Subscription License FAQ
In this article we answer some common questions about the new Windward subscription licensing model. There are two subscription licensing models: PRO and FLEX. The PRO licensing model is a "per server/instance" model and communicates less frequently with the license server. The FLEX licensing model must communicate with the license server for every template that is processed.
What should I consider when choosing between PRO and FLEX licenses?
- if your environment does not allow communication to the internet your only option is a PRO license. The PRO licenses can be configured as an "offline" license in these scenarios, but the license must be manually updated before the end of every billing cycle in order for the license to continue to work.
- If your environment needs involve automated scaling of compute resources you should consider the FLEX license. Many cloud providers PaaS offerings such as Azure AppServices automatically move your software to different "machines" causing a different machine identifier to be communicated to the license server. A FLEX license can be run on an unlimited number of machines since they are licensed Per Page being processed.
Which Licensing model would Windward recommend for development and testing phases?
The overall recommendation is for each environment to be "as similar as possible" to the Production environment. In some situations the risk of environment difference is outweighed by the cost.
Windward recommends that you take a look at all of your needs throughout the entire Software Development Lifecycle and use the license that makes the most sense in each stage and environment. Every situation is different but in the majority of cases a FLEX license makes the most sense during development and manual QA testing.
Automated testing, especially when load/stress testing is part of the process, may need a PRO license (unlimited pages with no output limitations).
When does Windward Designer contact the License Server?
When it starts, each time it processes a template, and when it exits.
What is meant by the Windward Designer starting/exiting?
When you start or exit Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Even if you never use the Designer in Office, running Office is running the Designer.
When does a Processing Engine contact the License Server?
At the start of processing a template to verify that your license is active. And at the end of processing a template to update the License Server with the number of pages generated.
Can the License Server be unavailable?
The License Server is globally redundant running on Azure data-centers in the U.S., Europe and Australia. It is highly unlikely that all three regions would go down at the same time.
What if my connection to the Internet is down?
Then you cannot process templates. If the Designer has already started you can continue to design templates, but you cannot generate test output.
The PRO subscription (not scale out) can run for awhile without a connection to the license server.
How can I test my connection to the License Server?
Go to https://license.windwardscout.net/about and you will see a status message from the License Server if everything is OK. This does not test your license key, just that your computer can communicate with the License Server and the License Server is running properly.
What else may be wrong if my Windward Designer or Engine cannot communicate with the License Server?
Make sure there are no firewall settings blocking communication over TLS either to or from the license server.
With multiple servers (and databases), and multiple requests to process templates, can the data Windward has be out of date?
Yes, but to the advantage of our customers. If you process a template that hits or exceeds your scale out or overages limit, but that information is not yet written to the database, then you can process an additional template. When the additional numbers are written to the database, you are now over the maximum charge you set. In this case your bill will be the maximum and Windward throws away the additional charges.
What data do the Designer and Processing Engine pass to the License Server?
It passes your license key, the username the program is running under, the version of the program, MAC addresses for network interfaces on your machine, and the local IP address of the computer. On completion of processing a template it passes the number of pages generated. For a scale-out server it may pass the datetime of previous template processed.
Does the License Server see my template and/or data?
How long is the License Server down when you do an upgrade?
We have a staging environment setup that we first deploy to. It is then swapped into production. Microsoft implements this swap into production with a "Virtual IP Swap." In effect, there will be no outages when we update the License Server. Even with no outage, we will notify customers before any update.
How long does it take for a license to be released, so I can give it to another user, or move it to another server?
For the Processing Engines, a subscription is released no more than 24 hours after it last contacted the License Server (see above).
How does fail-over work with Windward Pro licenses?
Windward has a lenient policy for users to fail-over Engines. Read more here.