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Efficient use of Application Licenses

In this lab, we will learn how to use the Licensing and Rental features of Shopping to manage the use of expensive software licenses efficiently.

Using License Management

If Shopping is provided with the number of licenses that have been purchased for a particular Application and can determine the number of installed instances of that Application (which it does through ConfigMgr Inventory) it can determine if there are sufficient licenses available each time the Application is requested by a user. Each time a Licensed Application is installed through Shopping, the License Count is incremented. 

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1ehot tip

Note that although Shopping can query ConfigMgr to set the initial count of installed licenses, it does not perform on-going synchronization. From the time the Application has been configured with the number of licenses already installed (License Count), the License Count is only incremented each time a subsequent request for that application is completed through Shopping. If the Application had been recently installed on some clients which had not since sent an updated inventory before the License Count was set on the Application, these installations would never be counted. Moreover, Shopping only keeps account of licenses issued through Shopping requests. If users are able to install applications outside of Shopping (or administrators install these Applications directly through ConfigMgr), the license management feature in Shopping becomes unreliable.

Configure License Management in the Shopping console

You will now add licensing properties to the XML Notepad Application in the Shopping Admin Console.

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On 1ETRNAP in the Shopping Administration console select the Applications node and double-click XML Notepad


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Select the Licensing tab


1ediscussion point

Note that Licensing is associated with ConfigMgr sites, so in a multi-site hierarchy license, pools can be defined globally or for individual ConfigMgr sites, (useful if the customer's software procurement model matches the ConfigMgr hierarchy).


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To the right of the Add/Remove Program Name field, click Select and scroll down and select XML Notepad 2007


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This will associate the XML Notepad Application in Shopping with the XML Notepad 2007 inventoried program in ConfigMgr, allowing Shopping to determine how many instances of the Application are already installed.


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Check the option Define Licensing for Site [All Sites]


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The License Count value represents the number of installed licenses. Click the Prefill button to populate this value based on current ConfigMgr inventory


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Note that Shopping does not synchronize with ConfigMgr Inventory, and using the Prefill process simply sets the initial value based on what has been reported to ConfigMgr at the time you click the button.


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Enter 65 in the Threshold (%) field


1ehot tip

The Threshold (%) value defines when the license manager should be notified that available licenses are running low. For example, if there are 100 licenses available for an Application and this threshold is set to 70%, the license manager will receive a notification once 70 installs have occurred and the Application is next requested.


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Enter a value of License Count + 2 in the Max Licenses field (should be 3)


1ehot tip

Max Licenses represents the total number of purchased licenses for this Application. Therefore, available licenses = Max Licenses – License Count.


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The License Hold Days value is associated with re-issuing licenses and is covered in the ExerciseApplication Rental. Leave this setting as 0


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Leave the Manager Email field empty


1ehot tip

By default, license notification emails will go to the 'global' License Manager defined during the Shopping Central installation (LicenseManager@1etrn.local in this lab). An additional license manager (or Distribution List) can be defined in the Manager Email property for each Application.


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Click OK to update the Licensing Properties for the XML Notepad Application


Order and approve a licensed Application

In this task, you will shop for XML Notepad on another workstation, bringing the total number of installs to 2 (66% of the Max Licenses).

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On 1ETRNW102, log on as LicenseManager


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Open Mail from the Start Menu and note the Application Exceeded License Threshold email. Note that the email was sent just after the order was approved by Manager1.


1ewarning

DO NOT approve the Microsoft Project request! The email will be in the inbox.


1ediscussion point

This email has been sent because there is now 1 less license from the pool of licenses, and the threshold of 65% has been met. The License Manager will get a similar notification for each approved request for the application until either the Max Licenses is increased or all licenses are used up in which case the License Manager will get a License Count Exceeded notification, as observed in the next Task.


Requesting an Application when no licenses are available

You will now reduce the number of available licenses and observe what happens when a user requests an application that has no available licenses.

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Return to 1ETRNW73, switch to Windows Live Mail and click Send/Receive. Note that the user has received the Application Approved notification for 1ETRNW73 now


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Go to the All Orders space in the shopping website. Note that the status for XML Notepad 2007 for 1ETRNW73 has now changed to Order Placed


1ehot tip

Check Junk mail if the email is not in the inbox.


Application Rental

In some cases, an expensive application may only be required for a specific period. Typically, once software is installed on a computer, it remains installed even if it is no longer needed, taking up a license that someone else could be using. Shopping allows users to 'rent' an application for a specific period. At the end of the rental period, the user has the option to extend the rental or to remove the Application, returning the license to the pool.

Enabling Application Uninstall

Before Rental can be enabled on an Application, the Application must have a defined Program in ConfigMgr that will uninstall the Application when the rental period has expired. By defining the uninstall program, users can also optionally remove the Application through the Shopping portal whenever they choose.

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On 1ETRNAP open Shopping Administration console and double-click the PowerGUI Application to open the PowerGUI - ConfigMgr Application Properties dialog box


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Select the ConfigMgr tab and check the Can be uninstalled option. Click Apply and keep the properties dialog box open for the next task


1ehot tip

PowerGUI is defined in ConfigMgr as an Application (rather than a Package and Program). If legacy packages and programs are used you will need to define a separate Program for uninstall, and you will see different controls on the ConfigMgr tab in the Shopping Application Properties to enable you to select the uninstall Program.


