License Service Setup Guide

Frozen Content

This guide gives an overview of installing and setting up an Altium Designer Floating License configuration. The Floating License allows multiple instances of Altium Designer to be licensed from a central Floating License Server. Refer to the Altium End User License Agreement (EULA) for the definition and scope of the network.

To install an Altium Designer Floating License on your company's network, first install and configure the Floating License Server, then install the Altium Designer product on each of the end-user's computers (the Clients).
Two codes are supplied with the Floating License Server software - a Customer Number and an 8 character Activation Code. Keep both of these in a secure location, you may be required to quote the Customer Number whenever you contact your Altium representative and you will need both codes when you install the License Server.
 

The information presented in this article is now considered to be legacy information – applicable to a Floating License Server set up and used with versions of Altium Designer prior to the Summer 09 release. For information on setting up a Private License Server, used to serve Private Server licenses for the Summer 09 release of Altium Designer (and beyond), see Using a Private Server License.

Installing and Setting up the Floating License Server

The Floating License Server is installed on the target machine as a Windows Service. Insert the Altium Designer Software Installation DVD, and the installer selection screen appears. Select the 'Install Floating License Server' option from the list.

Installer selection screen.

If the installer selection screen does not appear automatically, navigate to and click on the Setup.exe file in the \Floating License Setup\Setup folder of the Installation DVD. The Altium Designer Floating License Server Setup Wizard will appear. Follow the instructions on the pages of the Wizard to install the software.

The Altium Designer Floating License Server Setup Wizard.

Stopping and Starting the Floating License Server Software

The Floating License Server software is installed on your computer as a Windows Service. Upon completion of the installation, the software (service) will be running and the icon will appear in the Windows System Tray.

The right-click menu associated to this icon allows you to pause or stop and exit the service. To start the service again, from the Windows Control Panel, double-click on the Administrative Tools entry, and then double-click on the Services entry. The Services console will appear. Locate and click on the entry Altium Designer Floating License Server - the Stop, Pause and Restart controls will become accessible.

Accessing controls in the Services console.

Initial Configuration

Configuration of the Floating License Server is carried out from the Licensing dialog. This dialog is accessed either by double-clicking on the icon in the Windows System Tray, or by right-clicking on the icon and choosing Settings from the pop-up menu that appears.

The Licensing dialog - command central for configuration of the Floating License Server.

With the Primary Server option enabled (default), click on the Setup button to access the Primary Server Setup dialog.

Setting up the Primary Server.

Enter the Port Number (leave at the default if you are unsure). The Secondary Server can be configured later. Click OK to close the dialog and proceed.

Activating the Floating License Server Software

To configure the Floating Server, you need to first add a valid Floating License file. To obtain the required Floating License file, the software license must first be activated. To do this, click on the Activate button, at the bottom left of the Licensing dialog - the Floating License Activation dialog will appear.

Activating the software.

Activation can be carried out either directly over the internet or through e-mail. As part of the activation process, information will be gathered relating to the hardware in your computer. This information will remain in an encrypted form at all times, ensuring privacy.


*Activation over the Internet*

With the Internet Browser option enabled in the Floating License Activation dialog, clicking OK will open your default web browser and navigate to Altium's License Activation Wizard.

Internet-based license activation.

Follow the instructions on the Wizard to activate the software and obtain a license file.
Enter the Activation Code and Customer number in the corresponding fields on the Wizard. The Customer number appears at the top of your invoice for the software. The Activation Code is supplied in the software packaging. Click the Retrieve License button.
After clicking the Retrieve License button, the Retrieved License Details and the Please Enter the email address to receive the license file sections appear. Enter your email address and click the Activate License button. If the activation is successful, an e-mail containing the license file will be emailed to the address you specified.

An email with the License file will be sent after successful activation.


Activation via E-mail

The Activation can be carried out without direct Internet access on the server machine, using Email Activation.
With the E-mail option enabled in the Floating License Activation dialog, clicking OK will open the E-mail Activation dialog.

Email-based license activation.

Enter the Customer number and Activation Code in the corresponding fields in the dialog. The Customer number appears at the top of your invoice for the software. The Activation Code is supplied in the software packaging.
Clicking OK will generate a text file containing details of the hardware on your computer in a secure, encrypted form. A dialog will appear enabling you to define where and by what name, this file is generated.
Mail this file as an attachment to activation@altium.com. The file will be processed automatically and, providing activation is successful, you will receive an email containing the license file as soon as possible.

