For over 30 years, Materialise has been leading the way for 3D printing solutions in the associated software necessary in the data preparation, build, design optimization, and control of 3D printers, as well as in manufacturing. Their software solutions — which include Materialise Magics, 3-matic, and Inspector — set the industry standards. Consequently, many users of these solutions are keen on optimizing the usage of the corresponding Materialise licenses.
It was in 1990, the dawn of 3D printing technology, when a young engineer, Wilfried Vancraen, witnessed the first 3D printer and immediately saw its potential in changing the landscape of the manufacturing industry. Soon after, he and his wife Hilde founded Materialise and began developing Materialise Magics. This software solution prepares and builds 3D computer designs for 3D printing.
Today, Materialise offers innovative solutions in many industries, including Medical and Healthcare, Biomechanics and Orthotics, Aerospace and Aeronautics, Architecture, Art and Fashion, Machinery and Equipment, Consumer Goods, Automotive, CAD/PLM, and others.
With the still growing popularity of 3D printing not only in large companies, but even among small entrepreneurs and individual enthusiasts, the demand for 3D printing software solutions continues to increase. Because of this, Materialise began to offer different licensing options to suit the unique needs of their users.
Currently, Materialise offers both perpetual licenses as well as annual subscriptions. While perpetual licenses are permanent, the maintenance package included is only valid for the first year and needs to be renewed yearly. Subscriptions, on the other hand, already includes the maintenance package whenever it is renewed annually. The flexibility of subscription licenses allows companies to increase or decrease their pool of licenses on an annual basis depending on their needs.
Licenses can also be either locked or floating. Locked licenses only be used on one machine, and it should be noted that some modules are only available for locked annual subscriptions. Floating licenses are shared by multiple users on the same network. The Materialise Floating License Server is used to manage the pool of floating licenses.
The combinations of these different licensing methods may allow companies to optimize their software spend. However, the complexities of managing different license types can create significant problems. While the Materialise Floating License Server offers some basic usage information on the licenses it manages, it is unable to provide the necessary visibility used for license optimization. And if the users are utilizing combinations of Materialise’s various licensing models, it is even more important to employ a software usage metering solution that can track the usage regardless of the licensing method.
Materialise software solutions help users realize their 3D designs into 3D printed materials. Tracking software usage data helps companies maximize the usage of their Materialise licenses. This could translate to huge potential savings through license optimization.
License usage data can be polled from the Materialise Floating License Server, the OS kernel, log files, and other sources. This usage data can then be filtered and aggregated to generate accurate usage reports, which can be used to optimize software licensing. Some of the most useful usage reports include:
- Enterprise Overview This report provides a glimpse of the total license usage of all Materialise software across the enterprise. A quick comparison between the maximum number of available licenses and the maximum number of licenses that were checked out concurrently would give an idea of the actual licensing needs.
- Feature-Level Breakdown There are times when it may be necessary to drill down to the specific modules of a Materialise application. A feature-level breakdown could show modules that have very high utilization. However, there may also be modules that have never been used. And if the company is paying for the licenses of modules that are not being used, it may be better to reallocate the budget to purchase more licenses for modules with high utilization.
- Daily Utilization Drilling down to daily utilization could reveal the peaks and valleys of license usage. The reports may show that the number of available licenses has been maxed out; however, it could have happened for only one day out of a whole year. Therefore, it is an exception and purchasing additional licenses may not yet be necessary.
- License Efficiency Even if the number of available licenses is often maxed out, it is possible that this is only for a minuscule amount of time. License efficiency would show the amount of time that a certain number of licenses have been checked out concurrently. Depending on the organization’s tolerance for denials, this could be a basis for further reducing the number of licenses.
- User-Level BreakdownDrilling down into the user-level usage can reveal possible license camping and license hogging behaviors.
Usage Metering Solution
Open iT LicenseAnalyzer offers these reports and more for users of Materialise software solutions. It collects and aggregates data from a variety of sources to generate accurate software usage reports. These reports, which can be integrated with popular BI tools such as MS Excel, Tableau, and Spotfire, are used by companies to maximize their Materialise software investments.
Open iT also supports a wide selection of the most popular license managers. It can show an enterprise-wide license usage overview from all these license managers on a single dashboard. This simplifies the complexities of monitoring and managing different types of licenses from various vendors.
After optimizing your business’ materialise software licensing, you should also think about effectively tracking software usage to boost productivity. Tracking software usage are not limited to better license usage efficiency; it can also be used to improve employee behavior. Optimization and tracking of your software tools and usage can lead your business to success.