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XSPRADA Corporation Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: “Discovering RLM was a breath of fresh air. As it turns out, the guys who founded RLM were also those who initially worked on Flexnet. So right off the bat, this gave us confidence these folks knew what they were doing . RLM provided us with a time-limited trial version of their bits immediately. They were responsive from day one. Their technical support was flawless. It took one of our engineers half a day to integrate the RLM software with our 64-bit product. The process to generate license files was also quite simple and well documented. That, combined with an attractive price-point, convinced us to go with Reprise. We have been running the RLM licensing for half a year now without a hitch. Looking back, we know we made the right decision in choosing Reprise Software for our licensing needs.”

About XSPRADA Corporation:[]

XSPRADA and RLM licensing
XSPRADA is a new-breed player in the high-performance analytical database market. Our product, called RDM/x (Relational Data Miner Express Edition) is a database engine designed for strategic and tactical business intelligence work for OLAP and data mining in large data warehousing applications.

Currently RDM/x only runs on Windows Server platforms, and it presents as a small Windows Service application (and associated ODBC drivers) that people can download and install from our website at www.xsprada.com.

License Policies
Given our deployment model and the types of markets we target, we wanted to be able to license our software in three different ways. One is a trial version, which is time-limited. This is for people who want to try out our software for 30 days before making a purchase decision. Another is a developer version. In this version, the software is fully functional but capped at a certain data volume (say for example, 10 or 100GB). This is more convenient for long-term proof-of-concept projects in research environments. The last is the enterprise version which is the official release and is tied to a specific machine (node-locked) via a customer-provided MAC address.

Simplicity was Key
Another requirement was for our licensing software to support multiple platforms in anticipation of our upcoming Linux release. Additionally, we wanted an easy-to-integrate product, as our engineers were busy putting our own product together, we did not want to be spending a lot of time on technical integration issues. The system also had to be extremely simple for the customer, as ease-of-use is one of our strongest value points. In other words, simplicity was an absolute must-have. Finally, beyond the technical issues, vendor support was going to be a major component of our purchase decision process.

We found only a few viable vendors
Licensing is a complex issue with potential ramifications on user experience and performance. We were not going to deal with a vendor unless support was “just-in-time.” Surprisingly, the software licensing vendor space is fairly limited. There are not too many serious players in this field. And finding them isn’t easy to begin with! In our search we looked at Agilis, Flexnet (from FlexEra, previously Acresso, previously Macrovision, also makers of InstallShield), Easysoft, and of course Reprise Software (RLM).

Some vendors were not suitable
Flexnet is clearly the big kahuna in this space. They “wrote the book.”  All 500 pages of it too. They were difficult to reach and there seemed to be a lot of confusion in their sales department. Judging from the sheer size and complexity of the product, combined with lackluster customer support and follow-up, we decided to look elsewhere. We found similar issues with other vendors. Some didn’t seem viable while others had limited functionality (as in not supporting multiple platforms, for example).

RLM – Right Product at the Right Time
Discovering RLM was a breath of fresh air. As it turns out, the guys who founded RLM were also those who initially worked on Flexnet. So right off the bat, this gave us confidence these folks knew what they were doing . RLM provided us with a time-limited trial version of their bits immediately. They were responsive from day one. Their technical support was flawless. It took one of our engineers half a day to integrate the RLM software with our 64-bit product. The process to generate license files was also quite simple and well documented. That, combined with an attractive price-point, convinced us to go with Reprise. We have been running the RLM licensing for half a year now without a hitch. Looking back, we know we made the right decision in choosing Reprise Software for our licensing needs.

PR System Design Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: “We chose RLM due to the flexibility of licensing solutions, broad support for different platforms and clear cost structure. We are very happy with RLM’s technical quality, and Reprise Software’s responsiveness.”

About PR Sys Design[]:

Industrial Pattern Recognition

PR Sys Design helps industry to design and deploy pattern recognition systems. We create decision making algorithms for customers in very diverse markets such as geological exploration and mining, medical diagnostics, automotive, defense organizations or logistics. The applications range from fast object sorting on conveyor belts to diagnostic modules for medical equipment.

In addition to custom algorithm design, we also organize training courses and sell our software package called PRSD Studio. The software is composed of two parts – a Matlab toolbox offering Plotinteractive visualization and data analysis and a C-based DLL for execution of trained classification algorithms in custom applications. In both components, the licensing code resides in software libraries (special MEX DLLs under Matlab and standard DLL in deployment). PRSD Studio is currently available for five platforms (32/64-bit Windows, 32/64-bit Linux and Max OS X).