Adding the License

Once the software has been activated and you have received the required Floating license file, you must now add that license file to the Floating Server.
To add a license, from the Licensing dialog click the Add License button. The Open dialog will appear, from where you can browse to and open the Altium License File (*.alf) that you received after activation.
Once the required license file has been located, click the Open button to open the file and close the dialog. The Floating license will be added to the License Usage region of the Licensing dialog. Information for the license is displayed: Product Name, Path, User Count, Expiry Date, Status and Version.

Floating license added to the server.

Removing a License

To delete a Floating license that you have added for a server, select that license in the License Usage area of the Licensing dialog and click on the Delete License button.

Setting up the Users

All Floating License Server configurations, such as adding Users, creating Groups and assigning Users to Groups is done in the Security dialog.

Configuration is carried out on a license-by-license basis. Each license is configured in turn, by selecting its entry in the License Usage area of the Licensing dialog and clicking the Configure button - which will only become available once a valid License file has been added.

 

Configuring the Floating License Server.

By default there is a single group called All Users, with one user added. The User name is set to the wildcard character , which means any user on the network is a valid member of this group. If you intend to control which users have access, or to assign your users to Groups, remove this user.

Adding New Users

A User is a computer name on your network. Two methods are available in the dialog for adding users - Manual or Search.


*Adding a New User Manually*

This is the direct method of user addition. Right-click within the right hand region of the Security dialog and choose Add New User from the pop-up menu that appears. The Add User dialog will appear, where you can directly type the name of the user (computer name) to be added.

Manual addition of a new user.

Each new user will appear as a distinct row entry, with an empty checkbox appearing under the column for the Floating License that is currently being configured. This checkbox is used to monitor/report whether the user is currently using an instance of the available license.

Listing groups and users defined for the server.


*Adding a New User via Search*

The left hand region of the Security dialog provides a listing of all detected local area networks. Expand the relevant network to which the required users are connected and search for their particular computer names. Once found, drag and drop into the respective group in the right hand side of the dialog (if defined) or into the All Users section.

Searching for a user on the network.

Standard multi-select features (Ctrl+click and Shift+click) can be used to assign multiple new users at once.

Creating Groups

Defining a new group.

Dividing your users into Groups is an optional feature. It allows you to divide the total pool of licenses into smaller sets. Typically you would create Groups to ensure that there are always a suitable number of licenses available in the various departments that are using the software. You can also ensure that specific users always have access to the software by including them in a Group that has the same number of licenses allocated as the number or users in that Group.
To create a new Group, right-click anywhere within the right hand region of the Security dialog and choose Add Group from the menu that appears. The Add Group dialog will open, where you can define the name for the new Group.

Assigning a User to a Group

A user can be assigned to a Group in one of the following ways:

  • Right-click on the Group entry in the right hand side of the Security dialog and choose Add New User from the subsequent menu
  • Search for the required user in the left hand side of the Security dialog and drag and drop onto the Group name entry in the right hand side of the dialog
  • Drag and drop the required user from the All Users section or another Group, into the required Group.

For methods two and three in the list, multiple users can be moved into or between Groups using the multi-select features (Ctrl+click and Shift+click).

Allocating Allowed Number of Users to each Group

For each distinct Floating License that is configured, license summary information is displayed at the bottom of the License's column entry:

Floating license summary information.

The information given can be summarized as follows:

Checked out licenses

 

the number of licenses that are currently being used by Users

Assigned licenses

 

the number of licenses that have been assigned over the various Groups (where they exist)

Total licenses

 

the total number of simultaneous Users allowed for the current Floating License

Specifying the number of simultaneous users allowed for each group.

Once the users have been assigned to their respective Group(s), the next step is to enter the number of simultaneous users allowed for each Group. This is done by entering a number adjacent to each Group name. In the example shown, the total number of licenses (simultaneous users) is 10. These licenses have been divided over four specific groups:
- * Communications Group (3)
- * Embedded Engineering Group (2)
- * FPGA Design Group (2)
- * PCB Design (3).
If the number of Assigned licenses is greater than the Total licenses available, the summary information will be displayed in Red. If the number of Assigned licenses is less than the Total licenses available, the summary information will be displayed in Green.

