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.

License Configuration Overview

A license configuration can contain some or all of the following license rules:

  • License counting type — How these licenses are counted (by vCPU or physical core).

  • Minimum and maximum allowed number of vCPUs or physical cores — Threshold values for vCPUs or physical cores. The rule type depends on the counting type.

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

  • 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.

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

    • Shared tenancy (default)

    • Dedicated Instance

    • Dedicated Host

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

  • Name

  • Description

  • Number of licenses consumed

  • Status (controls whether the configuration is active)

For more information about the structure of license configurations, see the LicenseConfiguration type definition.

After a licensing 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, Modifying, and Deleting License Configurations in the Console

This section provides example procedures for creating and managing license configurations in the License Manager console.

To create a license configuration

  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 as needed:

    • Name — A name to identify the license configuration.

    • Description — A description of the license configuration.

    • License type — The counting metric for this license (vCPUs or cores).

    • Number of vCPUs or Number of cores — The option displayed depends on the counting metric. The license limit beyond which License Manager notifies you (soft limit) or prevent a resource from deploying (hard limit).

    • Enforce License Limit — If selected, a hard limit is imposed.

  5. Expand the Additional configuration section and provide information for the following rules as needed. You can create and add multiple rules.

    • Minimum vCPUs or Minimum cores — The option displayed depends on the counting metric. This value is an integer.

    • Maximum vCPUs or Maximum cores — The option displayed depends on the counting metric. This value is an integer.

    • Tenancy — Available values are Shared, Dedicated Host, and Dedicated Instance.

    Choose Add rule when done with each rule.

  6. In the Tags pane, you can optionally apply tags to your license configuration. Tags are key-value pairs.

    Provide the following information:

    • Key — The searchable name of the key.

    • Value — The value for the key.

    Choose Add tag. You can create and add multiple tags.

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

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

  1. Open the License Manager console at

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

  3. Choose Action, Deactivate, Deactivate.

To delete a license configuration

  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.

Creating, Modifying, and Deleting License Configurations with the License ManagerAPI, AWS CLI, and SDKs

For information about the License Manager API, AWS CLI, and SDKs, see the following documentation: