Licensing Altium On-Prem Enterprise Server

Created: August 10, 2022 | Updated: August 30, 2022
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Parent page: Installation, Licensing & Management

Licensing for the Enterprise Server consists of the following two components, that together comprise a two-tiered licensing system:

  • Server License – this license makes the features and services of the Enterprise Server installation available to the organization.
  • Client Access License – this license enables users within an organization to access that organization's Enterprise Server.

Licensing for the Enterprise Server can be handled through the cloud, or locally through license files (*.alf).

Since the Client Access License controls the ability for individual users to connect to the Enterprise Server, it is often referred to as a Connector License.
Both Server and Client Access Licenses are timed licenses. Subscription must be renewed in order to provide continued access to the Enterprise Server for the users in an organization, as well as to access new features and functionality developed by Altium as part of the Enterprise Server. If this subscription renewal lapses, a single Server and CAL license will be provided to access your data for backup and configuration purposes.

Both Server and Client Access license types are available in a single distinct license package – Altium Enterprise Server – giving an organization, and its users, access to installed server technologies supported by that licensing.

Note that while a Client Access License allows a user to connect to the Enterprise Server and use its features and services, certain features or services will only be available to administrative users of the Enterprise Server.

Getting Licensed

The Enterprise Server's functionality becomes available when the Enterprise Server has been licensed by the addition of a suitable Enterprise Server License. In summary, the Enterprise Server and its client connections can be licensed in one of the following ways:

  • Acquiring Server and Client Access (CAL) licenses from the Altium License service portal. This uses the From cloud option of the Enterprise Server's self-licensing facility. Sign out then back in to the Enterprise Server to enable its newly licensed features.
  • Connecting to the PLS service in another Enterprise Server, or Altium Infrastructure Server (such as a central license server) that offers acquired Enterprise Server licenses with available seats. See the External PLS mode for details on this licensing option.
  • Importing existing license files (*.alf) from disk. This uses the From file option of the Enterprise Server's self-licensing facility, and effectively 'acquires' Enterprise Server licenses that you already have locally. Sign out then back in to the Enterprise Server to enable its newly licensed features.
  • Placing license files (*.alf) in the root directory of the Enterprise Server installation (normally \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium365). The Enterprise Server will automatically import the license files when it restarts - a reboot may be required.
For more information on acquiring the license files needed for the last two methods listed above, see Obtaining License Files.
The software checks every hour for the presence of valid license files. Without a valid Server License, access to the Enterprise Server will not be possible. If there is a valid Server License, but no valid Client Access Licenses (no available connections), a single administrative connection is permitted for backup and configuration purposes.

Self-Licensing

The Enterprise Server provides a flexible 'self licensing' method for adding or acquiring Altium licenses, available though its Licenses page (Admin - Licenses). With a fresh installation of the Enterprise Server, you will be guided through the licensing process by a sequence of hint instructions.

  1. Begin the licensing process for a newly installed Enterprise Server by logging in to its browser interface from the PC that's hosting the Enterprise Server. You must be signed in as an administrator, using the default name/password (admin/admin) credentials, or those of a configured admin account.

Note that a newly installed Enterprise Server is unlicensed and not accessible from the network, so the initial browser connection must be made using the local machine – the PC that hosts the Enterprise Server. To connect, use the Enterprise Server's internal address (http://localhost:9780, using the default port number) or its network address (http://<computername>:9780 – where <computername> is the Enterprise Server host PC's network name, and using the default port number). To confirm a PC's network name, go to Control Panel\System and Security\System and note the 'Computer Name' entry.

When subsequently licensed, the Enterprise Server can be reached from all computers on the network using the <computername> address.

Sign in to your Enterprise Server through its browser-based interface.
Sign in to your Enterprise Server through its browser-based interface.

  1. When signed in, you will be taken to the Licenses page of the interface and an alert banner at the top of the interface indicates that the Enterprise Server is unlicensed. To add a license click the button, and select from the cloud or file options. The From cloud option will load a list of licenses available to your company from the Altium portal, whereas the From file option will open a file browser for selecting and importing existing alf license files from disk.

The Enterprise Server will prompt that licensing is required. Choose whether to add licensing from the cloud, or from existing alf licensing files available locally.
The Enterprise Server will prompt that licensing is required. Choose whether to add licensing from the cloud, or from existing alf licensing files available locally.

