RLM ISV Settings File – Easier Server Upgrades

Summary: The RLM settings files provides a convenient method of upgrading license servers in the field. The settings file consists of the ISV-specific information in the RLM license server making it easier to upgrade your customers. Read on about the example use cases and benefits of using RLM ISV settings files.

The Basics

The server side of RLM consists of two programs: the rlm server and the ISV server.  The rlm server (rlm[.exe]) is generic – in other words, it contains no executable code that is ISV-specific.  The ISV server, on the other hand is specific to an ISV, as it encapsulates at a minimum, the ISV’s name and its public encryption key.  The ISV server’s file name is <ISVname>[.exe].

Settings Files Introduced

Starting with RLM version 6.0, an alternative to the traditional packaging of the ISV server as an executable file became available.  This alternative is the settings file, a small data file (several hundred bytes) containing the ISV’s unique server settings.  The platform-independent settings file is built automatically during the RLM build process and is encrypted and authenticated.  When a settings file is present at server startup instead of an executable ISV server, the generic rlm server spawns a copy of itself.  The spawned copy reads the settings file and takes on the “personality” of the ISV server – it becomes a 100% functional equivalent of the old-style executable ISV-specific ISV server, but with one caveat. If you use ISV-defined hostids, then the actual ISV server binary program must be used – not the settings file.

The Benefits of Settings Files

As we mentioned above, the settings file externalizes the unique elements of the ISV server executable, making the ISV server completely generic.  Consequently, these generic programs are always available on all supported RLM development platforms.  When a server upgrade is necessary, the ISV can more quickly deploy the generic server than ISV-supplied programs because they don’t have to go through the ISV’s usual development/QA/release cycle.  A couple of additional benefits accrue:

  • Because the settings file is platform-independent, the ISV can support server platforms that they do not have in-house.  The ISV still needs to purchase a license for RLM on non-inhouse platforms, but they do not need to actually have those development platforms. This allows ISVs to support server platforms that are requested by their end users without having to actually build RLM on these platforms.
  • Because by default the ISV’s settings file works with any RLM version after v6, the process of upgrading RLM versions on the server side in the field becomes almost trivial. End users simply download and install the latest generic rlm server version.

Usage Example

As an example of easy server upgrades, consider an end-user site running a v7 rlm server and settings file for ISV “abc”.  They run into a bug (P188), which is a case-sensitivity problem with RLM_PROJECT.  This bug is fixed in RLM v8.0.  Since the fix is implemented entirely on the server side and the server side executable is entirely generic due to use of a settings file, the end user can get the fix simply by downloading and installing rlm[.exe] from www.reprisesoftware.com.  There is no need for the end user to wait for the ISV to adopt RLM v8 – the fix is accessible to the end user the same day as v8 is released.

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