What is usage and how is it calculated?

Important Update: In Q2 2016, Bentley changed the peak usage calculations for SELECT users from calendar hours to ten-minute intervals. See the section titled "How is usage calculated?" in Term Licensing and Application Usage FAQs for more information. This article has been updated accordingly.

So last week I wrote about how to get use out of a usage report... Just so we are all on the same page, usage logs are the heart and soul of SELECTserver and I speculate will be the most popular topic discussed here. That said, I think it is worth our while to dive into what usage is, and what it means to SELECT Server.

We have three classes of usage calculation:

• Non-SELECT - perpetual node locked license
• SELECT - machine based, pooled by ten-minute intervals
• ELS - machine based, pooled by the calendar day

There is also the ProjectWise Passport that is a user based calculation, but I will save that discussion for another day.

Okay, let's begin with the SELECT usage type. Usage here is calculated by ten-minute intervals. These intervals are based on increments of the clock, so 8:00:00 - 8:09:59; 8:10:00 - 8:19:59 and so on are the ten-minute intervals. The easiest way to picture this is, imagine a bucket for each interval:

When an application is used on a machine, a usage for that application/machine combination is "put" into the bucket for that interval. Each application will have its own set of buckets. The bucket with the most usage becomes the daily peak usage and thereby the number recorded for that application on that day.

One thing to keep in mind, once a usage is put in the bucket, the application may run as many sessions within that interval as needed, but will only be recorded as 1 usage for that machine during that interval. So if I opened 50 sessions of MicroStation in the course of a ten-minute interval on my laptop (concurrently or in succession it doesn't matter), that usage would be recorded as 1 for my laptop.

The Summary Report illustrates the end result of this calculation. (Note that the screen capture below is outdated - disregard "calendar hour" below it) This report looks at MicroStation usage for various sites. The "Peak Pooled" number represents the ‘fullest bucket' for that day. The "Machines" number reflects how many unique machines recorded a usage during that day.


As described in the beginning ELS was different in that it recorded based on the calendar day. So, take the entire example for SELECT, but instead of the calculation happening for ten-minute intervals, ELS is based on the calendar day. Under an ELS site, a user may open as many sessions during the calendar day on the same machine and only record one usage.

A non-SELECT license is a checked out license from a hosted SELECT Server dedicated to managing this license type. Even though a non-SELECT user cannot access SELECT Server to look at usage, let's explore how a checked out license is counted. A checked out license is considered in use 24/7 for the duration of the checkout period. That means that when a license is checked out from your license pool, be it SELECT or ELS, usage will be recorded accordingly against your site for that machine. This usage is pre-populated in the database and if the license is returned early, the remaining time is removed from the database. So should you come across a usage report that shows usage that has occurred in the future, you probably have a checked out license.