In the center of Europe’s Silicon Valley

Recently I was doing a little research on the growing tech scene in Krakow and came across an interesting PPT presentation showing some of the key IT companies in the city. The presentation gives a little background on Krakow, some IT figures, trends, success stories, and why companies like Google, IBM, and Motorola have established themselves in this city. But more importantly, what caught my eye is our company, X-Formation, listed as an international startup with back-office R&D (note this presentation is from 2010). And I thought to myself that it’s pretty nice to have been recognized by Ramon Tancinco, Cisco’s Head of Strategy for Central and Eastern Europe (author of this presentation) as an important company in Krakow’s scene.

Seeing that I figured it would be good to stop for a moment and take the time to reflect a little on our journey…

It was in 2008 that we decided to move our R&D center to Krakow (for many of the same reasons Google and others have migrated here), and looking back now, it was definitely a key decision in our company’s history. Since then we’ve been growing steadily and have gone from a team of about 5 to now over 30 people. Naturally, this has resulted in significantly advancing development of our two core products, LM-X License Manager and License Statistics , which, mind you, have now become forces to be reckoned with in the software licensing and license management world. But additionally, in 2011 we launched a completely new product, License Activation Center which has filled a large gap in the market for online license activation and distribution solutions. All that to say, it has truly been great experience (and one we are thankful for) working with some incredible talent from this city and also establishing ourselves, without a doubt for the long term , in this beautiful city also now known as Europe’s Silicon Valley.

New License Statistics offer for universities and other academic institutions

We’re pleased to announce an exciting new offer in our License Statistics educational licenses. Eligible universities and other academic institutions can now purchase anunlimited1-year subscription license for 3000 EUR. The key word here is, of course, unlimited, meaning both License Statistics Real-time and Imported Usage can be used for monitoring and tracking an unlimited number of users and license servers. Knowing how many thousands of students and faculty staff there are at a typical university, not only is this offer huge, but so are the potential savings from discovering all those unused or underutilized software licenses. Act now and get your school to start saving! Download a free trial or try the demo!

Protect software on embedded systems: LM-X License Manager on ARM

In response to increasing requirements of ISVs we’ve implemented a new LM-X License Manager development environment:Linux OS on the ARM architecture. This latest extension to our already existing broad range of platform and language support allows vendors to enter the growing market of embedded systems and secure their software used on mobile phones, PDAs, digital media and music players, hand-held game consoles as well as computer peripherals such as hard drives and routers.

Licensing is a crucial component for ISVs developing embedded software. Instead of having to maintain a virtually unlimited number of product variations, vendors can develop a smaller number of products and use licensing to customize them based on customer preferences and needs. Licensing also allows vendors to enter new markets more quickly without reengineering existing products, offer more secure trial versions, and protect and grow revenue. Furthermore, with License Activation Center , vendors can centrally manage their products, customers, and entitlements. Contact us for more information on licensing software on embedded systems with LM-X License Manager or sign up for a free evaluation .

Protecting your software against piracy

Software piracy has expanded during last decade and has become a serious issue for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). New storage techniques combined with high speed peer-to-peer networks has made illegal copying and distribution easier and more accessible than ever before.

Unauthorized software copying causes significant lost revenue for ISVs and results in higher prices for end users. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), “Piracy continues to rise on a global basis: the worldwide piracy rate increased from 41% in 2009 to 43% in 2010; largely a result of exponential growth in the PC and software markets in higher piracy, fast growing markets such as Brazil, India and China.”

X-Formation meets current global threats and helps you to protect your copyrighted software from being illegally duplicated and installed on unauthorized computers. X-Formation provides products that effectively protect you from illegal or unintentional license overuse:

1. LM-X License Manager . LM-X is a full-feature, easy to use license manager that’s easy to integrate with your products. LM-X secures your software, allowing you to employ various licensing methods: from standard licensing scenarios such as node-locked (stand-alone), floating (network), trial, time-limited, and perpetual licenses; to more complex solutions, such as feature-based, token-based, pay-per-use, and more.

2. License Activation Center (LAC) . LAC is an advanced, web-based license creation and distribution system that provides a centralized interface for ISVs and their customers. Software vendors enter their product and license generation details into LAC, and generate activation keys for individual licenses.

