PmNetKey licence server

PmNetKey licence server allows to provide the licences to PROMOTIC applications via networks. This way, it is not needed to have HW licence keys for each individual running application. This licencing procedure can also solve problems of PROMOTIC applications running in virtualized environment, where the PROMOTIC application cannot access the physical HW key connected to USB port. PmNetKey licence server is protected by its own HW key. PmNetKey licence server is typicaly automaticaly launched on computer boot as a service of the OS Windows.
In order to assure correct functionality it is necessary, that the computers with PROMOTIC applications (licence clients) have network connectivity via the HTTP or HTTPS protocol to the computer with the PmNetKey licence server program. The communication between PROMOTIC application and the licence server happens not only when the application is launching, but also after that, periodically (the period is around 1 minute or or slightly longer). The network connection with the licence server must be functional during the whole time the PROMOTIC application is running.
The licence(s) on the licence server are "floating": The PROMOTIC applications can be launched on any PC (connected to the network) but the number of simultaneously running applications can not exceed the number of runtime licences present on the licence server. E.g. if there are 2 runtime licences present on the licence server then it is possible to run 2 applications simultaneously. Additional application (third) can not be launched. If one of the running applications is stopped and thus does not communicate with the licence server for 10 minutes then its licence is released on the licence server and available to be used by another application. Now it is possible to run the other application - it will use this released licence.
The PROMOTIC application network licences for PmNetKey licence server are provided in the form of a licence file (see SWK license file bound to PmNetKey licence server). The licence file is functional only with the corresponding licence server, it was generated for. It will not function with another licence server.

Installation, uninstallation of the licence server and service configuration

The program has its own installation file, because it is often installed on a computer, where the PROMOTIC system is not present. The installation program can be downloaded from (e.g. PmNetKey XXYYZZ.msi). The program is to be installed on the computer that is going to act as a licence server. While being installed, the program is configured as a OS Windows service with automatic launch on system boot. The PmNetKey licence server service can be configured, stopped and launched by using the standard OS Windows resources (services.msc service manager).

PmNetKey licence server is protected by its own HW key. The program is not functional without the hardware key. The HW key must be generated especially for this purpose, normal PROMOTIC application HW key cannot be used in such case. The HW key must be permanently present in the USB port of the computer that is running the PmNetKey licence server.

The program (service) can also be controlled from the command line by entering parameters. The command line window must be launched with the Administrator rights. The commands are relevant in some special cases for example in OS Windows *.bat files. Usually it is not necessary to use such commands, because the OS Windows service is configured during the program installation process and it is removed when the program is uninstalled. The configuration, stopping and launching is provided by using the standard OS Windows resources. Jednotlivé příkazy:
PmNetKey -i - Adds the OS Windows service for the PmNetKey licence server program. The service will be configured in order to launch automatically on system boot. It is done automatically during the program installation.
PmNetKey -u - Removes the OS Windows service of the PmNetKey licence server program. It is done automatically during the program uninstallation.
PmNetKey -s - Launches the OS Windows service of the PmNetKey licence server program.
PmNetKey -k - Stopps the OS Windows service of the PmNetKey licence server program.
PmNetKey - Launches the PmNetKey licence server program as a normal application, not as a service. Application icon appears in the OS Windows Sys Tray among icons on the right. This can be handy for testing purposes.

Licence server configuration

The program is configured via the PmNetKey.ini configuration file. This file is created automatically during the installation and is located in the same folder as PmNetKey.exe (the typical location is: C:\Program Files\Promotic or C:\Program Files (x86)\Promotic).

Description of the keys in the [Config] section:

WebServer - The key allows to modify the port and protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) that will be used for listening by the internal web server of the PmNetKey licence server program. If not defined, then the default value http://+:81/ is used. That means that the HTTP protocol and port 81 are used. The ";" character at the beginning of the line changes it to a comment. Such line is not taken into account.
Example of the PmNetKey.ini configuration file for the HTTP protocol and port 83
Example of the PmNetKey.ini configuration file for the HTTPS protocol and default port 443
Commissioning the HTTPS protocol of the licence server:
The omplementation of the licence server (web server) is provided by the OS Windows HTTP service. The configuration of HTTPS protocol is done axactly the same way, as for the HTTPS protocol of the PmWeb object, i.e. by using our own HTTP service configuration utility PmHttpConfig.exe, for description see PmHttpConfig.exe - configuration of HTTP service for PROMOTIC WEB servers (HTTP or HTTPS) (it is necessary to set the rights, import the certificate of the server and connect it with the corresponding web server).

Monitoring the licence server functionality

The program allows to monitor the current status of provided network licences and also the history of network licence clients logins and logouts. The monitoring is provided via the WEB interface. PmNetKey licence server contains an internal WEB server, that offers the info.html and log.html pages on it s IP address, protocol and port. For example http://localhost:81/info.html and http://localhost:81/log.html.

Behavior of the PROMOTIC application when the connection with the licence server is lost

If the periodic communication with the licence server is permanently failing, then the running PROMOTIC application goes through the following states:
1) information - first, the error message about the failed communication with the licence server is displayed in global errors. Dhis state is reached after the first failure of the periodical communication. This state lasts around 10 minutes.
2) warning - after that, the warning window is displayed (repeatedly if the operator closes it) and in the global errors the communication failure message is displayed. This state lasts around 12 housr.
3) error - finally, the situation is evaluated as fatal error, the application is stopped and licence error message is displayed in the global errors.
The states 1) and 2) are immediately exited with firs successfull periodical communication with the licence server. That means, that if the communication with the licence server fails permanently, the application is stopped after around 12 hours.
If the connection to the licence server is not functional, the PROMOTIC application cannot be launched. The time interval protection of the application before it is stopped, because of the licence server communication failure is applied only for application that are allready running.

Commissioning the SWK licence files on the licence server and the licence client

a) Licence server - The licence file must be copied into the same folder where the PmNetKey.exe file is located.
b) Licence client - In the application INI file (for runtime - PmRt), or in PROMOTIC program INI file (for development environment - PmDev and PmDevSchool - since version 8.3. it is necessary to create the section [Licence] and in this section to create the key Medium as described below (reference to a PmNetKey licence server and to a specific SWK license file bound to PmNetKey licence server):
, where the netkey indicates the network licence, http or https indicates the protocol, followed by the IP address or computer name, internal web server port and the licence SWK file name.
Logged-in Windows user must have the permissons for writing into following files:
- PmNetKeyA.log file of the Licence server PmNetKey
- app.ini files of PROMOTIC application bound to PmNetKey licence server
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