Industrial pattern recognition research is performed in close collaboration with academia. Therefore, in addition to commercial version we also offer academic and feature-limited free versions of our package.

Why RLM?
We chose RLM due to the flexibility of licensing solutions, broad support for different platforms and clear cost structure. We are very happy with RLM’s technical quality, and Reprise Software’s responsiveness.

We use node-locked licenses bound to a hardware dongle with custom hostid (cross-platform support). For group installations we adopted floating licensing. Binding the license server to a hardware dongle greatly simplifies relocation of license servers for our customers. In our software demos, we benefit from using activation. RLM allows us to quickly tailor a custom licensing scheme for a specific situation, for example when installing software for in-house training courses. Depending on network constraints, we leverage floating licensing, activations, or even manually create specific licenses.

For more information, please visit http://prsysdesign.net

HPC-SA Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: “After we professed for years that users should adopt our ray-tracing software because it is our specialty and it was better to rely on our proven tools, we discovered that licensing is exactly the same: instead of trying to do it ourselves, wasting time and money, it would have been better if we have gone directly to the specialists to adopt a field-proven off-the-shelf solution like RLM.”

About HPC-SA:

HPC-SA and RLM licensing

The main activity of HPC-SA is high performance ray-tracing in 3D environments. HPC-SA  also develops ready to use high performance propagation software (multi-physics thermics-lighting-solar green building software, Monte-Carlo based radiative simulation software, etc.). Also HPC-SA can provide ISVs with high performance ray-tracing modules including diffraction, radiosity, occlusion and visibility.

Among others, HPC-SA has developed the radiosity engine used in the Artlantis renderer and the propagation module used in the ErgoSpace satellite software. Thanks to the HPC-SA’s ray-tracing technology, both Artlantis and ErgoSpace are amazingly fast and accurate.

Last but not least, HPC-SA’s core technology, a ray-tracing acceleration library named RayBooster, is available to drastically speed-up almost any software using ray-tracing. RayBooster has been successfully used in scientific wave propagation software within top laboratories (ONERA, Ecole Centrale de Paris), and is the heart of the other ray-tracing software from HPC-SA.

In the beginning, we wrote our protection mechanisms ourselves, just checking for the host identity. This was barely effective in basic environments, leading to additional work and errors, but was not effective at all in complex environments, like clusters.

Why reinvent the wheel?
After we professed for years that users should adopt our ray-tracing software because it is our specialty and it was better to rely on our proven tools, we discovered that licensing is exactly the same: instead of trying to do it ourselves, wasting time and money, it would have been better if we have gone directly to the specialists to adopt a field-proven off-the-shelf solution like RLM.

With this in mind, we can recommend RLM, as it offers all the needed features for a very fair price. Not only is RLM effective, but the Reprise Software support is effective too.

For more information, please visit http://www.hpc-sa.com

License Server Deployment: Local or Web-Based?

Which is Better for Your Customers?

As license management technology has evolved, so has Internet-based networking and the ability to locate various clients and servers at physically distant locations.  But are “distant” and “remote” always best for a software vendor’s customers?

Let’s look at some of the thinking that could go into the decision on how and where to locate license servers, and what that means for a software vendor’s choice of license management technology.

First off, it’s best to look at the question of server location in the context of a specific type of end user.  Clearly, not all software is best managed with license servers, either local or across a WAN or the Internet from its intended users.

Software that is best deployed with license servers is typically low-volume and high-dollar-value software, such as is used in various engineering fields (mechanical CAD/CAM, chip design or “EDA”, oil and gas exploration, video production, etc.)  So, it goes without saying that the nature of these software products, and their value to the organizations buying licenses for them, demands near-instantaneous, secure availability of those licenses, as well as the ability to easily report on their usage.  In fact, this model is where the term “software asset management” is derived: non-tangible yet hugely valuable software licenses that are treated by end user organizations just like any other important, valuable physical asset.

Given that high-value software licenses must be always available, secure and reportable, where should the servers hosting those licenses be sited?  On the end user’s Intranet?  Across a WAN?  Across the Internet?

