KEYnote 42 English - Fall 2021 - Page 10


Licensing Cluster Simulations

Massive simulations in the cloud are beginning to replace costly simulation hardware . The automotive industry has discovered the potential of the technology , and they are not alone . Whichever parameters and properties the software needs in order to simulate different environments or sensor and actuator systems can be modelled and run in Docker containers . The great freedom offered by the new technology does , however , pose new questions about the licensing and protection of cluster simulation software .
Regular gamers will fail to see the innovation : For them , simulations in the cloud , openworld games , with thousands or even millions of active systems , sound just like the massive multiplayer online role-playing games or MMORPGs they have been accustomed to since the 1990s . But the key difference lies in the business model : An MMORPG is run in the cloud , and gamers typically pay monthly subscription fees . For licensing purposes , the developer only needs to know that the gamers are who they say they are – the archetypal use case for a USB dongle like the CmStick .
With cluster simulations , as are common in the automotive industry and elsewhere , the business model is quite different . The developer would sell the simulation software to a car maker , who then runs it in their own cloud , e . g . AWS or Microsoft Azure . Now the developer wants to know that the software is not shared , by accident or by ill intent , with others and that the client only uses as many copies of the software as they have paid for .
One condition that often applies is that the cloud software must be identical with the on-premises software . Any compromise on the protections in the cloud would therefore mean weaker protection for the on-premises version , and vice versa . Another crucial condition to consider is that the cloud software would usually be running in numbers that are greater by an order of magnitude compared to the number of on-premises versions active at any given time . It is not unrealistic for the use case to demand 30,000 copies to be up and running within three minutes .
CodeMeter can accommodate all these conditions . The usual best practice would be to maintain a separate Docker container for the CodeMeter License Server , but this becomes unfeasible with the tough performance demands created by massive installations of the scale at stake here . The solution is to place the essential pieces of CodeMeter Runtime in the application ’ s Docker container and then choose one of two options : For the first option , a CodeMeter Cloud Credential file would be included in each container . The software would then get its license checked by connecting with those credentials to the CodeMeter Cloud Server hosted by Wibu-Systems , which can scale up easily to manage millions of queries in such a scenario .
The alternative would be a custom binding to the environment of the client , e . g . the carmaker : The Wibu-Systems Professional Services team would work with the software developer to produce a special extension for CodeMeter Runtime that binds to a chosen combination of properties of the cloud , such as subscriber or client IDs . Bound to the cloud , the license could only be used in the specific carmaker ’ s Azure cloud and nowhere else . This option is a perfect fit for enterprise-level contracts that depend on copy protection for the software , but do not need a usage counter .
Whichever option is chosen , the software developer will benefit from the full power of CodeMeter in protecting against piracy and license fraud . The simulation software would be the same , whether it is running as a cloud or an on-premises version , as only the Code- Meter license would need to be customized to the specific use case .