Volume and Downloadable Licenses

When setting-up your SOLO Server product configuration, you can specify the product option type as a Volume License or a Downloadable License with Trigger Code Validation. Your application can distinguish these types of licenses from others by examining the product option type stored in the license file.

Volume Licenses

Volume licenses are comprised of a read-only license file, which contains data necessary to uniquely identify a license. However, these licenses do not contain any data that uniquely identifies a licensed system. The benefit is that your customers can freely copy and use the volume license file to use your application without the need to activate, as shown in the illustration below.

Since the volume license is completely trusted by your application, it carries the risk that the volume license file could fall victim to unauthorized file sharing over the Internet. If that happens, you would have enough information to identify which license was shared, and you may address this concern through periodic background checking; however, background checking may be impractical to achieve in environments where Internet connectivity is very limited or completely unavailable.

When are Volume Licenses appropriate?

Sometimes, your customers might request a site-wide or enterprise-wide license to install and use your application freely for hundreds or possibly thousands of users, and you and/or your customer have concluded that typical software activation is not an option. This conclusion may be reached when many or most of these users lack a reliable Internet connection, when the corporate IT policy restricts Internet access for many or most users, or any other scenario where requiring activation can pose a serious challenge to deploying and using your application.

In many cases, network floating licensing is best suited for licensing a site or enterprise, as it only verifies the application is running on the appropriate network, and only allows a limited number of users to run the application concurrently. However, network floating licensing requires network connectivity, which may also pose deployment challenges when licensing disconnected systems, and/or systems that are spread across many different physical locations. If you have or expect customers which need to be able to easily access your application without activation, then volume licensing may be the solution.

Downloadable Licenses with Trigger Code Validation

Downloadable licenses are very similar to volume licenses, in that they are read-only license files that only contain data capable of uniquely identifying the license. The difference, however, is that these licenses require trigger code validation to activate a separate, writable license file on each system on which the application is run, as shown in the illustration below.

What is Trigger Code Validation?

Trigger code validation is a means of achieving software activation through the manual exchange of numeric values (in other words, it is a challenge-response mechanism). Allowing activation through manually exchanged numeric codes is convenient when you need to be able to activate remote systems which lack Internet connectivity, as it is easy to exchange these codes via a telephone call, text messages, etc... Trigger Codes are only capable of carrying a very limited, numeric payload, but this limitation is easily overcome by coupling trigger code validation with the downloadable license file (which can contain any and all license data). Keep in mind that any challenge-response mechanisms such as trigger code validation can be reverse engineered (similar to how "key generators" are available on the Internet for many popular software applications).

When are Downloadable Licenses appropriate?

Downloadable licenses are designed to give you all of the benefits of the rich, extensible Protection PLUS 5 SDK license file format, while giving you the ability to easily activate customers who need to use your application in locations that completely lack Internet connectivity. This gives your customers the flexibility of running your applications anywhere, while giving you the peace of mind that unauthorized copies cannot simply be shared through unauthorized file sharing.

Distribution

Volume and downloadable licenses are typically distributed by license files downloaded through SOLO Server's customer license portal. Using your SOLO Server account, you can download volume and downloadable license files through this interface, which can be convenient when shipping the licensed software with physical media and/or related devices or appliances. Alternatively, you may instruct your customers to sign-in to SOLO Server's customer license portal to download the volume license file. Another option is to allow your customers to receive a volume license file by activating over the Internet, though this option may not be feasible in environments with limited or no Internet connectivity.