At Reprise, our experience going back over 20 years leads us to think that the physically closer you can site license servers to their intended users, the better.  Also, the fewer network devices you can put between the user and their license(s), the better.  While it can be argued that networking has only gotten better over the years, with more capable routers, higher-speed connections and better system and network management, as of yet no one has figured out how to remove Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame.  And the last thing your poor, harried user needs is Murphy messing with license servers at the eleventh hour of a big project, when that important software license had better be available.

Besides availability, control is obviously important in deploying license servers.  Large enterprise organizations dedicate individuals or even teams to keeping software licenses watered, well-fed and ready for their users.  Inherent in that is the capability to tweak individual vendor servers, or the main server itself, so that license reservations for groups or projects and reporting are all set up to maximize the users’ benefit.  So while moving all of this infrastructure across the Internet may seem appealing to the software vendor, be sure to ask your users what they would think of this.  Would your users still have routine administrative access to stats about server and license availability?  What happens when Port 80 is saturated when the next “gotta watch” video is posted?

While there’s a trade-off between configuring firewalls to handle non-Port 80 traffic and the immediate availability of Port 80, it’s our observation that most end user organizations want to dedicate ports and server hardware to serving valuable licenses, so that their users can get them when they need them.  And now, with the concept of license “refreshing” and re-hosting, a good hybrid deployment model is available to end users of license managed software.  Imagine–having the flexibility to easily move licenses from one server to another with the good availability of licenses served from a machine directly under the end user’s control.  What could be better!

SIAS Limited Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: “After some research SIAS selected RLM as the supplier of the next licensing solution. RLM offered all the flexibility needed to cope with our unique licensing model. The test code supplied in the RLM kit was tried on a network spanning multiple time zones and successfully checked out and checked back in some 10,000 licences. RLM support was also a great help in integrating their libraries into our mix of programming environments.”

About SIAS Limited:[]

S-Paramics and RLM licensing

S-Paramics, from SIAS Limited in Scotland, UK, is a road traffic microsimulation software suite.  It assists city planners and transport planners in assessing the impact of the changes to the flow of traffic. A model of the road network is built and calibrated using surveyed data on journeys and traffic flows. Then changes are made to the model such as new roads, new traffic control systems or additional road trips, perhaps from a new retail development. S-Paramics simulates every individual car, truck and bus on the road network in both versions of the model.

The major software module in S-Paramics is the modeller, which edits road network models, simulates the vehicles and provides a visualisation of the moving traffic. There is a separate batch mode of the modeller which performs the simulation only. The Data Analysis Tool then takes the results of the simulations and identifies the changes in speed and flows as well as quantifying the benefits of the road network changes.

Licensing Models
Licensing S-Paramics is quite complex.  The three main modules are individually licensed.  For example a customer may have more batch mode licences than desktop modeller licences and will use them to operate a grid computing batch farm.  S-Paramics is licensed according to the size of the simulation model, measured by the number of vehicles present in it, so some details of function and model size must be encoded in a licence. Most customers also have time limited licences which require renewal annually and hence there is an expiry date in the licence. Finally, many customers continue to use old versions of S-Paramics, preferring to keep the number of variables to a minimum when comparing new road designs with runs from previous base models.

RLM replaces problematic dongles
Two different dongles have been used in the past. The first was a serial port dongle (pre-USB and it had to work on Unix, Linux and Windows).  This was replaced because the failure rate approached 40%. The next dongle, a USB key, works fine when licensing individual PCs but the network dongle proved troublesome when communicating over corporate networks spanning several timezones. The latest release of the dongle management software also saw the dongle manufacturer taking more control of the configuration process making it hard to integrate into SIAS’s own procedures. For SIAS to continue to offer licences for older S-Paramics releases while using the new dongle security we would have had to duplicate the licence data and in effect double the number of licences available from each dongle.

Why RLM?
After some research SIAS selected RLM as the supplier of the next licensing solution. RLM offered all the flexibility needed to cope with our unique licensing model. The test code supplied in the RLM kit was tried on a network spanning multiple time zones and successfully checked out and checked back in some 10,000 licences. RLM support was also a great help in integrating their libraries into our mix of programming environments.

http://www.paramics.co.uk

Lanner Group LTD Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: Lanner has deployed the Reprise License Manager at a large multi-national automobile manufacturer. Both parties are delighted with the simplicity and reliability of the system. Lanner is now undertaking the work to roll out RLM as a standard licensing mechanism to all customers within its autumn release of WITNESS Power with Ease.  Its plans also call for RLM to be used with its PRISM and Px-SIM range of products early in 2010.

