This article explores the various considerations when choosing what type of license to purchase.
arivis Vision4D uses a licensing system provided by a third party to restrict and protect the use of the software and its distribution. Aside from the modality of the software, which includes whether you intend to use tracking tools, batch analysis, or other features that aren't included in the base package, the main distinction between the various license types is basically between local/floating licenses and soft/hard licenses.
Soft Vs Hard Licenses
- Soft Licenses are attached to a specific computer. This is the default configuration. They are configured at the time of installation by use of an activation key, which, once activated, locks the license to a specific machine. Because of this they cannot be lost or misplaced easily. If you want/need to change the computer you use the license on, the software license utility allows users to deactivate the license from one machine and reactivate it on another.
- Hard Licenses are attached to a hardware "dongle". Since the USB dongle holds the license, they are easy to transfer from one computer to another but also easier to misplace or break during a transfer. HL keys also require that you have a spare USB2.0 port on your computer. Hard Licenses are only available on special request.
Local Vs Floating Licenses
- Local licenses can only be used on the computer that the license is physically attached to. This includes RDP and VMs where the end user's computer essentially acts as an access point to the machine that does the processing and holds the license.
- Floating licenses are attached to a "License server" which distributes out the license to other computers on the same network. The license server need not run the software at all and just needs to be able to run the license utility and be on the same network as the clients (whether it is the same physical network or a VPN).
The scenarios below describe some common configurations of the licensing system. For hardware recommendations in each case, please check this article on choosing the right hardware for Vision4D.
Single user, one workstation
If you intend to have one image analysis computer and only ever use the license on that computer for the lifetime of the workstation, then a Soft Local license is generally the best option. A soft license can also be programmed to allow remote desktop access over RDP. The license and processing are both permanently fixed to this hardware unless the license is deactivated and transferred to another computer.
Single user, multiple workstations
If you intend to regularly use your license on different computers (maybe you have a desktop and laptop you regularly use), then a floating license is a better option as it will allow you to use any of your systems as long as they are on the same network. A Virtual Private Network can be used if the machines aren't on the same physical network. If using a VPN is not practical for you, purchasing an HL key may be a more convenient solution.
Multiple users, distributed workstation
If you intend for multiple users to use the license concurrently, you intend for them to use their own workstation or both, then a floating license is needed.
The license is activated on a computer designated as the license server and distributed out over the network. the license server does not need to be able to run Vision4D, only the license utility is required.
Each user must install the software on their workstation and those workstations must meet the minimum requirements for Vision4D and be on the same network as the license server.
If the networking requirements can't be met for whatever reason, you may also want to consider purchasing multiple HL keys which users can then physically borrow while they use the software. Note that in such cases the user is responsible for the safekeeping of those keys.
Multiple users, shared workstation
If you don't intend the users to use the workstation concurrently then you may consider this as equivalent to the single user/single workstation above.
If you want multiple users to share the workstation concurrently then you will need to consider both the hardware and software requirements differently.
If you want to use a server style setup with RDP or VMs, the license can be set up as a multi-user local license, but it may be more practical for it to be set up as a floating license which may be activated on any computer on the network but most likely be the imaging workstation. You will also need to ensure that the machine has the hardware capabilities to handle multiple simultaneous users (see choosing the right hardware).