  1. Altium Account credentials are required to connect to the Altium Licensing portal when using the From Cloud option. Note that these credentials allow the License Server to communicate directly with your AltiumLive account for the initial acquisition of your company licenses, so the host machine – on which the Enterprise Server is installed and running – needs access to the internet at this time.

As the Enterprise Server is not yet configured to connect to an account, an AltiumLive Sign in window will automatically open to request your account credentials. Note that this is a one-off process – once the account credentials have been validated, they will be saved as part of the Enterprise Server's configuration (see Admin - Settings - General - AltiumLive Credentials).

When using cloud-based licensing you will need to supply your AltiumLive login credentials.
When using cloud-based licensing you will need to supply your AltiumLive login credentials.

To check that the Cloud license service portal URL is correctly configured, so that the available licenses can be acquired from the Altium License service, see the Cloud license service url setting on the License manager settings page – (see Admin - Settings - License manager). The entry should be: http://portal2.altium.com/?cls=soap.
  1. The Add Licenses window will appear, listing all Altium licenses available to your company, including those for Enterprise Server and other Altium software. To activate the Enterprise Server features choose a valid Altium Enterprise Server server license. To enable users to sign in to the Enterprise Server from Altium Designer, also select a valid Altium Enterprise Server CAL license (Client Access License).
These same licenses are used, regardless of the backend database (Firebird or Oracle).

Select the required Enterprise Server licensing – consisting of a Server Licence and at least one Client Access License (CAL).
Select the required Enterprise Server licensing – consisting of a Server Licence and at least one Client Access License (CAL).

When a large number of licenses are listed in the Altium account (the From Cloud option), use the filter options (Product Name field and Show Valid only checkboxes) to locate and select the required type of license(s).
  1. Instigate the process of acquiring (or 'retrieving') those licenses from the remote Altium License Server to the local Enterprise Server by clicking the button. When the process is complete, the Licenses page will show the acquired licenses, along with an instruction to sign in/out to activate the Enterprise Server features. One seat of the Altium Enterprise Server license will be used, as indicated by the User Count field associated with that license. This is by the internal 'System' user.

Acquired Enterprise Server licensing – the fastest, and most streamlined method, by which to get your Enterprise Server licensed.
Acquired Enterprise Server licensing – the fastest, and most streamlined method, by which to get your Enterprise Server licensed.

  1. Once you have signed out and back in to your Enterprise Server, its enabled features will become fully available on the main navigation tree on the left.

Once fully licensed, the full set of features become available on the navigation tree of the Enterprise Server's browser interface.
Once fully licensed, the full set of features become available on the navigation tree of the Enterprise Server's browser interface.

Obtaining License Files

Acquiring licenses for your Enterprise Server – through the cloud-based Altium License service – is the quickest, and most streamlined approach. But, should you wish, Enterprise Server licensing can also be handled locally through license files (*.alf). Manual acquisition of the required license files is performed through the Altium Dashboard (accessed using the Company Dashboard entry from the AltiumLive account menu, at the top-right of the Altium site). From the Licenses page locate the applicable license, then click through to the detailed license management page. Once there, click the Activate link to generate and download the associated license file.

The number of license files will depend on the needs of the organization, but a minimum of two files are required:

  • Altium Enterprise Server License – this license makes the features and services of the Enterprise Server installation available to the organization. The license obtained is the same, irrespective of the type of back end database used for the Enterprise Server data: Altium Enterprise Server License <LicenseActivationCode> R10 Primary.alf.
  • Altium Enterprise Server Client Access License (CAL) – this license enables users within an organization to access and sign-in to the organization's Enterprise Server, and also determines how many users can simultaneously be connected to the Enterprise Server. Although any number of users may be registered to access and use the Enterprise Server, only that licensed number will be allowed to connect to it simultaneously. Each license provides a purchased number of seats, n, giving simultaneous connection to up to n different users. The license obtained is the same, irrespective of the type of back end database used for the Enterprise Server data: Altium Enterprise Server CAL License <LicenseActivationCode> R10 Primary.alf.

Once the license files are downloaded, they can be used in the following ways:

  • Import them, one at a time, through the Enterprise Server's self-service licensing. From the Libraries page of the Enterprise Server's browser interface click the button and select the From file option. A file browser dialog will open, from which to select and import the alf files (one at a time).
  • Drop them into the root installation folder for the Enterprise Server (the default for which is \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium365). The Enterprise Server will automatically import the license files when it restarts – a reboot may be required.
Additional licensing can also be purchased as needed, to allow a higher number of simultaneous connections to the Enterprise Server. Simply purchase the relevant Client Access License with the number of additional seats required.