About Lanner Group LTD:

Lanner chooses RLM for its flagship dynamic process analysis software WITNESS

Lanner develops simulation software that enables organisations to understand and improve their business processes. Lanner’s simulation technology works by enabling users to represent their real world processes in a dynamic animated computer model and then experiment with alternative ‘what-if ?’ scenarios to identify the optimal solution.  It includes the natural variability and complexity of interactions in users’ processes that spreadsheets or planning based techniques can’t reflect.

Dynamic Process Analysis
Lanner’s technology is used by the most technically respected and demanding organisations in manufacturing, and in the service and financial sectors. It is also chosen by many of the worlds leading software providers. Based in the UK with subsidiaries and partners in Europe, The Americas and the Far East, Lanner applications are used by more than 3,500 companies globally.

With Lanner, customers can access simulation technology through a range of industry standard and industry tailored desktop tools; so making dynamic process analysis accessible and convenient. For great general purpose 2D and 3D process modelling, our customers choose WITNESS simulation. For those needing a simulation engine to embed within their own software solution, they adopt Lanner’s L-SIM.

Lanner’s Plans and RLM
Lanner has deployed the Reprise License Manager at a large multi-national automobile manufacturer. Both parties are delighted with the simplicity and reliability of the system. Lanner is now undertaking the work to roll out RLM as a standard licensing mechanism to all customers within its autumn release of WITNESS Power with Ease.  Its plans also call for RLM to be used with its PRISM and Px-SIM range of products early in 2010.

Flexible license management allows Lanner to protect multiple product configurations, across a variety of deployment scenarios, and yet maintain a single license control database. By integrating the RLM Internet Activation into our Salesforce.com based business information system, Lanner expects to achieve a significant reduction in cost and time within the license fulfillment process.

RLM Integration with Salesforce.com
With RLM Internet Activation, Lanner will be able to support sales to customers worldwide without the time-zone delays normally related with a UK based customer service team.  The self-service license fulfillment removes the need for e-mail exchanges, saving of attachments, and users having to follow complicated instructions. Not only will RLM deliver better customer service, it will vastly reduce the load on our customer support team.

“With our implementation of RLM v7, our maintained customers will get upgrade rights downloaded to their license servers or to their node-locked client applications automatically.” says David Jones Lanner CEO.  “We are looking forward to being able to offer short-term trials, upgrades and additional licensed seats, simply by adjusting our Salesforce.com records. This will be a key component in helping Lanner grow its business.”

http://www.lanner.com

Dynamic Named-User Licensing

Let your License Manager build user lists dynamically

Floating licenses are the most versatile of the license types. If floating licenses are available, anyone on the network with the application software product and access to the license server can get a license to run. This is tremendously powerful for software user organizations. But, there are times when software publishers (ISVs) want to sell the convenience of floating licenses while enforcing a more restricted named_user license model.

In the named_user model, the idea is to restrict license access to only users who are on a list.

Business Benefits
The benefit of named_user licenses to the software user community is that their regular software users will not have to contend with other users for licenses. The licenses are in effect dedicated to the group of named users.  These licenses may also be less expensive than floating licenses. The ISV, on the other hand, benefits because he can sell named_user licenses, perhaps at a lower cost, that better match the spirit of his license agreement.  If he chooses, the ISV can still sell unrestricted floating licenses, but at a premium to the named_user type.

Names can be Dynamically Assigned
In Reprise Software’s RLM, named_user licenses allow ISVs to require that user names be included on a list in order to use the licenses. The list can be assigned by the system administrator, or RLM can create the list “on the fly.” The number of users in the list can be less than, equal to, or greater than the number of licenses available. Once a user is added to the list, he can be deleted, but once deleted, he must remain off the list for a minimum number of hours (24 hours by default). This prevents the manipulation of the system in an effort to defeat the named_user license policy.

If the number of named users is smaller than the number of licenses, then this small group will share the larger pool (assumes that it’s feasible for a single user to consume more than one license at a time).  If the number of named_users is greater than the number of licenses, then the larger pool of named_users will contend for the available licenses.

The “How To”

To deploy a named_user licensing model, the ISV does not need to modify his RLM-enabled application at all; it’s controlled in the license certificate itself.  To create a named user license a named_user keyword is simply added to a standard floating license certificate, in one of the three following ways:
named_user – to require the same # of users as there are licenses
or
named_user=n – to require a maximum of n users to be named
or
named_user=”n min_hours” – to require a maximum of n users to be named, and to specify the minimum number of hours before the deleted user name can be re-added back to the list.

