License Server Version 7

Applies to: Installation and licensing


Version 7 of the Timestone Software License Server uses a different protocol than prior versions for authenticating users. Specifically it uses a TCP protocol instead of named pipes. A brief discussion of named pipes and TCP is available here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa178138(SQL.80).aspx

This provides three significant advantages

  1. TCP avoids the requirement of a Windows logon. This in itself is not siginificant except for the fact that Windows logs out users after a period of prolonged inactivity with the result that Timestone operators lose connection to the License Server. This is most noticable when rendering large jobs particulary with the use of PrintTime and RIPTime which are left to render unattended overnight.
  2. Windows assigns named pipes connection a lower priority than other protocols. This was significant in times of peak and intense network activity, where a time-out would occur and the user would lose connection to the License Server.
  3. The License Server is able to work with a USB hardlock as well as the traditional LPT paralel dongle.

The overall result of changing to Version 7 is a significantly more stable connection to the License Server with fewer, if any, disconnections.

The new License Server (Version 7) can be used with all versions of the Timestone Software applications. The old License Server (Version 6) will continue to work with Version 3 (and earlier) programs. However Version 4 and later programs require the new License Server in order to run.

Background information - Server and Client

The relationship between the License Server computer and the Timestone Software workstations is often referred to as a Server-Client relationship. The License Server is installed once on a central "server" computer and allocates licenses to the Timestone "client" computers.

Two files are required to authenticate this relationship. Installing the License Server on the server computer installs the following file:

C:Program Files\Timestone Software\License Server\tsLServer.exe

It is this file that determines the version of the License Server. To check the version number, right click the file and select properties then the Version tab. Current shipped versions of the License Server are 6.0.1.1 for the 'old' License Server and 7.1.0.1 for the 'new' License Server

Installing the Timestone Software programs on the "client" computers will install this file:

C:Program Files\Common Files\Timestone Shared sLUser.dll

This file authenticates the client computer with the License Server. Its version number can be checked in the same manner as above. Current shipped versions of this file are 6.0.0.1 for Version 3 programs and 7.0.0.1 for Version 4 (SQL) programs. This file is installed automatically when installing one of the Timestone Software programs. A stand-alone installer is also available.

Installing License Server V7

The License Server can be installed via a stand-alone installer from the Timestone Software website. For more information on installation please consult the Installation and Licensing documentation available from the support pages of the website.

Version 4 programs require the new License Server in order to run. Version 3 (and earlier) programs can run with either the old or new License Server.

Unexpected disconnections

One difference between License Server Version 6 and Version 7 to be aware of is the way unexpected disconnections are handled - computer and network crashes!. With named pipes connections (License Server V6 and earlier) if a computer unexpectedly disconnected, Windows would recognise this and release the connection (and hence the Timestone license) almost immediately.

With License Server Version 7, detecting unexpected client disconnections (such as when a computer crashes) is a function of the TCP/IP protocol stack, the License Server itsef does not explicitly do this. On Windows, by default, a client is assumed to have disconnected after 2 hours of inactivity. This is called TCP keep-alive, and 2 hours is the default timeout for all TCP connections (it is not specific to our License Server).

This means that with License Server V7 if a computer crashes while using a Timestone license, the License Server cannot know about this until 2 hours have passed and therefore the license remains allocated.

However it is possible to adjust the time by editing a registry value. Keep in mind this setting is global and affects all TCP connections. The registry setting can be found at the following location: If the key is not present it can be created.

Note this must be done on the License Server computer NOT the client machine.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\KeepAliveTime

When adjusting this setting, Microsoft recommends the timeout is set to 5 minutes. The registry value is in seconds and thus should be set to 300000.

More information about KeepAliveTime is available here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd349797(WS.10).aspx#BKMK_2.

Windows firewall

Version 7 of the License Server is sensitive to the Windows Firewall. The firewall should therefore be turned off on the License Server computer or the License Server program be added as an exception by exempting this file.

C:Program Files\Timestone Software\License Server\tsLServer.exe

End of article


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