How do I get use out of a usage report?

Recently an email thread passed by my desk where concern was given to the need of, and time for monitoring usage logs provided by SELECT Server. It went so far as to state that software usage is not a concern or task an administrator should have to care about. That caught my attention and admittedly put me on the defensive thinking what admin worth their weight in (anything of value) would not want a usage report?!?!?

So, a very smart person once told me that before I open thy trap and chastise someone for their opinion, I should first understand why their opinion differs so much from mine. After a little research, it quickly became clear that the problem was not time or apathy, it was lack of understanding what usage reports are there for. For 10 years, we had a license model that was self governing and had its own procedures and practices. More or less, set it up and forget it until the license expires, and pray a network outage didn't occur.

Then one day we turned everything on its ear when we released SELECT Server V8 XM Edition. We no longer had a usage cap; we finally had a system that tracked usage in accordance to our SELECT agreement and EULA. It was kind of like waking up one morning and looking out to see a red sky instead of a blue sky. Everything still works, (please run with my analogy here and not dismiss it simply because a red sky would indicate more crap in the atmosphere and would probably result in a nuclear winter thus the next ice age) it just takes a little getting used to the change (and maybe a warm jacket).

I excelled in Math. I was the nerd in the front of the class who was happy to see proofs assigned as homework and given on exams. Why? Because I contend a proof is the easiest mathematical concept. You start by stating the ground rules, supply an equation, and then test the equation to see if it adheres to the ground rules. It was like a game that I could make up the rules as I went along (kind of like the 2008 World Series).

So here are the "ground rules":  Use any product entitled to you by the program you select.  Bentley will simply invoice (typically quarterly) for any usage above your contacted amount.

The equation is simply your product usage. Whilst the test is monitoring usage logs and understanding your needs as compared to what is owned. You are either under using, over using, or spot on.

How do you know? You can eagerly wait by your phone or email for a call that may or may not come from your account manager, or have a look at the usage reports in SELECT Server -and- setup email notifications so you are notified when an over usage is recorded. The first solution is dripping with anxiety and wonder, whereas the second is proactive and can be done as time permits.

I encourage all of you who read this to take an hour or two and look over the usage reports supplied in SELECT Server. We add more with each release, so for starters, I will talk about those that have been around a while.

Summary Report - define a date range and it will show the day in that range where the peak pooled usage occurred. If it's red, then it was an over use.

Daily Peak Usage report - define a date range and it will show each day in that range along with the peak pooled usage for that day. If it's red, then it was an over use.

Application Usage By Hour report - here we get some meat to chew on. Should you find an over use (or simply want to know who or which machine used an application) run this report to find out all who were using the application over a defined date range. The report contains the start and stop times for products as well as the machine and user names.

These are just a handful of the reports available to you. Log into your SELECT Server and start playing. Then post any questions back here for discussion.