Adding additional Floating Licenses

A single Floating License Server can be used to license multiple instances of Altium Designer. A range of licensing options are available for Altium Designer, each offering a subset of capabilities targeted towards specific members of design teams:
- * Core feature set
- * Extended feature set
- * Viewer Edition license
A Floating License Server can be configured to provide any combination of these licensing options. Additional licenses are added by adding the relevant Floating License file for a licensing option to the configuration for the serverin the Licensing dialog.
When assigning instances of a license to users, use the Groups feature to control which users have access to one or multiple licensing options. This is achieved by adding the same Group and User when configuring different Floating Licenses. The following image demonstrates this situation. The user FPGADES2 in the FPGA Design Group has been added in the assignment configuration for both the Core feature set and Extended feature set Floating licenses. Looking closely at the assignments made, this user is always guaranteed access to both licensing options.

Allowing a user access to multiple licensing options.

If a user has access to multiple licenses they will be prompted to select a license when they open a document kind that is licensed by multiple floating licenses. Once a user has selected a license, they retain the use of that license until they shut down Altium Designer.

Adding a Secondary (redundant) License Server

Setting up the Secondary server.

The Floating License Server supports setting up a redundant Secondary license server. This server does not respond to a license request from a Client unless the Primary server is no longer available on the network.
To configure the target computer as the Secondary server, ensure that the Secondary Server option is enabled in the Type region of the Licensing dialog. Clicking on the Setup button in the dialog will open the Secondary Server Setup dialog.

The Secondary server needs to recognize the Primary server. Clicking the Search button in the Secondary Server Setup dialog will open the Primary Server Search dialog.

 

Locating the Primary server.

A search is conducted for all Primary servers on the network. When the required Primary server has been located, click the OK button. The server name and port details will be added to the corresponding fields in the Primary Server Details region of the Secondary Server Setup dialog.
The Secondary server is configured in the same way as the Primary server. Its configuration - i.e. added Floating Licenses, Users, Groups and License instance assignments - must be identical to that of the Primary server.
Once the Secondary server is available on the network, return to the Primary License Server and configure it to recognize the Secondary Server. To do this, first open the Licensing dialog, then enable the Primary Server option and click Setup. Click the Search button in the Primary Server Setup dialog - the Secondary Server Search dialog will appear. When the Server has been located, click the OK button.

Installing and Setting up the Client Software

To install the Altium Designer Client on the network, run the standard Altium Designer product installation.

Setting up the Client

Once the installation is complete, launch Altium Designer. The application will open with the License Management view active in the main design window.

License Management view in Altium Designer.

Choose the Floating server to which you wish to connect.

In the Licensing Mode region of the view, enable the Floating option, then click Yes in the Confirm dialog to proceed to the Floating Server Setup dialog.

A search for both a Primary and a Secondary server is carried out automatically and the details entered into the dialog accordingly. The OK button can be clicked as soon as the Primary server has been located and its details appear in the dialog.
The Floating Licenses configured on the server will appear listed in the Available Licenses region of the view. Click on the entry for the license you wish to use and then click on the Use selected floating licenses link. Multiple licenses can be selected using the standard Ctrl+click and Shift+click features.

Fast access to the Floating Server Setup dialog.

To discontinue use of a particular license, click on the entry for that license and then click on the Release selected floating licenses link. This will free-up the license for use by another valid User.

Select and 'take' a license for use.

If you wish to connect to a different Floating License server, release the licenses you are currently using and click on the Setup link in the Floating Licensing Configuration region of the view.
The Floating Server Setup dialog will appear, from where you can select from any other available Floating License servers that have been detected.

Examining the License Usage

The current license usage can be checked in the License Management view (accessed by choosing the Licensing command under the DXP menu). In the Available Licenses region of the view, select the license of interest, then click the + symbol to display a list of users currently using a license.

Examining license usage within the Altium Designer client.

Any license(s) currently being used by your installation of Altium Designer will be indicated by the entry in the Used column for the corresponding license(s).
Upgrading Licenses for Altium Designer Summer 08 The Summer 08 version of the Floating License Server can support upgraded Altium Designer 2004 and AD6 licenses. This allows a combination of clients running current or previous versions of Altium Designer.
The Floating License Server must have the previous version license installed. Since the Altium Designer Summer 08 version of the server can not activate licenses for old versions, it is necessary to retain the license files (*.alf) from the previous server. If you choose to upgrade the server, leave the old licenses installed.

