera both heard loud and clear that we’re serious when we say we need “nines as far as the eye can see” (Joshua Hauta, Qualcomm) and the means we’re willing to go to get them, with our without supplier support.  Obviously, we’d prefer with, but we’re a pragmatic group and will do what we must (legally, of course).
  • Our breakout sessions went really well, with the exception of running out of time to really dig into what everyone thought.  Lessons learned for next year.

“Phone Home”

  • Rachel Stanley of Honeywell gave a scintillating presentation on “phone home” technologies, which are related to HostID duplication in the sense that they are designed to detect and report on excessive license use.
  • Various companies are starting to quietly roll this out.  Sometimes they tell us, sometimes they don’t.  I think most of us are seeing internal security tightening, so these types of implementations are worrisome, to say the least.
  • At an afternoon session, the members present discussed how to deal with this, and here is the general consensus (to my recollection)
    • We (CELUG) will start to document known instances of license managers “phoning home” in the forum section of the website.  Here’s a direct link to the forum topic if you want to contribute (registration required).
    • Non-Flex licenses managers are doing this as well as Flex-based ones.  Everyone is implementing things their own way.  This is an absolute support nightmare for us as license administrators as well as for anyone who deals with lawyers, IT Security departments, the Federal Government or any other body tasked with oversight.
    • We need a license-manager independent means of addressing the concerns of suppliers while satisfying our own security needs.
    • To this end, we believe that the best way to get implementations standardized, open and well-understood is to undertake the formation of a Standards Committee involving members of CELUG, software suppliers and suppliers of license management solutions.  We are at the early stages of this thought process, but if we do go down this path we will likely try to go through IEEE, as they have the machinery and experience to drive standards such as these.
    • I’m probably going to create some additional posts on this topic, so stay tuned.

March 18, 2015 — HostID Duplication Meeting

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John Harms, Chairman of the EDAC License Management and Antipiracy Committee presented the draft EDAC requirements on preventing HostID duplication.

There were 48 members present on the call.

EDAC LMA HostID Duplication Presentation

EDAC HostID Duplication Requirements Document

Action items:

  1. John Harms to add words to indicate that High Availability is not only about responding to disaster situations but to planned maintenance and outages as well in the document
  2. Derek Magill to work with the membership to focus feedback and provide a formal document to EDAC LMA

Notes:  Questions and Comments

Joshua Hauta, Qualcomm:

I’d request that the language in #1 be modified to reflect no outages, as opposed to shutdowns.  The service needs high availability.  I realize this could be semantics, but is important to my customers.

John Harms:  HA and shutdowns are separate for a reason.  HA is there to assist having something happen outside of anybody’s control (power failure, system failure, etc..).  Goal is that we have the ability to roll to a warm host.  The shutdown comment is meant to denote that the license server will not automatically if duplication is detected.

Bob Van der Kloot from Teradyne agrees:  Agree with Hauta. High availability includes machine crash, site down, maintenance interval… some planned, some unplanned. All are visible to customer.

Elvis Fernandes, TI:

The top concern I hear reg. “phone home” is that the ISV collects utilization data. How is this being addressed alongwith/outside of hostid duplication.

John Harms:  There are no mechanisms envisioned to collect usage information.  John has heard that since there is some “phone home” capabilities that vendors would tack on usage collection for various reasons (improve products, etc..).  However, there is no active plan or discussion to collect this data in this process.  If you have concerns about phone home, you need to talk to your individual EDA supplier.

Rachel Stanley, Honeywell:

IT Security is a huge concern with any data going out of a company.

Elvis Fernandes, TI:

Will hostid duplication detection be implemented in FlexNet or some other means?

John Harms:  Not sure yet, just in requirements phase.  Could be within Flexera or it could be completely outside of Flexera.

Bob Van der Kloot, Teradyne:

Would like the solution to also apply to “Activation” keys since little,new vendors do use activation

John Harms:  When we create our document, we should bump up the weight of the requirement.

David Reynolds, BAE Systems:

Added requirement:

Any hostid duplication detection schemes would have to be compliant with internal industrial information security policies.  For example port scanning would not be allowed.  We would need more information on how the vendors propose to accomplish the detection.

John Harms:  Sounds like a standards document.  Could he get a copy that he could forward to the EDAC LMA for consideration?

Rachel Stanley:  Honeywell is working on a similar document that could be shared with CELUG and EDAC LMA.

David Reynolds:  There is a big issue for folks with Classified areas, on top of just industrial secrets.

Laurie Pelletier, Bose:

What is the timeline for implementing a solution? Will this topic be covered at the CELUG Conference?

John Harms:  As soon as is practical, but not “too soon”.  Part of what is driving this is the recent

Derek Magill:  Current plan is to have a breakout session at the CELUG conference on the topic of High Availability.

Nick Ingegneri, Seagate:

I have seen proposed solutions to solve this problem that would create a dependency on a new potential single-point-of-failure. Example: at start-up the license server will contact a “master server” to verify no other server is running with that mac address. This would create a new point-of-failure that would then need redundancy.

John:  If we do a good job on requirement #1, this should not be a problem.

Rachel Stanley, Honeywell:

Hostid duplication can also be used for old license managers like Windows 2000 VM and for companies that are no longer in business. Please plan for this.  This refers mainly to legacy licenses or vendors no longer in business but the licenses are still in use and eventually hardware needs to be replaced.

John Harms:  That’s an excellent use case that is not necessarily covered in the document.  The solution should not hinder customers in these cases.

This is also a requirement for Marvell (Joe Pate)

Also an issue for Qualcomm (Joshua Hauta)

 Larry Heinz, Honeywell:

Honeywell in some contract has to support the life of a program which can out live the license version that it’s tied to.

Joshua Hauta, Qualcomm:

If the license was cut 12 years ago, that host is long gone while the perpetual license still exists.

Doug Cox, Aptina:

The implication is there will be two classes of customers, enterprise and everyone else.   Would different standards apply to different companies?

John Harms:  Indiviual EDA companies will make decisions on what is considered a “favored” vs. “ordinary” customer?  Tend to refer to “favored” companies as the enterprise companies.  Enterprise customers will probably have more “slack” compared to companies, say, in China.  However, the final decision would be up to individual EDA companies.  One way of doing this would be to encode that designation in the license file.

Don Mendelsohn, AMD:

Is Flexera, or any of the other license providers, a member of EDAC?

John Harms:  No.  EDAC is composed of EDA vendors.  The BOD is composed of CEO’s from the top EDA companies.  We consider Flexera to be a common supplier.  CELUG members are common customers.

Don Mendelsohn: The things you are seeking to remedy, which are deficiencies in Flexera, could pit customers against suppliers.

John Harms:  Once we have a better understanding of the boundaries of the solution space, it could involve Flexera.  EDAC LMA is focused on not hindering CELUG members availability to achieve HA.

Bob Van der Kloot, Teradyne:

Note that speed of failover is important in HA. If validation of the host coming on line takes more than 30 seconds it will be a problem.

Joshua Hauta from Qualcomm seconds that comment.