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Thoughts

ArcGIS Pro Licensing — Enabling

So last week I was talking about how to now use ArcGIS Pro with “Classic Licensing”. Well after following the directions on Esri’s website which resulted in no new licenses we finally realized that despite what Esri says on their support page. The original suggestion was just use the ArcGIS Desktop license for Pro 1.2. What you actually need to do is find your ArcGIS Pro 1.2 license in My Esri and use that. Make sense when you think about it but the directions from Esri before was just use your ArcGIS Desktop.

The disconnect was that you get ArcGIS Pro license code with your ArcGIS Desktop license. You just need to run the licensing wizard and then point your ArcGIS Pro to that license server. Then it works without an issue.

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Thoughts

ArcGIS Pro Licensing — The Old Way

ArcGIS Pro has always had somewhat of a non-standard way of being licensed. I’ve never really gotten into it mostly because it revolves around “provisioning” and “logging in” to ArcGIS Online. Even if I felt a real need to get it to work, it just seems like a very annoying method of licensing software. Now since technically we aren’t paying for ArcGIS Pro licenses just yet, I suppose it doesn’t really matter1. But as I do want to at least get an idea of what Pro is, how it works and what it means to GIS workflows when/if it replaces ArcGIS for Desktop, licensing matters. I’ve not been to an Esri conference in almost a year so the ins and outs of Pro licensing have been lost on me but this tidbit yesterday about ArcGIS Pro moving forward was interesting.

So there you go, I’m guessing this means when 1.2 arrives this week, I can just point it at my existing license manager and away we go. I’ll install ArcGIS Pro, be impressed with the new UI and then realize it’s a dog and buggy as sin2. But 64-bit is a big carrot so depending on how the geoprocessing works, I can see myself embracing Pro, Python 3.x and 64-bit.

From the “What’s New in ArcGIS Pro 1.2”:

Before the 1.2 release, the only licensing option available for ArcGIS Pro was through Named User licensing. This license model required authorization through your organization administrator on Portal for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online. At 1.2, you now have two new licensing models available that don’t require you to go through a Portal for ArcGIS or an ArcGIS Online organization: Single Use and Concurrent licensing. With a Single Use license, ArcGIS Pro points to a file for authorization. The file is stored on the same machine that runs ArcGIS Pro. With Concurrent licensing, a given number of licenses are hosted on a License Manager (the ArcGIS License Server Administrator). ArcGIS Pro is then configured to allow organization members to check out an available license from the pool of licences hosted on the License Manager.

While I did spend a lot of time photoshopping the splash screen above, here is the ArcGIS Pro 1.2 splash screen.

  1. Beta software has always been sort of a different beast when it comes to licensing. 

  2. I’m thinking it will be ArcGIS Desktop 8.0.1 all over again. 

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Thoughts

Bill Dollins Wonders About ArcGIS Engine Licensing

Link – ArcGIS Engine Licensing

I was in the same boat as Bill, a long time MapObjects programmer who was **very** comfortable with the MO deployment and licensing. We’ve just started migrating to Engine from MO 2.3 so we too are still learning about how exactly this all works. I spent some time down at the Embedded Island at the 2005 ESRI User Conference and I think I’m now on board with the licensing, but there should be a document outlining the changes for MO programmers moving to Engine. Bill has some ideas about the way developers buy deployment licenses that might help MO programmers, but I just don’t see them changing it from the current method.

Essentially, ESRI needs to come up with a model that allows the developer to purchase runtime deployment licenses from ESRI and then be able to distribute them to his/her end users based on whatever cost-recovery model (if any) the developer chooses. I can envision an automated tool that interacts with the ESRI web site. Such a tool could facilitate the purchase of the right to generate a certain number of runtime deployment licenses. The tool could then decrement the number of licenses each time the developer actually generates a key. When the number reaches zero, the developer has to buy more licenses from ESRI.

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ESRI ArcGIS and the License Manager

Our company has grown much in GIS in the 3 years I’ve been here and in doing so we’ve eliminated every stand alone ArcGIS installation in favor of concurrent licenses. While this enables us to save money over all the stand alone ArcView and ArcEditor licenses we’d need, we’ve begun to run into the problem I’ve heard from many GIS road warriors, you can’t check a license out for work in the field.

I’m actually writing this on an airplane on my way to visit a client to talk to them about improving their GIS system and I’ll do so without a copy of ArcGIS that will run. Sure, I know I can install a copy of stand alone ArcView/ArcEditor on my laptop, but that would not be cost effective for our small company. At past ESRI User Conferences I’ve heard ESRI explain that they can’t let ArcGIS check out licenses because the license manager (FLEXlm) isn’t a secure as they’d like. When I used to work for a very large A&E years ago, we could check out AutoCAD license out of FLEXlm without any issue. The GIS portion wasn’t a big issue because we all had ArcView 2.x/3.x on our laptops which didn’t use the license manager and I didn’t mind not having ArcInfo 6/7 as most of the time on the road I wasn’t doing complex analysis.

While in the hotel room I can use our VPN network to connect to the license manager, but most of the time I’m off the network, unable to use the VPN. I’m going to try and raise this issue again with ESRI at the User Conference, but I don’t expect any movement on their part. GIS has become much more mobile since the days I used old Sun workstations and I think it is time for ESRI to start allowing us to check out ArcGIS licenses (including extensions) for use in the field. I’ve seen the demos on the User Conference stage with the Tablet PC being used by utility companies in the field, but why should we have to tie a stand alone license to every computer that leaves the office? If FLEXlm isn’t good enough to do this, then ESRI should move to another license manager as soon as possible.