Prior to updating an upgraded Altium Designer Summer 08 license.

If the Summer 08 server is installed on another machine, the previous version *.alf file can be added to the new server by pressing the Add License button.
The server is now ready to accept the upgraded Altium Designer Summer 08 version *.alf file. Once the license rights have been upgraded from Altium Designer 2004 or Altium Designer 6, activate the license (Figure 6). Press the Add License button and add the Altium Designer Summer 08 *.alf file. The Version column displays "S08;AD6" to indicate either an Altium Designer 6 or Summer 08 client can use the license.

After updating an upgraded Altium Designer Summer 08 license.

Notes

Upgrading floating licenses will work together, providing the same license is upgraded. i.e. the license has the same Serial Number.
Altium Designer 2004 licenses will also appear as "S08;AD6", however the license is in fact S08;2004.
Previous version licenses can not be activated on the newer version server. However the old *.alf files may be added.

Examining License Usage

The current license usage can be checked in the Licensing dialog. In the License Usage section of the dialog, select the license of interest, then click the + symbol to display a list of users currently using that license. The User Count field gives a summary of how many of the available licenses are currently being used.
You can also examine the current license usage in the Security dialog. Those users currently using an instance of the license will have a tick displayed in their associated check box.

Logging License Usage

Further, more detailed examination of license usage can be made by creating an activity log, allowing you to see just how the licenses provided by the Floating server are being used. The logging feature is enabled from the Log Settings dialog. Access this dialog by clicking the Logging button, in the Licensing dialog.

Setting up real-time logging of license usage.

You can specify where you would like the log to be created. By default, logs will be stored at the following location:
\Documents and Settings\LocalService\Local Settings\Application Data\AltiumSecurityService\
The log is not one continuous file, but rather a set of files. Log files are created on a weekly basis, starting on a Monday. As part of the feature, you can specify the time period over which you wish to keep the log files. By default, this is set to 5 weeks. Files will be kept up to the specified time period, after which time the oldest file will be deleted before the next file is created.

Log Information

Information is written to the log file when:

  • A user 'takes' a license, by selecting the Floating license entry in the Available Licenses region of the License Management view (DXP » Licensing) and clicking the Use selected Floating licenses link.
  • A user 'releases' a license, by selecting the Floating license entry in the Available Licenses region of the License Management view (DXP » Licensing) and clicking the Release selected Floating licenses link.

When a license is 'taken' for use, the information written to the log consists of two entries, appearing in the format:
Date Time | "UserName" on computer "ComputerName" trying to check-out, license activation code "ActivationCode" for product named "FloatingLicenseName"
Date Time | "UserName" on computer "ComputerName" check-out completed, group "GroupName", license activation code "ActivationCode" for product named "FloatingLicenseName"
Where,
UserName is the person's computer log-in name (e.g. Joe.Bloggs).
ComputerName is the name of the computer, as seen on the network (e.g. JoeTest).
ActivationCode is the 8 character activation code supplied with the Floating license (e.g. ABCD-WXYZ).
FloatingLicenseName is the name or role of the license, as displayed in the Available Licenses region of the License Management view (DXP » Licensing). (e.g. Altium Designer 6 - Complete System - Network).
GroupName is the name of a specific group configured for the Floating license, to which the user has been added (e.g. PCB Layout)
When a user 'releases' a license they are using, the information written to the log consists of a further two entries, appearing in the format:
Date Time | "UserName" on computer "ComputerName" trying to check-in, license activation code "ActivationCode" for product named "FloatingLicenseName"
Date Time | "UserName" on computer "ComputerName" check-in completed, license activation code "ActivationCode" for product named "FloatingLicenseName"
The following image shows an example of the usage information recorded in a log. For the purposes of this illustration, spaces have been inserted to separate log entry pairings and the real activation codes have been replaced by the entry CODE-HERE.

Example license usage log.

