Thursday, 7 March 2013

Infra. Design Suite Unable to find Licence

I had a tricky tech support issue recently which involved network licences of Infrastructure Design Suite (IDS). The licence file being used contained 2 seats of IDS and a number of Map 3D 2011's.

The two IDS users would rarely get a licence even though the software was only installed on their two PC's and nowhere else. When looking at the status report from the licence server it would report that two of the Map 2011 users had taken an IDS licence leaving 2 Map licences untouched. None of this seemed to make sense. These two users had also borrowed licences which meant the IDS licences were not returned at the end of each session.

According to the Autodesk knowledgbase the Map 3D should look to take a Map 3D licence first and if none are available then look to take the IDS licence but this is not what was happening:

After a lot of back and forth with the customer and Autodesk (thanks to Inchul Lee at Autodesk tech support for his help) we found the source of the problem.

The IDS licences are on subscription which means that the customer is entitled to run the current version and up to 3 versions back. This means that the customer could run 2011 versions of the IDS software if they wanted. IDS was not available when the 2011 versions came out so to accommodate this in the licence file Autodesk have included single licence codes for the 2010 & 2011 products. See below from the licence file:
This is fine except that the single licence code added to the IDS licences for 2010 and 2011 versions are the same as the single licence codes if they were not part of the suite. This meant that when the users who had Map 3D 2011 only installed started the software on their PC it sent a request to the server for a licence with code 85557MAP_2011_OF.
The way the licence file in the image above is constructed the first two instances of this code it finds are contained in the IDS licence. There was no warning or message on the user end, they just got what they assumed was a Map 3D 2011 licence and off they went. Then when the IDS users went to start their software they would get a message stating that a valid licence could not be found.

The solution to the problem was to open up the licence file in Notepad and rearrange the licences so that the IDS ones were at the bottom and hence the last ones that were searched.
This meant that one of the 8 available Map 3D licences would be pulled down first by the Map 2011 users.  A problem could still arise if 10 users tried to run Map 3D 2011 as it would use the 2 IDS licences as the two extra Map licences required, still with no warning.

I can see why Autodesk have added in the 2010 and 2011 products to the IDS but surely there was a way to flag users who mistakenly took an IDS licence - or use a different licence code.

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