Floating Licences : Network Dongles vs. Software Keys

Floating licences can be deployed via either Hardware Locks (Network Dongles) or our in-house software based authentication system. Some consider that Hardware Locks provide a more robust solution for organisations with complex network infrastructure and they are currently the preferred solution for many of our larger InfoWorks ICM users. The Sentinel HASP HL Net Dongle supplied by Innovyze offers an overview of licence use (and misuse!) through a web-based interface. The web-interface can also control licence usage, including the ability to re-claim licences from inactive users.


However, the logistics of a Network Dongle solution can be more complicated for organisations who have a broad range of InfoWorks ICM licence sizes and configurations, because a Network Dongle can only host licences of the same size/configuration.  Those with different sized licences need multiple Network Dongles.  Luckily, the new Network Dongles we supply for InfoWorks ICM and InfoNet can co-exist with each other in the same server, so just one physical machine can host multiple Network Dongles without any problems.  You can, of course, put them in different machines as well – it makes no difference to the end-users, it’s just a logistics issue for the IT Department.

Innovyze FLM
Innovyze Floating Licence Manager

Whereas a Network Dongle is simply plugged into a chosen Server and then works, the installation, activation and deployment of the Innovyze Floating Licence Manager and its associated licence keys is a bit more complex and time consuming.  However, once up-and-running the one advantage it does offer to the end-user over the traditional Network Dongle is the ability to ‘check-out’ licences to a laptop for a short period of time (a maximum of 14 days at a time) so that licences can be used when away from the office.  It is important to note that expired checked-out licences don’t automatically return to the pool when they expire, the end-user has to check them back in to the licence pool before they become generally available again.

If you are looking to deploy some floating licences via the new software based authentication system that was introduced to InfoWorks ICM and InfoNet in 2014 we would recommend setting up a pilot licence server in the first instance (we would supply you with temporary soft licences for the purpose).  This will demonstrate whether deploying floating soft licences over your Corporate Network offers a stable licence solution.  It will be important to test the availability of licences to both the end-users desktop PC’s and also any Servers running remote ICM simulations.

Obviously the choice of hardware lock or software key is entirely down to the end-user, it makes no difference to the cost of a floating licence, as the hardware lock and software keys are just different technological solutions to deploy a Floating licence on the corporate network. However, for users that want to be up-and-running with the minimum of fuss, the hardware lock (Network Dongle) is probably the best solution in the first instance, with a phased move to soft licencing once you and your IT Dept. are happy a software based system provides the level of service you need across your network infrastructure.

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    About Andrew Walker

    Andrew Walker is a Senior Client Service Manager with Innovyze in the United Kingdom, specializing in the computerised analysis of drainage and flooding. He has over 30 years’ experience of modelling the key hydraulic processes involved in urban drainage design and analysis. He is one of the key members of staff tasked with supervising the roll-out and adoption of InfoWorks ICM throughout the UK and wider European marketplace.
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