Many people believe that InfoWorks ICM can only be configured to run as a Workgroup product if you authenticate by a Network Dongle or Floating Soft Licence. This is not the case; the choice of authentication (Local Dongle, Network Dongle, Fixed soft licence or Floating soft licence) has no impact, at all, on whether you choose to run ICM standalone or as part of a Workgroup.
The dongle or soft licence just determines whether the software can start up on the desktop and a whether a simulation can be run on the machine. The ICM Coordinator and ICM Agent Manager are used to configure how the software runs once it has started up (i.e. is it a stand-alone application, or is it running as part of a Workgroup of PCs all running ICM).
The choice of authentication method can be summarised as ‘fixed’ or ‘floating’.
- Fixed licences are either a hardware lock (local dongle) or a fixed software key. Fixed licences are tied to a specific PC, so restrict the end-user to running the software on just one nominated computer.
- Floating licences are either a hardware lock (network dongle) or a floating software key. Floating licences are not tied to any one PC, instead they are consumed ‘on demand’ when the end-user attempts to start up InfoWorks on his/her chosen PC. Floating licences are held at a central location (the licence server), and handed out to a machine when InfoWorks starts up on the device. They return to the central location when the software closes. The physical network link between the licence server and PC running InfoWorks must be maintained while the InfoWorks software is running.
The Network Dongle employed for InfoWorks ICM is different to the one that used to be supplied for InfoWorks CS. It’s a USB device supplied by a company called SafeNet and referred to as a “HASP HL Net” Dongle. It gives a lot more flexibility than the old type of device in terms of licence usage monitoring and it supports 64-bit applications. The operation and configuration of the Network Dongle is done via a web-browser rather than the UI of the installed licence server application.
The Floating Soft Licence Manager employed for InfoWorks ICM was introduced in 2014. The software based licence manager is written and produced by Innovyze. In its default configuration it works in very much the same way as a Network Dongle. However, it also offers the ability to ‘check- out’ a floating licence to a specific PC and then use that licence off-line for up to 14 days. Checked out licences are removed from the pool of floating licences while they are assigned to a specific PC. They can be checked back in again at any time within the 14 day period, or the check-out time can be extended to a maximum of 14 days in advance of the current date.
As noted at the beginning of this article, InfoWorks ICM can operate as a Workgroup product even if individual licences are controlled by local dongles or fixed soft keys.