Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Q&A: Streamlined Licensing with KEPServerEX Version 6

Posted by Mike Leathem

When Kepware developed the Version 5 licensing model eight years ago, our customer base was very different than the one we have today. Our customers now have ever-increasing license counts, with more global operations and increased restrictions from IT. The Version 5 licensing model required a manual “round-trip” with our server for every licensed component (from drivers to advanced plug-ins to support), which created an overly burdensome process—especially for customers with multiple licenses. In KEPServerEX® Version 6, we wanted to improve customer experience and streamline this licensing process.

Read the Q&A pairs below to learn more about the new licensing model.

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Q: How has the licensing model changed with Version 6?
A: There are three significant changes in the Version 6 licensing model:

  1. When connected to the internet, the server can now be licensed online with one button-click directly from the KEPServerEX License Utility.
  2. Multiple licensable features can now be activated in a single transaction, even if the machine being licensed is not connected to the internet.
  3. Support & Maintenance can now be renewed online, and a single support renewal file can be used for all servers in a customer’s facility.

The KEPServerEX License Utility has been completely redesigned so it is easier to understand and navigate, and the My Kepware online portal has also been updated. These improvements streamline the entire licensing process and make it much easier for customers to keep track of their licenses and the machines on which they are licensed. 

Q: Do these changes impact the Support & Maintenance Program?
A: Historically, Support & Maintenance has been treated as a separate licensable feature. Under the Version 6 model, Support & Maintenance is included in the Activation ID for the feature to be licensed. As a result, our customers will have fewer licenses to track. A single support renewal file covers multiple machines, so users will also have a much better experience when they renew their Support & Maintenance Agreement.

Q: Do these changes impact customers whose control system is not connected to the internet?
A: The new licensing model will significantly improve the user experience for customers whose control system is not connected to the internet. Although these users still need to do a manual “round-trip” with the Kepware license server, Version 6 accomplishes this as a single transaction for all licensable features. With a single license file to manage, licensing offline is much easier.

The My Kepware online portal has also been updated with the offline user in mind. Whenever possible, My Kepware relates Activation IDs with users instead of machines, enabling users to log in to My Kepware without manually moving Activation IDs across networks.

Q: Do these changes impact licensed KEPServerEX Version 5 users?
A: Licensed KEPServerEX Version 5 users with active Support & Maintenance Agreements can upgrade to Version 6 at no additional cost through the My Kepware online portal. A Version 6 Activation ID can be used to license either a Version 5 product or a Version 6 product.

Installing Version 6 will uninstall Version 5; however, the automated uninstall/install process will copy pertinent project data from Version 5 into Version 6, so the installation will remain as seamless as with previous upgrades.

Q: Does Kepware still support hardware keys?
A: Yes. Hardware key certificates have not changed: the license is still a digitally-signed file that contains a unique Hardware Key ID and a list of activated products. Although each hardware key certificate can be imported to many host machines, the physical hardware key associated with the hardware key certificate can only be attached to one machine at a time. For information on how to manage and transfer hardware key licenses, refer to the License Utility help file.

Learn More

Visit the Kepware Licensing page for in-depth information about managing Kepware software licenses. Still have questions? Leave a comment for me below or contact us at any time.

Learn More About Licensing Version 6