Licensing Users

Connectivity access for Users (Team members within your organization) is controlled by the Client Access License (CAL) that is currently applied to the Enterprise Server. The license is added to the Enterprise Server as described above and configured by an Administrator through the server's Licenses page (Admin - Licenses).

A Client Access License provides Enterprise Server connectivity for a specified number of seats which act as a floating on-demand license pool. When a user signs in to the Enterprise Server, they are served a license connection seat from this pool if they are a member of the role the license has been assigned to. This applies to users signing in to the Enterprise Server from either a browser or Altium Designer – only one license seat is used if the user is signed in from both a browser and Altium Designer (on the same PC).

See Managing User Roles for information on working with user roles.

To control how a connection license (CAL) is made available to roles, and therefore users, edit its license assignment configuration to include specific roles, seat allocations and connectivity options. Access a license's current assignments by clicking its edit entry () on the Licenses page.

CAL Licenses can be applied, and seat-restricted, for individual groups of users. When combined with Project Sharing this tightly controls user access.
CAL Licenses can be applied, and seat-restricted, for individual groups of users. When combined with Project Sharing this tightly controls user access.

Licenses are assigned to all server users by default unless the Automatically create assignment for All Users group option is unchecked on the License manager page (Admin - Settings - License manager).

Edit the connection license assignment () to define the role that has access to the license (Assign to role) and consequently which users can connect, and how many of the license's seats are available to that role (Seats count or All available seats). Note that the other settings such as Automatic leasing and Allow Roaming apply when other license types are served by the Private License Service.

Control who has access to the Enterprise Server from a browser or Altium Designer by assigning a specific number of license seats to a specific role.
Control who has access to the Enterprise Server from a browser or Altium Designer by assigning a specific number of license seats to a specific role.

Further assignments can be added () to the Client Access License to distribute its available seats to user roles as needed.

Multiple license assignments can be associated with a connection license (CAL) to distribute or restrict the seats that enable user sign in.
Multiple license assignments can be associated with a connection license (CAL) to distribute or restrict the seats that enable user sign in.

License Usage

The Enterprise Server provides a number of ways to view and assess the use of licenses. In the case of CAL connection licenses, to see who is (or has) signed in to the Enterprise Server, expand the connection license entry on the Licenses tab of the Licences page.

This user list includes the duration of license usage and when it commenced, and also allows you to terminate a user's connection session (Kill Session). Further information is available under the Roles tab, which shows the license seat availability and current usage for each server role.

Increasingly comprehensive license usage data is available under the Licenses, Roles and Reports tabs on the Licenses page.Increasingly comprehensive license usage data is available under the Licenses, Roles and Reports tabs on the Licenses page.

For advanced assessment of license usage, open the Reports tab. This offers a highly-configurable reporting system, which provides table-based data that details both current and historical license usage. License Reports are particularly useful if the Private License Service (PLS) is being used to license other Altiium software on your local network.

See Generating Reports in the Altium Dashboard for detailed information on license activity Reports.

Exceeding the License Connections Limit

By default, the seats of all Client Access Licenses are gathered into a floating license pool. In other words, one big bucket of potential Enterprise Server connections. When a user (Team member) within an organization attempts to connect to the Enterprise Server they will automatically be served a seat from this pool, as outlined above. This assignment continues for subsequent user access.

The same user can be accessing the Enterprise Server concurrently in different ways (e.g. connected through Altium Designer AND signed-in through an external browser) and it only counts as a single connection from the licensing perspective, when access is made from the same PC. If the same user accesses the Enterprise Server from different PCs, each different PC access will require a separate connection (so extra seat of a Client Access License).

If you try to connect to/access an Enterprise Server from within Altium Designer or an external browser, and the limit on the number of simultaneous connections – determined by the licensing seat count and role assignments – has already been reached, sign-in will fail. In this case, you will be presented with a dialog alerting you to this fact.

Through the Enterprise Server's browser interface, an administrative user can kill the session for a user, to forcibly free up a connection. This can be performed from the Licenses page (see above) or the Sessions page (Admin - Sessions).
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