Licenses can be activated only by using a valid activation key along with hostid information as required by the vendor. The license activation process ensures the software can be accessed only for the intended user/machine, preventing applications from being installed and run on unauthorized computers. The entire activation process can be fully automated by the ISV or done by the end user online or using email.

While it may seem that software piracy is impossible to eliminate entirely, ISVs shouldn’t be passive about their response. ISVs must be proactive to protect their intellectual property and avoid falling victim to software piracy, an illegal and criminal activity. Contact us to evaluate our solutions, and see how easy and effective it is to use X-Formation products to protect your intellectual property from today’s piracy threats.

What sets License Statistics apart from the competition?

I’ve been receiving lots of great feedback from customers lately. I don’t mean to brag but it feels good to know that they’re using a product that gets the job done and the features that we’ve worked hard on implementing are bringing expected results. And so, I’ve decided to share a few points about our software that customers keep noting as the reasons why they use and value the product, and especially what makes it stand out from the crowd.

Best out of the box experience

Compared to competing products, customers say that License Statistics provides the best out of the box experience, and that applies to the installation as well as the overall use of the product.

Installation is fast and easy. You get 1 installation file and that’s it – there are no additional 3rd party apps or components to install anywhere, at all. I know what you’re thinking now – what about the database – don’t I have to install and configure that too? The answer is no. License Statistics uses an embedded database, so you don’t need to spend a minute on it. Everything simply works out of the box! Unfortunately customers can’t say the same about the competition which requires you to install different modules, components, and clients. In some cases you need to install clients on every single machine where you’re running the monitored applications – sounds like an administrative and maintenance nightmare, if you ask me. All in all, with License Statistics you can be up and running and generate your first report in less than 10 minutes.

License Statistics also provides an out of the box experience with its reporting capabilities. The product comes with a pre-defined set of simple to complex reports, where you can obtain all the specific usage details with a few easy clicks. The simpler reports typically require no more than 2 clicks to get the information you need. Additionally, we’ve left you the option to run your own reports should you find any limitations in the ones already provided.

Accessibility and easy sharing of information

Because License Statistics is web-based it can be accessed by any authorized user from any location. Therefore, sharing license usage information is as easy as sharing a web address – you just copy and send the URL to your colleague. Furthermore, License Statistics has a cross-platform architecture allowing you to access it on any OS with a browser. To sum up, not only is installing License Statistics fast and easy, as mentioned earlier, but also all you really need is 1 installation on 1 machine to monitor your entire enterprise and all your licenses.

Support for 12 license managers

License Statistics currently supports 12 license managers, including: LM-X, FLEXlm, FlexNet, IBM LUM, Sentinel RMS, Reprise License Manager (RLM), and others. There is no other solution on the market that can provide you with such versatility to monitor thousands of different applications. But we’re not stopping just yet, and support for more license managers is just down the road. Do you need a particular license manager supported? Let us know and we’ll be happy to get to work on it.

Real time monitoring and importing report logs

While there are many solutions out there that can monitor license usage in real time, there are only a few that can import report and pay-per-use log files. Going further, there are only 2 products on the market that can import and parse FLEXlm and FlexNet encrypted report logs – that would of course be FlexNet Manager, and now… License Statistics! What this means is that you can extract important usage data from your FlexNet report logs without having to purchase expensive software. For more information on monitoring in real time and importing log files, see our KB article, What is the difference between License Statistics real-time usage and imported usage reporting? If you would like to find out more about our software give us a call or download a free 30-day License Statistics evaluation .

Using LM-X License Manager with the .NET licensing model

If you’ve ever used .NET LicenseProvider for your licensing model, you probably know that the default implementations of this abstract class offer only basic features that are unlikely to satisfy today’s needs for security and flexibility. This is where LmxLicenseProvider can help you to make your licensing model more robust.

LmxLicenseProvider lets you use LM-X License Manager’s capabilities in your .NET licensing model, providing solutions for existing or home-made implementations, such as automatic server discovery, license borrowing, redundant server capabilities, and much more. (To find out more about LM-X License Manager’s features, see http://www.x-formation.com/lm-x_license_manager/features.html .)

For details on how to integrate LmxLicenseProvider with your application, see our KB article, “How to use LmxLicenseProvider as an implementation of the abstract base class provided by .NET LicenseProvider.”