Resolving issues with the Altium Designer Floating License Server in Windows Vista, Windows 2003 Server or Windows 2008 Server

The security model of Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 2003 Server and Windows 2008 Server Operating Systems does not allow a Windows Service's icon to be displayed while you are remote connecting into a computer that has this Windows service. If you install the license server on one of these operating systems, you will need to follow the instructions below in order to administer the licenses in your Altium Designer Floating License server.

Windows Vista

The Windows Vista security model does not allow the Altium Designer Floating License Server to create a tray icon. In order to manage licenses, the server must be launched as an application.

Windows 2003/2008 Server

When you connect to a Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 Server through terminal services, the service is not allowed to interact with the desktop and therefore the service icon is not visible.

How to manage licenses on Windows Vista and Windows 2003/2008 Server

1. Stop the license service through the Control Panel » Administrative Tools » Services.
2. Launch the server in "Application mode". From the command line; "C:\Program Files\Altium Designer\DXPSecurityService.exe" /app. The /app parameter is specified outside the double-quote marks.
3. The security server is now running in application mode and the icon appears in the system tray. Double click on the icon to open the License Server Manager.
4. Install your Altium Designer licenses.
5. Exit the security server application by right clicking the tray icon » Exit.
6. Start the license server service through the Control Panel » Administrative Tools » Services.
Now you should be able to connect to the license server and use the installed licenses.

Note: If you see the message: "Windows socket error: Only one usage of each socket address (protocol/network address/port) is normally permitted (10048), on API 'bind'", this indicates you have the service running while you are attempting to run the Altium Designer Floating License Server application. You need to stop the service while running the application and start it again once you have stopped the application.

This "C:\Program Files\Altium Designer\DXPSecurityService.exe" /app command can be made into a Windows Shortcut. In the Windows Explorer, browse for the DXPSecurityService.exe file in the Program Files folder, right click the file, and create the shortcut on the desktop. Edit the Shortcut Properties » Target in the shortcut to include the /app parameter. You can also create a shortcut on the desktop to launch the Services control panel: (C:\Windows/System32/mmc.exe] services.msc)
You can also use the Run menu (Press Windows key + R) to invoke the command line to launch the application.
Note: Prior to Build 6.7.0.8940, the executable was named DXPSecurityServer.exe

Upgrading the License Service

When upgrading from an older version of Altium Designer, the License Service will also need to be upgraded. The License Server can continue to serve licenses for older versions of Altium Designer where needed.

Preparation

Altium does not issue new activation codes, instead, existing activation codes are upgraded if the service contract is valid. After a code is upgraded, it can no longer be used to generate licenses for prior versions of Altium Designer. Therefore, it is recommended that copies of *.alf files generated for prior versions of Altium Designer are saved by you.

For a default installation of Altium Designer on Microsoft Windows XP, *.alf files can be found C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium2004. It is recommended that you backup all *.alf files in this folder.

Upgrading the Software

After backing up the license files, remove the old license server and add the new server according to the following steps:

  • Stop the existing License Service by right clicking on the Altium Designer Security Service icon in the Windows System Tray and select Stop service and Exit
  • Alternatively, you can stop the License Service clicking the Setup button in the Licensing dialog, then clicking Stop in the Server Setup dialog that appears
  • Close the Licensing dialog.
  • Open the Windows Control Panel, and select Add or Remove Programs
  • Click on the Altium Designer Floating License Server in the list. Click the Remove button to uninstall this version of the license service

Setting up Licenses

After upgrading your License Service, running the new license server should show that the old licenses are still available. If not, add them using the Add License button. Next, the licenses can be activated by using the Activate button and added again using the Add License button. If all licenses have been installed properly, the Version column will now display all available licenses.
For example, in the screenshot below, it shows W09;S08;AD6. This means that it can serve any combination of licenses for Altium Designer 6, Summer 08, and Winter 09, up to the maximum number of licenses allowed for that activation code (in this case, 4).

Notes on Using Licenses

According to the End User License Agreement, a floating license which has been upgraded from Altium Designer Summer 08 or Altium Designer 6.9 (or any previous version) to Altium Designer Winter 09 is still one license. You will be able to run the old and new product, but only one user for the two versions at the same time is allowed.

When the AD6 or Summer08 licenses with expiry dates expire, the W09 license will also be expired, if they were combined. In this case, do not combine the licenses. Remove the AD6 and/or S08 license and then install the W09 license.

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