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Author's profile photo Klaus Roehler genannt Riemer

Working with SYSAM license manager for SAP PowerDesigner

Introduction to Functions and Capabilities of SYSAM License Manager

What I would  like discuss in this blog post today is the license daemon controlling and distributing the licenses to all SAP PowerDesigner users. The license manager SYSAM  comes with the SAP PowerDesigner installation package  and is a required utility daemon to be installed with the main product. Some questions may occur in certain environments like hosted services,  virtualized services, Terminal Server or other.  Also in sense of an economic use of SAP PowerDesigner it contains some to many users little  known utilities  that help discovering the usage of the SAP PowerDesigner.

First I did consider creating a FAQ list to SYSAM daemon but  I decided to create this in a blog post / checklist style what needs to be done to operate SYSAM successful -because a FAQ will rather fulfill the need of an experienced user but the information here is needed by any level of experience.

Assumptions I made

You have read the main installation instructions of SAP PowerDesigner.  Please make sure you are always on the most recent documentation set.

In addition I recommend to read  the overview on  installation tasks in this  blog post  on PowerDesigner Installation  written by Peter Bilgnaut.

This is the first chapter in a series of 3 blog posts  I intend to publish.

  • This (first) one  will cover the license types,  requirements, and how to read a license.
  • The second will cover  installation topics and license generation / upgrade
  • The last one will cover configuration topics of license manager, log files and retrieving information on license usage.

The majority of functions are also applicable for SYSAM in SAP Adaptive Enterprise Platform.


A short reasoning  – do I really need to explain licensing?

When I remember back, starting to use SAP PowerDesigner, back in 1993 it was just a small product under a different name shipped on two  720k 3.5 inch floppy disks  – (for those who re old enough to remember this) and licensing was also different at that time.  To be frank,  I do not remember how it was licensed, as I received it preinstalled on a Desktop PC with a MS Windows, to create data models.  What I did, I created physical data models and entity relationship diagrams.

In the meantime the product evolved incredibly in capabilities, spread popularity and the licensing system was adjusted to the usage model of customers in software projects.

This is different of typical Line of Business in ERP applications, where employees have a rather persistent role and use applications of same type all day.

The advantage of a shared license

Some  customers that start to install SAP PowerDesigner get confused on the topic “Shared License” or synonymously called “Floating License”  vs usual license e.g. a SAP professional user or other licenses. 

This article shall explain what is the difference to  “usual” SAP licensing and I will explain how to generate a license and utilize license management.

SAP PowerDesigner is a software tool for modeling your enterprise, manage meta data and document entire projects. So it is merely a a project tool supporting enterprise architects and developers and lesser a tool in the line of business.

This means, it is used in several sequential or parallel projects, there will be internal and perhaps external staff using it, or even partners or 3rd party service providers like a SAP partner implementing certain customizations for you. – But they will not use it all the time, sometimes only read access,  comment or supplement some information.  So the use of SAP PowerDesigner is not all day business but just a few hours here and there and unlikely all simultaneously and also not changing.

Like car sharing

The idea of a floating or concurrent sessions license allows a more economic and efficient use of the product. A named user license would need booking and canceling users and reassigning licenses to a person and hence create lots of bureaucratic effort in particular to temp or external staff.  So the license can be borrowed by any user that is editing models or creating new ones, as long as SAP PowerDesigner Windows is used – or if in Web-Mode  edited. Once SAP PowerDesigner is terminated or the Model in the Web published / closed – the license may be reused by another user.

Think of it like a car sharing model. You have a set of cars,  as long as cars are there, you can take one and drive it. If all cars are off the park, this means you have to wait until a car is returned.  If there are too many people waiting for cars, then you need to purchase more cars (hence licenses)

Reading SAP PowerDesigner is free of license. There is a special SAP PowerDesigner Viewer Windows application that allows reading Models without modifying and that will not  consume a license. – Like a passenger in the car not influencing where the driver is going to. (But may make comments to the driver – like in real life)  Of course you can read models in the SAP PowerDesigner WebPortal alike and you can comment too.

Technically this means,  if you purchased 10 SAP PowerDesigner shared user licenses – then you can install it on – e.g. 250 desktops / notebooks, a virtualized environment, a Microsoft Windows Server with Terminal Server installed, or other environment,  anyone can read simultaneously, but only (any) 10 out of these can modify or create models.

Creating a single node license and  reserving a license for longer time

When you create a license you can still create a license for a single node, – in case you have only a restricted user group,  work as a freelancer and just have your SAP PowerDesigner on your Notebook, and know exactly who will work with it. you need to configure it in license generator what I will show later on. – And yes you can also configure borrowing licenses for a configurable number of days without being connected to a license management system. In this case you borrow a license for e.g. 30 days off the corporate network, work from home, and go.  This means however, the license is deducted from total license count and may not be used by anyone else while borrowed.  If the remote hardware becomes stolen – the license is expires with borrowing time expires and is back for use again. SAP PowerDesigner becomes unusable on a stolen device.

Some consideration about  test or development licenses for SAP PowerDesigner

SAP PowerDesigner major purpose and production environment is the design time of a process, a database system, a corporate architecture.  So what in fact shall be performed in a development environment with SAP PowerDesigner? – Exactly.  This is the reason, – what you will do during development, is e.g. how to adjust and adopt your SAP S4HANA,  your network architecture, your corporate topology or collect requirements of a data warehouse.  So SAP PowerDesigners production is design.  If you have purchased SAP PowerDesigner you will find your licenses always as production licenses. So if you wonder if you can’t find any development or quality check licenses as they are in a usual SAP ERP environment are available. This is different here. You receive production licenses only.

Testing  SAP PowerDesigner with Evaluation Licenses

If you just downloaded a trial license of SAP PowerDesigner, you can run it in a grace period of 2 weeks without any install of a license. If you need a longer period of time for evaluation, contact your SAP account manager and sign a test contract. Test licenses will be provided in the very same way as standard licenses and are also production licenses but time restricted. There are no restrictions in functionality, number  of objects or other capabilities of SAP PowerDesigner.  However, you are not permitted to use any of the models that you create during your evaluation period for production use.


Update the License when applying SAP PowerDesigner Updates and Upgrades

Sometimes I get called from customers that PowerDesigner fails to work or run in a grace period after applying new service packs or releases.  Please note, once SAP changes a minor version number on SAP PowerDesigner, look in your license file if this is still covered with the license. If not follow the procedure of checking in the old license and generate a new one covering the most  recent version.  Patch files and and minor enhancements usually do not change the version number.

But always check first what is covered with your version.

Reading  a License file

Example Screenshot:


Example License File

In the picture above you will see a typical generated license file, opened in a programming text editor with line numbers and block indicators. Please do not modify the file in any form and open it only in a programming type text editor in read only. The license was issued on December 6th, 2018 and expired June 6th, 2020.

Important: Do not modify the data in any form including whitespaces or control characters. This will invalidate the license file immediately.

This is a short list on the meaning of content:

As SAP PowerDesigner was once developed and distributed by Sybase – there is still some heritage information inside. Some bold printed terms are explained in more detail.

  • The controlling license manager is called SYSAM an abbreviation for SYbase Software Asset Management.
  • SS License:This license was configured as a Single Seat License ( Subject to legacy contracts – Types of license are subject to availability and  may change according to SAP Terms and conditions) Other License Type could be FL indicating a floating or shared license
  • PACKAGE: The components shipped with SAP PowerDesigner and model types and services in the license purchased. This license includes every component shipped. E.g. PD_CDM means Conceptual Data Model is included in the license.  EAM means Enterprise Architecture Modeling. You will notice on model name extensions what type of component is associated and licensed.
  • Options means this is a special license, eg for demo use, the term supersede means this was an already replacing license on an upgrade and was issued December 6, 2018.
  • SIGN2 is an asset control key.
  • INCREMENT  indicates what is the License, the provider, the version licensed.  If this license shows a date here, like in this example  – it is a temporary license, either borrowed or a trial license telling the expiry date.  It shows also how many licenses were used – uncounted – means this is not an Floating License or or an unlimited contract wit SAP)   Further information is once again the package licensed, license type and the hardware information on what the license was generated on. – In this case the HOST_ID is based on the disk serial number and the hardware name as given in the operating system.   We will later show how the gather the correct information. – If the disk id changes or the name changes – the license becomes invalid and need to be checked in and regenerated.  The last set – indicates a serial number and another part of the asset control key.


In case you upgrade or apply a service pack to your SAP PowerDesigner installation please verify if the version licensed has changed  this means. if the minor number is higher than yours displayed in SAP PowerDesigner.

To determine your version of PowerDesigner get on Help in the main menu bar like in the screenshot below the click on “About PowerDesigner”


Get Your Version of PowerDesigner


Then a Version Window will pop up and tell you all details on the version you are using:


Version Pop Up Window

This one will tell you that is SAP PowerDesigner is Version 16.7.1 – so the version recorded in the license file must show 16.7 minimum to run this version.  This means, the license above will not work with this version. You have to get a license that is valid for this version.

Also – do not forget to verify if your license management system needs to be upgraded too.

Contacting SAP technical support

If you need to contact technical support please mention the exact version or provide a screenshot  like  shown above in “About PowerDesigner”


SYSAM Summary & Conclusion

The license manager is a tiny but powerful tool offering a highly flexible and economic license distribution to those who really contributing knowledge and creating models.  Those who just consume information from models access free. In a typical customer environment SYSAM operates silent und effectively unnoticed to all users. Knowing and identifying licenses increases efficiency and minimizing error rate.

In the next blog post  I will cover the technical topics on licensing daemon install and how to generate a license.




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