Managing Software Licenses with AWS License Manager: A Hands-On Guide

Software licensing can be a complex and costly aspect of IT management, especially when dealing with diverse environments such as on-premises servers and cloud-based infrastructure. AWS License Manager is a powerful tool that allows you to define rules based on your licensing agreements, track license usage, and enforce controls on license use seamlessly. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of managing software licenses using AWS License Manager.


Before you begin, make sure you have the following:

  • An AWS account with appropriate permissions.
  • Some familiarity with AWS services and licensing agreements.
  • Access to the AWS Management Console.

Now, let’s dive into the hands-on demonstration of How to Use AWS License Manager to Manage Your Software Licenses.

Step 1: Access AWS License Manager

  1. Log in to your AWS Management Console.
  2. Navigate to the AWS License Manager service.

Step 2: Initial Setup

AWS License Manager requires a simple one-time setup. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on “Settings” in the left navigation pane.
  2. Link your AWS organization accounts to share license configurations across accounts.
  3. Optionally enable “Cross-account inventory search” to search for and discover resources across all your accounts.
  4. Provide an Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) topic to receive notifications and alerts. If you haven’t created an SNS topic, follow the AWS documentation to do so.

Step 3: License Configuration Overview

Let’s fast forward to an environment already set up with some license configurations to see how AWS License Manager works.

In this example, you’ll find a list of license configurations for managing licenses consumed by both AWS and on-premises resources. Each license configuration displays key information such as status, license type, licenses consumed, and associated AWS account IDs.

Step 4: Create a New License Configuration

Let’s create a new license configuration for Microsoft SQL Server to illustrate the process.

  1. Click on “Create license configuration.”
  2. Provide a name for the configuration.
  3. Select the appropriate license type (e.g., VCPUs).
  4. Specify the number of VCPUs covered by the license agreement (e.g., 10).
  5. Optionally, choose to have License Manager enforce the license limit.
  6. Optionally, specify any additional rules based on your license usage.
  7. Click “Create license configuration” to proceed.

Step 5: Associate License Configuration with an AMI

Now, associate the license configuration with an Amazon Machine Image (AMI).

  1. Choose an available AMI from the list.
  2. Save the configuration.

Step 6: Launch an EC2 Instance

To demonstrate license enforcement, launch an EC2 instance based on the associated AMI.

  1. Select the AMI you associated with the license configuration.
  2. Choose an instance type (e.g., one that uses 8 VCPUs).
  3. Launch the instance.

You will notice that License Manager prevents launching an instance if it would exceed the license terms.

Step 7: Manage License Configurations

In the License Manager console, you can easily manage license configurations. Perform actions like editing, deleting, or deactivating a license configuration based on your requirements.

Step 8: Inventory Search

AWS License Manager allows you to search for resources and license configurations across all managed instances, including on-premises environments. This feature is incredibly useful for tracking licenses efficiently.

  1. Click on “Search inventory” to discover resources.
  2. Search for resources running specific software (e.g., Microsoft SQL Server).

You can associate discovered on-premises resources with your license configurations to track their license usage.


AWS License Manager simplifies software license management for both AWS and on-premises environments. With this hands-on guide, you’ve learned how to set up license configurations, associate them with resources, enforce license limits, and manage licenses effectively. AWS License Manager streamlines the complex task of managing software licenses, helping you maintain compliance and optimize costs in your IT environment. Now it’s your turn to explore and try out AWS License Manager in your AWS environment. Happy licensing!

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