Enable Application Rental

You will now enable rental of the PowerGUI application.

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In the PowerGUI –ConfigMgr Application Properties dialog box, select the Rental tab


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Check the Enable Rental option


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Note that the Application can be made available for regular installation and Rental (Buy/Rental) or Rental Only. Leave the default option (Buy/Rental)


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Set the following values and keep the properties dialog box open
  1. Rental Period (days): 30
  2. Extension Period (days): 60
  3. Max Number of Rental Extensions: 3

1ehot tip

The Rental Period is the initial duration for which the Application will be available to the user. At the end of the Rental Period, the user can opt to extend the rental for the Extension Period. The minimum and maximum values for rental extension are defined by the Rental Extension Minimum Days (Default = 60) and Rental Extension Maximum Days (Default = 120) settings in the Rental category in the Settings node of the Admin Console. Users can extend rental as often as defined by Max Number of Rental Extensions. Also make note of the Final Reminder Days, and Reminder Days values.


Make an Application 'reshoppable'

By default, once an Application request has been completed the user is unable to request the same Application from the same computer. When using uninstall and rental, it is expected that users may want to install and remove an application several times on the same computer. It is therefore necessary to make the Application 'Re-shoppable' to make it available to users to reinstall.

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On the General tab of the PowerGUI –ConfigMgr Application Properties dialog, check the Reshoppable option (about two thirds down the dialog box below Cost)


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Click OK


Renting an Application

You will now rent the PowerGUI application as a user

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Log on to 1ETRNW73 as user and open the Shopping portal


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Search for the PowerGUI Application and note that the Application now has Rent button as well as Request button. Click the Rent button


1ehot tip

If you do not see the rent option, refresh the browser.


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Within a minute or so, you should see ConfigMgr notification in the notification area. Shortly afterwards you'll see the PowerGUI Administrative Console application available in the Start menu


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The PowerGUI application has no approval. If it did, the normal approval workflow would occur at this point.


Understanding Rental Lifecycle

As it is not practical to wait for rental periods to expire, for the purposes of this training the following defines the process you would see in the real world:

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When the Application has been installed, the user will be able to use it for the period defined in the Rental Period


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5 days (configurable with the Reminder Days setting) before the rental period is due to expire, the user will receive a notification email indicating the rental period is about to expire. This email also provides links to enable the user to extend the rental, or to remove the application immediately


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If the user has not responded to the first reminder email, 1 day (configurable with the Final Reminder Days setting) before the rental period is due to expire the user will receive a Final Reminder notification email indicating that the rental period is about to expire and the application will be removed. This email has only a link to remove the application immediately – at this late stage, the rental cannot be extended


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The user can extend their rental as many times as defined by the Max Number of Rental Extensions setting. As each extension period nears expiry, the same reminder notifications are sent to the user


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If the user does not extend the rental period, the application will be removed at the end of the Rental Period by running the uninstall deployment defined in the Application properties


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When the Application is removed, the License Count for the Application is decremented by 1, unless a License Hold value has been defined in the Application properties


1ehot tip

Many license agreements will not allow a license to be re-issued to another computer within a defined period of first being installed (even if it has been removed from that first computer). In order to honour this license requirement, Shopping uses the License Hold Application property to define the minimum number of days that a license must remain unavailable after being installed. If the license agreement states that the license cannot be reissued within 90 days of installation and the License Hold property is set accordingly, but the Application is only rented for 30 days and then uninstalled, the license will not be returned to the pool (i.e. the License Count will not be decremented) until 60 days after the Application is removed – i.e. 90 days after it was first installed. If the application is rented again on that same computer before the full License Hold period has expired, an additional license will be counted (i.e. the computer will effectively have two licenses assigned to it until the License Hold period expires for the first license.


1ebest practice

If you need to define License Hold values for some of your Applications, it makes sense that the Rental Period should be at least the same value as License Hold.


End User Uninstall

When an Application that has an Uninstall Program defined has been installed by Shopping, the user is able to uninstall that Application through the Shopping portal. Although the user is able to perform software removal through Programs and Features in Control Panel, managing the process though Shopping enables the license to be reclaimed (if the Application has Licensing enabled).

Enable uninstall for XML Notepad

In this task, you will enable uninstallation of the XML Notepad Application using Shopping.

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Using what you learned, enable Uninstall for the XML Notepad application from the ConfigMgr tab of the application within the Shopping console


Uninstall XML Notepad from the Shopping portal

You will now use Shopping as an end user to remove XML Notepad from 1ETRNW71

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After the uninstall program has completed, open Windows Live Mail (click Send/Receive if Mail is already open) and note the Application Successfully Uninstalled email notification


1ehot tip

Please remember that the email may be delayed as it is waiting for the ConfigMgr client to send an updated State message reflecting the successful uninstall. Carry on with the labs.


Lab Summary

In this lab, you have explored the Licensing feature of Shopping that can enable customers to control licenses of Applications deployed solely through Shopping. Although this provides a level of license management, AppClarity should be used to deliver reliable license management that captures all installed licenses (not only those installed by Shopping). AppClarity also provides a more granular management of licenses and costs and includes license reclaim based on usage of installed applications.

You have also seen how the Rental feature can be used to save costs by re-using expensive licenses where the application is only required for a specific amount of time. Finally, you have seen how users are able to manage their own Applications through Shopping, removing Applications they no longer need and returning the license to the pool in Shopping.

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