The Altium Vault is provided by Altium as a single design solution - a solution that offers far more than simply a vault. Its installation provides a service (the Vault itself), whilst also facilitating a platform through which other services and technologies are provided. Think of it as a vault-centric ensemble of features and services.
The actual feature set available to you - at the organization level, as well as the user level - is determined and controlled through licensing that is specifically purchased for the Altium Vault product.
Specific Vault Licensing
Licensing for the Altium Vault essentially 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 Altium Vault installation available to the organization.
Client Access License - this license enables users within an organization to access, and sign-in to the organization's Altium Vault.
Licensing for the Altium Vault 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 Altium Vault, it is often referred to as a Connector License.
Both Server and Client Access Licenses are timed licenses, lasting 12 months. Subscription must be renewed on an annual basis in order to provide continued access to the Altium Vault for the users in an organization, as well as to access new features and functionality developed by Altium as part of the Altium Vault. If this annual 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 Vault - giving an organization, and its users, access to all installed vault technologies. The following list summarizes the key features and services included:
Backup & Restore
Integrated Version Control (SVN)
Design Document Management
Team Configuration Management
Team Configuration Center (TC2)
Network Installation Service
Markup System (Document Commenting)
Note that while a Client Access License allows a user to connect to the Altium Vault and use its features and services, certain features or services will only be available to administrative users of the Altium Vault.
The Altium Vault's functionality becomes available when the vault has been licensed by the addition of a suitable Altium Vault License. In summary, the Altium Vault 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 vault's self-licensing facility. Sign out then back in to the vault to enable its newly licensed features.
Connecting to the PLS service in another Altium Vault (such as a central license server) that offers acquired Altium Vault 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 vault's self-licensing facility, and effectively 'acquires' vault licenses that you already have locally. Sign out then back in to the vault to enable its newly licensed features.
Placing license files (*.alf) in the root directory of the Altium Vault installation (normally \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium Vault), which is the method used for previous versions of the Altium Vault. The vault 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 Altium Vault 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.
The Altium Vault 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 Altium Vault, you will be guided through the licensing process by a sequence of hint instructions.
Begin the licensing process for a newly installed Altium Vault by logging in to its web interface from the PC that's hosting the vault. 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 Altium Vault 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 vault. To connect, use the vault's internal address (http://localhost:9780, using the default port number) or its network address (http://<computername>:9780 - where <computername> is the vault 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. In Windows 10, see Settings » System » About.
When subsequently licensed, the vault can be reached from all computers on the network using the <computername> address.
Sign in to your Altium Vault through its browser-based interface.
When signed in, the vault's web interface will provide an alert indicating that the vault is unlicensed. Select the Add License link to proceed to the Licenses page. Once there, 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 Altium Vault will prompt that licensing is required. Choose whether to add licensing from the cloud, or from existing alf licensing files available locally.
Altium Account credentials are required to connect to the web-based Altium Licensing portal when using the From Cloud option. Note that these credentials allow the License Server to communicate directly with your Altium Live account for the initial acquisition of your company licenses, so the host machine - on which the Altium Vault is installed and running - needs access to the internet at this time.
As the vault is not yet configured to connect to an account, an AltiumLive Sign in dialog 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 vault's configuration (see ADMIN » SETTINGS - General).
When using cloud-based licensing, you will need to supply your AltiumLive login credentials.
The Add Licenses dialog will appear, listing all Altium licenses available to your company, including those for Altium Designer and other Altium software. To activate the vault features, choose a valid Altium Vault server license. To enable users to sign in to the vault from Altium Designer, also select a valid Altium Vault CAL license (Client Access License).
If you are installing an Altium Vault which will use an Oracle database as its back end, rather than the default Firebird database, the licenses you will use are Altium Vault Oracle (server license) and Altium Vault Oracle CAL (Client Access License).
Select the required Altium Vault 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).
Instigate the process of acquiring (or 'retrieving') those licenses from the remote Altium License Server to the local Altium Vault 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 vault features. One seat of the vault server license will be used, as indicated by the User Count field associated with that license.
Acquired vault licensing - the fastest, and most streamlined method, by which to get your Altium Vault licensed.
Once you have signed out and back in to your Altium Vault, its enabled commands will become fully available on the Main (top) and administrator (ADMIN) menus.
Once fully licensed, the full set of features become available on the menus of the vault's browser-based interface.
If not requested when acquiring the vault license, your AltiumLive Account credentials can be entered on the General settings page - select ADMIN » SETTINGS and navigate to the General page.
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 - select ADMIN » SETTINGS and navigate to the License manager page. The entry should be: http://portal2.altium.com/?cls=soap.
Obtaining License Files
Acquiring licenses for your Altium Vault - through the cloud-based Altium License service - is the quickest, and most streamlined approach. But, should you wish, vault 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 Dashboard control at the top of the Altium website). From the Licenses page, locate the applicable license (in the Server Applications grouping of licenses) then click through to the detailed license management page. Once there, click the Activate link to generate and download the associated license file.
Activate the applicable licenses to acquire the license files needed. In the image above, two licenses are being activated - the Server License (Altium Vault) and Client Access
License (Altium Vault CAL) for a standard intsallation of the Altium Vault, with a Firebird database back end.
The number of license files will depend on the needs of the organization, but a minimum of two files are required:
Altium Vault Server License - this license makes the features and services of the Altium Vault installation available to the organization. The license obtained will depend on the type of back end database used for the vault data, and can be one of the following:
Altium Vault License <LicenseActivationCode>.alf - when using a Firebird database.
Altium Vault Oracle License <LicenseActivationCode>.alf - when using an Oracle database.
Altium Vault Client Access License (CAL) - this license enables users within an organization to access, and sign-in to the organization's Altium Vault, and also determines how many users can simultaneously be connected to the vault. Although any number of users may be registered to access and use the vault, 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 will depend on the type of back end database used for the vault data, and can be one of the following:
Altium Vault CAL License <LicenseActivationCode>.alf - when using a Firebird database.
Altium Vault Oracle CAL License <LicenseActivationCode>.alf- when using an Oracle database.
Once the license files are downloaded, they can be used in the following ways:
Import them, one at a time, through the vault's self-service licensing. From the Libraries page of the vault's browser-based 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.
Import your license files through the vault's self-serve licensing interface.
Drop them into the root installation folder for the Altium Vault (the default for which is \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium Vault). The vault 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 Altium Vault. Simply purchase the relevant Client Access License with the number of additional seats required.
Exceeding the Licensing Limit for an Altium Vault
By default, the seats of all Client Access Licenses are gathered into a floating license pool. In other words, one big bucket of potential vault connections. When a user within an organization attempts to connect to the Altium Vault, they will automatically be served a seat from this pool. This assignment continues for subsequent user access.
The same user can be accessing the Altium Vault concurrently in different ways (e.g. connected through Altium Designer AND signed-in through an external Web 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 vault from different PCs, each different PC access will require a separate connection (so extra seat of a Connector Access License).
If you try to connect to/access an Altium Vault from within Altium Designer, or an external Web Browser, and the limit on the number of simultaneous connections - determined by the licensing - has already been reached, sign-in will fail. In this case, you will be presented with a dialog alerting you to this fact, stating how many users are currently (and concurrently) logged in, and listing those users by Username.
Example of a user trying to access the vault, but being denied. In this case, the license in
use for the Altium Vault has a limit of 5 simultaneous connections, and all those connections
are currently being used by other users.
Through the vault'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 Sessions page, within the Users area of the interface.