Some information about Embarcadero Licence Center

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Jul 142018
 

I switched “my” (meaning the license my employer bought for me) Delphi “Named User License” with subscription to a “Network Named User License” in April 2018. The rationale behind that was, that it happened far too often that I needed yet another Delphi installation to debug a problem. Most of the time that was on a Friday and since my activation limit had been reached years ago, I needed somebody at Embarcadero to bump it up again. Of course that never happens on a weekend, so after I complained about this for the thousandth time, somebody suggested I switch to a different license scheme: Welcome to “Network Named User” (NNU) and the “Embarcadero License Center” (ELC).

Since that topic has come up in a recent discussion in the Delphi Developers community on Google+, I thought I’ll blog about my experience so I can simply link to this blog post when I need to tell that story again.

So, what is it about?

  • A NNU license allows an unlimited number of Delphi installations and activations for a given “named user”. A “named user” is defined as a unique user name for Windows logon. It does not matter whether that’s a domain logon or local logon. So, if JoeUser has got a NNU license for Delphi 2007 (which is the first version that supportes NNUs) he can install it on his workstation, his laptop, a customer’s computer (for debugging something that simply cannot be debugged any other way) and multiple virtual machines. There are only two restrictions:
    1. The Windows logon name must be JoeUser.
    2. The computer/VM must have a network connection to the ELC server.
  • He can even actively use up to three different installations at the same time.
  • If an installation loses contact to the ELC server (e.g. you take your laptop with you on a trip) it will keep working for up to 30 days.
  • The administrator of the ELC can change the user name assigned to a NNU license, so if JoeUser leaves the company, his successor JaneUser can simply use that license to install Delphi on her own computers. The old installations (under the Windows user JoeUser) will become defunct.
  • As far as I know the ELC does not require a permanent internet connection (e.g. to phone home to Embarcadero). It only needs it once to activate the license (and for each new license).
  • The ELC server is a Java application which is available for Windows and Linux (and possibly other OSes, I don’t remember). It runs fine in a virtual machine (I use Ubuntu Server on a XenServer VM.)
  • With a bit of ssh magic, it’s possible to connect to the ELC via a ssh tunnel from offsite. (I would not trust the ELC to be directly accessible from the internet.)

As far as I was told, it’s possible to switch a Named User License to a Network Named User License any time provided you have got an active subscription. According to Embarcadero Germany it is easier to make that switch before extending a subscription.

Note that a few weeks after you switched, all the non NNU installations using the old license keys will stop working (Embarcadero will turn them off). You will have to activate them again with the NNU license.

So far it has worked great for me. I have installations on my Work PC, Work Laptop, Home Office PC (which both use the ssh tunneling magic), private Laptop (with my employer’s consent of course), various VMs and on the computers on many of the measurement vehicles my employer operates to conduct road condition surveys.

Getting the ELC to work was a bit of a pita, but I got great support from Embarcadero for that. In particular from Matthias Eißing who also has published a video on YouTube (in German) on that topic.

As a side note: NNU licenses are not the only kind of licenses that are available through ELC. There are also concurrent licenses which work in a different way and are more expensive. See the ELC documentation or contact Embarcadero on how they work.

Some bit of trivia: Does anybody remember AppWave? Apparently ELC is the only remaining part of AppWave that still exists. There are several references to AppWave in the ELC documentation and web sites it generates.