Autodesk and Bentley licensing changes

If you’ve been paying attention to the CAD world lately, you might know that Autodesk will stop selling perpetual licenses for many of its products on Jan 31, 2016. This has triggered a lot of negative feedback, some of it deserved and some of it undeserved because of misunderstandings. First off any perpetual licenses you own on or before Jan 31, 2016, will continue to be a perpetual license. Secondly, Autodesk Suites are not included in this change. You can still purchase perpetual licenses for suites, at least until the next deadline is announced.

Bentley on the other hand is doing something right in your face and you have little control over it. With their SELECT licensing programs in place, application usage is tracked in units called calendar hours. Why is this a problem? Suppose you have one network license of Microstation and two users with it installed. Joe launches Microstation at 8:12am and exits the program at 8:31am. Then Sally launches her copy of Microstation at 8:42am and exits the program at 8:53am. Guess what? You’ve just used TWO licenses “concurrently” and 4 of these in a quarter will get you an “overage” bill in the mail at the end of the quarter. Did you have a way to force Sally to wait until 9:00am to launch Microstation? (at which time a new calendar hour starts) No! This is effectively letting employees spend company funds unchecked. This is not an endorsement, but there is at least one 3rd party vendor who offers a way to manage the Bentley licenses to prevent the scenario described above.

Regardless of platform, it is imperative that your CAD/BIM manager and IT departments understand how the licensing works for the various products that you use. Few companies want to spend more money than necessary on software licensing so it literally pays to be on top of licensing nuances and changes. A good reseller should be able to walk you through the different options and explain the differences clearly, not just for current purchases, but taking into account potential business growth.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics.

EDIT (June 20, 2016) – Bentley has changed some terms of their “calendar hours” tracking.

  • Previously, any usage was considered a use of the software, even an accidental launch of the application. This has been changed so that any usage under ten minutes is not counted.
  • The time interval during which usage is calculated has been reduced from one hour to ten minutes.
  • More details can be found here.

1 Comment

  1. Charmain

    Excellent article. I am facing many of these issues as well..


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