Managing the List
As was mentioned earlier, the license server can construct the list of users automatically as license checkouts occur, or the list can be entered via the RLM web interface by the end-user administrator. If entered manually, either individual user names or GROUP names (as defined in the ISV server options file) can be used.

Named_user licenses utilize the INCLUDE functionality of the license server, and do not need a fully populated list of users before the licenses can be used. In fact, no users need to be specified since the license server will add users who do not appear on the list if the current list size is less than the number of allowed named users.

SilhouetteFX Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: “Users are able to activate and deactivate over the Internet, activate on a machine without Internet access and permanently remove a license from a machine which can be verified using a removal code. The ability to activate and deactivate licenses, allowing customers to move licenses between machines as needed, has been a huge time saver for us since the process takes place without assistance from our customer support department.”

About SilhouetteFX[]:

SilhouetteFX turned to RLM in 2006 to manage its license delivery and fulfillment for its motion picture visual effects customers. Silhouette’s rotoscoping and paint software has been instrumental in creating special effects for Hollywood’s top blockbuster movies. Licenses supplied to customers are either nodelocked or floating and are available for Macintosh, Windows and Linux based systems.

Once we knew that RLM worked solidly, we went to the next step and wrote our own activation system built around RLM for nodelocked licenses. Users are able to activate and deactivate over the Internet, activate on a machine without Internet access and permanently remove a license from a machine which can be verified using a removal code. The ability to activate and deactivate licenses, allowing customers to move licenses between machines as needed, has been a huge time saver for us since the process takes place without assistance from our customer support department.

RLM integrates seamlessly with our custom activation system and together they meet all of our licensing needs at an affordable price. We couldn’t be happier.

SilhouetteFX brings together superior software designers and visual effects veterans.  Add an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement, 3 Emmy Awards and experience in creating visual effects for hundreds of feature films, commercials and television shows and you have a recipe for success.

Frontline Systems Licenses the Reprise License Manager (RLM)

Summary: Internet activation of licenses with Reprise is a key benefit that Frontline is extending to its customers in the V9.5 product line release.  In a beta test involving about 75 users around the globe, Internet activation has offered better reliability, better security, and most of all simplicity for end users who just want to get the software running.

About Frontline Systems[]:

Frontline Systems  Inc. (www.solver.com) is a leading developer and marketer of software for mathematical optimization and risk analysis with Monte Carlo simulation.  Frontline’s products for Microsoft Excel are upward compatible from the Solver in Excel, which Frontline developed for Microsoft.  Frontline’s software is used throughout the world in nearly every industry, by thousands of large companies, universities, and other software companies; its products range from free versions bundled with textbooks to concurrent-use licenses costing tens of thousands of dollars.  License management that is convenient for the end user but protective of intellectual property developed over two decades is crucial for Frontline’s business.

Frontline is rolling out the Reprise License Manager v7 in its latest (V9.5) product line release, replacing SafeNet Sentinel RMS.  According to Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s president, switching to Reprise has solved a series of problems with SafeNet Sentinel, ranging from unreliability in the field to problems in large companies with Windows Vista and Terminal Services.  Frontline also expects to lighten its technical support load, where about 50% of cases have involved Sentinel licensing issues.  “I can’t convey how relieved we’ll be to retire the Sentinel license manager,” Fylstra says.

Internet activation of licenses with Reprise is a key benefit that Frontline is extending to its customers in the V9.5 product line release.  In a beta test involving about 75 users around the globe, Internet activation has offered better reliability, better security, and most of all simplicity for end users who just want to get the software running.  As Frontline rolls out its commercial release, it can offer self-service license fulfillment for credit card purchases through its Web store for the first time, thanks to RLM Internet activation.

And Frontline is taking advantage of new features in RLM v7, such as activation whitelists and activation re-hosting using RLM’s refresh capability, to meet some of its key objectives in 2009.  “We want to give our academic users access to our best software, while protecting our much higher price points for commercial users,” says Mr. Fylstra.  “With Reprise v7, we can use whitelisting to ensure that academic users are actually connected through a *.edu domain.”  After spending the last few years coping with the costs and limitations of its old license manager, Frontline is now beginning to find ways to use RLM to help grow its business.