Ana:Analytica Optimizer Licensing

The licensing scheme in Frontline SDK 7.0 (in Analytica 4.0) is now quite a bit different from the previous version (which shipped with Analytica 3.x). There are now two types of licensing configurations:

  • Single-use licenses
  • Flex-use licenses

The single-use license (the standard license for a single-user) now has many limitations that were not present in the previous version. In cases where it is necessary to overcome these limitations, a Flex-use license is necessary. These changes imply changes to the licensing and labeling of Analytica Optimizer editions.

Analytica Optimizer License Types

The following Lumina products have an optimizer component:

  • Analytica Optimizer
  • Analytica Power Player with Optimizer
  • ADE with Optimizer

With each Optimizer-enabled product, there are additional options (prices of each differ):

  • Stand-alone use (standard, includes Frontline single-use license)
  • Flex-use optimizer licensing (includes no Frontline license, license server is required)

With flex-use licensing, a separate Sentinal license server with a pool (2 or more) Frontline license codes is required.

An equivalent way to view this is that Analytica Optimizer either comes with one single-use license or it doesn't. If it doesn't include a single-use license, the user does not have the option of using it without a license server. Thus, the price for Analytica Optimizer is a bit cheaper with the flex-use variation, but that is more than offset by the fact that they need to also purchase several flex-use licenses and a license server.

In addition to the stand-alone or flex-use option, additional add-on solver engines can be licensed at additional cost. These can also be licensed as either stand-alone or flex-use. Flex-use licenses are a bit more expensive than stand-alone licenses).

The Stand-Alone Optimizer License

When a user purchases an Analytica or ADE Optimizer product with a standalone optimizer license, several limitations on the use of Optimizer functions exist:

  • The optimizer functions can only be used from one running process on a given machine. So, even though you may have multiple Analytica.exe, ADE.exe and ADEW.dll instances active simultaneously, only one may call LpDefine, QpDefine, NlpDefine, SolverInfo, etc.
  • Optimizer functions cannot be used on a machine where the Terminal Services service is running.

Because of these limitations, a stand-alone license is not appropriate for ADE purchasers who intend to utilize Optimizer functions from a web page application. These applications typically have one ADE-license per session, and thus require flex-use licensing.

The Analytica or ADE licenses with the stand-alone optimizer license includes (as part of the purchase price) one frontline stand-alone license.

Flex-Use Optimizer Licensing

Flex-use licenses can be used to overcome any of the limitations of single-use licenses, and in addition, these licenses can be shared among multiple users.

For example, an organization can purchase Analytica Optimizer with flex-use licensing for three users, along with a Sentinal license server, 10 flex-use Frontline licenses, and 2 Knitro flex-use licenses. They might also purchase copies of Frontline Solver for Excel with flex-use licensing. Now, any of the users can have multiple instances of the Solver active in multiple instances of Analytica or Excel, as long as the total number of processes active at one time does not exceed 10. In addition, any two of those (among the three users) may simultaneously make use of the Knitro engine.

As another example, a web-based ADE application uses the optimizer. ADE with a flex-use Optimizer license, Sentinal license manager, and 10 flex-use Frontline licenses are purchased. The application is designed to use a separate ADE.EXE for each active user session. With this configuration, the application can support up to 10 concurrent user sessions.

When Flex-Use licensing is used, each instance of Analytica or ADE needs to have the Optimizer option, but the number of Optimizer seats is separated from the base price of Analytica. An organization purchases N copies of Analytica, ADE, or Power Player (with Optimizer), for N users, all with the flex-use optimizer licensing option, and then separately purchases M flex-use solver licenses. Among the N users, there may be M simultaneously active process instances that use the optimizer.

When some users use Frontline Solver for Excel, or flex-use licenses for external solver engines in Excel, these same licenses can be shared by Analytica or ADE Optimizer users.

The flex-use option does not come with a stand-alone optimizer license.

When a user purchases Analytica Optimizer with the flex-use optimizer licensing, they must also purchase a Sentinal license manager and two or more Frontline flex-use licenses. However, if a user already has a Sentinal license manager from another product, then this does not have to be re-purchased when buying Analytica, and likewise, if they already have Frontline flex-use licenses (from an Excel installation), these also do not need to be re-purchased.

The Combined Option

If a user purchases a stand-alone license AND a license server with flex-use licenses, then he will have the ability to re-configure (via registry settings) the Analytica installation to use either configuration. With the registry setting set to flex-use, the license server will be used. With it set to single-use, the local single-use license will be used.

This option provides the flexibility to change over to a single-use license if necessary; however, the flex-use option allows a user to purchase Analytica Optimizer without having to pay for a single-use Frontline license that will never get used.

Sentinel License Manager

The Sentinel license manager (aka Frontline license manager) must be installed somewhere on the user's internal network, but may exist on a single machine within their intranet. The same Sentinel license manager may manage licenses for many different products, hence it is possible that an organization will already have a Sentinel license manager installed. However, if not, they must purchase a license manager when purchasing the flex-use Optimizer licensing option.

With the sentinel system, licenses are shared, so that many users can check out and use a license, which gets returned to the pool when they are done (with a 10-minute time granularity).

Lumina will (re)sell the license manager at an extra price.

The license manager alone does not provide the shared licenses. So, when a user purchases a license manager, they will also need to purchase 2 or more Frontline flex-use licenses. (If they purchase only one, they might as well purchase the single-use Optimizer license).

When purchasing add-on engines, such as Xpress, Mosek or Knitro, flex-use licenses for these can be shared among optimizer users, as well as among Frontline Solver for Excel users.

Registry Settings

Registry settings control which licenses Analytica/ADE Optimizer makes use of. All registry settings exist in these registry folders:

 HKLM/Software/Lumina Decision Systems/Analytica/4.0
 HKLM/Software/Lumina Decision Systems/ADE/4.0

The following values are used:

 Solver.lic: (string) Full path and filename of the single-use Solver.lic file.
 SolverHost: (string) Name of computer hosting the Sentinel license manager (flex-use)
 SolverLicType: (DWORD) Type of licensing used (with Combined option).
                1 = single-use
                2 = flex-use

Simpler Variation

A simpler variation on all this is to always sell Analytica Optimizer with one single-use license, which may be unused in a flex-use configuration. The user pays a bit extra, and Frontline gets a little extra royalty, but the whole licensing complexity is simplified.

See Also