Highly Available Licenses
When software on a regular consumer computer stops working , it is a nuisance . If it stops working in a commercial environment , it can threaten the mission ( mission critical incident ) or the entire business ( business critical incident ). As a software developer , it is essential for you to understand your users ’ availability requirements and to respond to them with the right strategies and capabilities . You should never forget to include the question of licensing in your availability concepts .
One obvious and simple solution is to forego any licenses at all . In such cases , the software could simply be copied to a replacement computer , and the user can keep on working . However , this option has one often ignored condition and one potentially disastrous effect on your business . For the software to be installed on a replacement computer , that computer would have to be available or be bought on the spur of the moment if something happens . It would have to be fully compatible as well . Buying or organizing a replacement license would be just as easy as buying or organizing such a replacement computer . The great disadvantage of foregoing licensing in general is obvious : Unscrupulous or unwitting users could simply copy and use your software without paying for it at all . In any case , the lost revenue , especially in the form of unintended overuse , can be life-threatening for small and medium-sized enterprises .
The cotton sorter One of our clients produces specialized sorting machines for cotton processing . The unique intellectual property of that client lies in the software that controls the sorting process – the rest of the machine is simply nuts and bolts and a few cameras , which any skilled engineer could copy without too much effort . As the machine sorts cotton during active production , any outage or disruption means an immediate loss , because production comes to a standstill . High availability is key . The sorting usually happens literally in the field , i . e . on the cotton plantation , so that an Internet connection is not always available when problems occur .
A solution would be to install two devices for controlling the machine . One of them has a dongle with an unlimited license for the control software . The second one has as a similar license , but it is limited to 30 days of use after first activation . If anything goes wrong , the first controller can be replaced or repaired without production having to be interrupted , whatever the problem might be . Service technicians would have 30 days to repair the system on site and set up a new emergency license .
This is called a cold standby solution . An additional license is available and ready for use as needed . Because it is for temporary use only , the user would not be able to trick the system and use it as a second full-scale license . Technically , this can be achieved by defining a usage period or integrating a unit counter . In the former case , you define for how many days the license should work after it is first activated . In the latter case , the unit counter tracks the number of individual actions or the actual time in use , down to the last minute .
The architect Another scenario would be an architectural