About certificate groups
Certificate groups consolidate the tracking of license certificates. A master certificate is grouped with individual child license certificates. The CIs are attached to the master certificates. License allocation numbers are attached to the child license certificates.
For example, under the same software contract, you might buy 200 licenses for Microsoft Word. Later, you might buy 100 more licenses. In this example, it does not matter which CI is attached to a specific license certificate. For compliance, it only matters that you do not exceed 300 Microsoft Word instances for the contract.
By grouping license certificates, you gain flexibility in how the license certificates are applied. The number of deployed licenses are computed at the product categorization level and rolled up to reflect the total number of deployed licenses at the certificate level. This is useful when there are multiple product categorizations on a certificate, for example, in case of an upgrade and or downgrade scenario. This computation gives you visibility into the number of deployments per product that each certificate or a group of certificates is supporting.
The number of deployed licenses in the case of grouped certificates is computed at the master level. However, once the number of deployed licenses at the master level is computed, the licenses from the children certificates in the group are used based on the sequencing defined for the children certificates. When the licenses in the first certificate are fully used, the licenses are used from the next certificate in the group, based on the sequence. As a result, only the last certificate can be out of compliance.
The sequencing of children certificates is taken into account while distributing the number of deployed licenses from the master to the children. The distribution function also takes the product categorizations of the certificates into account, when distributing deployed licenses to the children certificates. This means the certificate that is last in the sequence for a product will be marked out of compliance if the number of deployments exceeds the number of purchased for that product and or certificate.
If you have multiple contracts with different costs for being out of compliance, make sure that the most expensive certificate is allocated first, because only the last certificate can become out of compliance.
Certificate groups help you avoid unnecessary warnings. Consider the preceding Microsoft Word license example. If you do not group the license certificates, you might receive a warning when 190 CIs are attached to the first license certificate. Although you have another license certificate that is valid for 100 instances, the first certificate would be approaching the maximum usage. If, however, you group the certificates, for compliance checks, it is equivalent to having one certificate for 300 instances. You receive a warning only when the last certificate in the sequence approaches being completely allocated.
When a certificate expires, the License Engine checks for compliance. If you have enough licenses remaining in the group, you do not receive a warning. If a license certificate is not part of a group, when it expires, all the related CIs are out of compliance.
When you group license certificates, the connection details from the master license certificate apply. For example, if you group two site licenses, the site specified on the license certificate that you choose as the master certificate is used by the license engine when connecting CIs to the certificate. If you group license certificates for two different sites, such as New York and Boston, this can have unintended results.