AWS License Manager
User Guide

Using License Configurations

License configurations are the core of License Manager. They contain licensing rules based on the terms of your enterprise agreements. The rules that you create determine how AWS processes commands that consume licenses. While creating license configurations, work closely with your organization's compliance team to review your enterprise agreements.


  • Number of license configurations per resource: 10

  • Total number of license configurations: 25

  • Systems Manager managed instances must be associated with vCPU and instance type license configurations.

License Configuration Overview

A license configuration consists of basic parameters and of rules that vary according to the parameter values. For more information about the creation and structure of license configurations, see CreateLicenseConfiguration and the LicenseConfiguration type definition. Available parameters and rules include the following:

  • License counting type — The metric used to count licenses. Supported values are physical core, vCPU, socket, and instance.

    (Optional) Rules following from counting type value:

    • Core: minimumCores, maximumCores

    • vCPU: minimumVcpus, maximumVcpus

    • Socket: minimumSockets, maximumSockets

    (Optional) Rules common to all counting types:

    • honorVcpuOptimization — License Manager integrates with CPU optimization support in Amazon EC2, which allows you to customize the number of vCPUs running on an instance. The honorVcpuOptimization rule determines how License Manager counts licenses when CPU optimization has been configured. If the rule is set to True, vCPUs are counted based on the customized core and thread count. If the rule is set to False, License Manager counts the default number of vCPUs for the instance type.

    • allowedTenancy — Allowed EC2 tenancy type for the AWS resource consuming a license. Options are:

      • Shared tenancy (default)

      • Dedicated Instance

      • Dedicated Host

  • (Optional) License count — The number of licenses managed by this configuration.

  • (Optional) License count hard limit — The kind of limit represented by the license count. A hard limit blocks the launch of an out-of-compliance instance. A soft limit permits out-of-compliance launches but sends an alert when one occurs.

In addition to rules, each configuration includes metadata fields, such as:

  • Name

  • Description

  • Number of licenses consumed

  • Status (controls whether the configuration is active)

You can also attach tags (consisting of customizable key-value pairs) to your license configurations.

After a license configuration has been created and attached to a running instance, the number of licenses and the usage limit can be modified by a License Manager administrator to reflect changing resource needs.

Building License Manager Rules from Vendor Licenses

This section explores how to create License Manager rule sets based on the language of software vendor licenses. The examples that follow are not intended as blueprints for actual customer use cases. In any real-world application of a license agreement, you choose among competing options depending on the architecture and licensing history of your particular on-premises server environment. Your options also depend on the details of your planned migration of resources to AWS.

As much as possible, these examples are meant to be vendor-neutral, focusing instead on generally applicable questions of hardware and software allocation. Vendor licensing provisions interact as well with AWS requirements and limits. The number of licenses required for an application varies according to the instance type chosen and other factors.


AWS does not participate in the audit process with software vendors. Customers are responsible for compliance and assume the responsibility of carefully understanding and capturing rules into License Manager based on their licensing agreements.

Example: Implementing an Operating System License

This example involves a license for a server operating system. The licensing language imposes constraints on the type of CPU core, tenancy, and minimum number of licenses per server.

In this example, the licensing terms include the following stipulations:

  • Physical processor cores determine the license count.

  • The number of licenses must equal the number of cores.

  • A server must run a minimum of eight cores.

  • The operating system must run on a non-virtualized host.

In addition, the customer has made the following decisions:

  • Licenses for 96 cores have been purchased.

  • A hard limit is imposed to restrict license consumption to the quantity purchased.

  • Each server needs a maximum of 16 cores.

The table below associates the License Manager rule-making parameters with the vendor licensing requirements that they capture and automate.


The numbers in this example are for illustration purposes only. Do not use these numbers as a template for your own license configurations.

License Manager Rule Settings (example values only)
License counting type

Console option:

License Type is set to Cores.

License count

Console option:

Number of cores is set to 96.

Minimum / Maximum vCPUs or cores (optional)

Console options:

Minimum cores is set to 8.

Maximum cores is set to 16.

License count hard limit (optional)

Console option:

Enforce license limit is selected.

Allowed tenancy (optional)

Console option:

Tenancy is set to Dedicated Host.

Creating a License Configuration

To create a license configuration using the console

  1. Open the License Manager console at

  2. In the left navigation pane, choose License configurations.

  3. Choose Create license configuration.

  4. In the Configuration details panel, provide the following information:

    • License configuration name — A name for the license configuration.

    • Description — An optional description of the license configuration.

    • License type — The counting model for this license (vCPUs, Cores, Sockets, or Instances).

    • Number of <option> — The option displayed depends on the license type. When the license limit is exceeded, License Manager notifies you (soft limit) or prevents a resource from deploying (hard limit).

    • Enforce license limit — If selected, the license limit is a hard limit.

  5. Expand the Rules section. You can create one or more rules. For each rule, select a rule type, provide a rule value, and choose Add rule. The rule types displayed depend on the license type. For example, minimum values, maximum values, and tenancy. If you do not specify a tenancy type, all are accepted.

  6. (Optional) Expand the Tags pane to add one or more tags to your license configuration. Tags are key/value pairs. Provide the following information and then choose Add tag:

    • Key — The searchable name of the key.

    • Value — The value for the key.

  7. Choose Create. The console returns you to the License configurations page, which lists and describes your license configurations.

To create a license configuration using the command line

Modifying a License Configuration

You can edit values for the following fields in a license configuration:

  • Name

  • Description

  • License count

  • License count hard limit

To edit a license configuration

  1. Open the License Manager console at

  2. In the left navigation pane, choose License configurations.

  3. Choose Action, Edit.

  4. Edit the fields as needed and then choose Save.

When you deactivate a license configuration, existing resources using the license are unaffected and AMIs using the license can still be launched. However, license consumption is no longer tracked.

To deactivate a license configuration

When a license configuration is deactivated, it must not be attached to any running instance. After deactivation, launches cannot be performed with the license configuration.

  1. Open the License Manager console at

  2. In the left navigation pane, choose License configurations.

  3. Choose Action, Deactivate, Deactivate.

To modify a license configuration using the command line

Deleting a License Configuration

To delete a license configuration using the console

  1. Open the License Manager console at

  2. In the left navigation pane, choose License configurations.

  3. For License configurations, select the one to delete and choose Details.

  4. For Resources, select each of the resources (individually or in bulk) and choose Disassociate. Repeat until the list is empty.

  5. Choose Action, Delete, Delete.

To delete a license configuration using the command line