UNDERSTANDING SLASCONE

UNDERSTANDING SLASCONE

FUNDAMENTALS

SLASCONE is a modern licensing and analytics solution, born in the cloud era. Unlike legacy licensing solutions providing client libraries per platform and requiring the generation and activation of a new license key upon any license parameter change (e.g., expiration date, feature), SLASCONE’s approach is significantly simpler.

In a typical scenario, the software you want to license/protect is activated (calling the SLASCONE API) only once. After the initial activation, your software  periodically pulls/refreshes from SLASCONE the actual license parameters. Thus, the need to generate new license keys upon license parameter change becomes obsolete, resulting in a much more automated workflow for both vendors and licensees.

HEARTBEATS

MEANING

As a vendor you have to decide how often your software communicates with SLASCONE in order to pull/refresh the actual license parameters (heartbeat). Heartbeats constitute the fundament of SLASCONE.

Practically, heartbeats can be triggered in two ways:

  • Periodically: by implementing such a logic in your software.
    • The heartbeat period is a license parameter that can be set in SLASCONE.
  • Manually: by giving the end user of your software the option to trigger a heartbeat, which means to refresh the licensing data.

MINIMUM HEARTBEAT PERIOD

The heartbeat period depends on your business model. Regardless of the business model though, it is recommended to at least:

  1. trigger a heartbeat every time a new version/hotfix of your software is installed.
  2. give your end users the option to manually trigger a heartbeat.

This minimum recommendation suffices for many business scenarios. Nevertheless, there are scenarios in which you must/can trigger additional heartbeats.

FAILED HEARTBEATS

A heartbeat failure might be the result of a failed connection (e.g., no internet) or an actual license issue, such as an expiration. In such a case, freeride comes into play. Regardless of the failure reason, the freeride period allows the user to keep using the software and until it is finally locked. If a heartbeat succeeds during the freeride period, everything returns to its normal state.

Example: Let’s assume that you have set your license’s heartbeat period to 1 day, and the freeride period to 7 days. This means that the client is going to generate a heartbeat every 24 hours. If the heartbeat fails, the software works uninterruptedly for the following 7 days, during which a heartbeat has to succeed for the cycle to be reset.

OFFLINE SCENARIOS

Offline functionality is an issue for almost every software vendor, since it is very usual to have a small percentage of offline installations. Since SLASCONE is an online solution, it is obviously not suited for completely/permanently offline environments. Despite the fact that no or limited connectivity prevents you from getting the best out of SLASCONE, you can still use fulfil your basic licensing/protection requirements.

In most cases, a healthy compromise is to require a heartbeat (which means an online connection) during every software update. This does not only protect your software, but also ensures that you have the latest software version information for every installation.

EXAMPLES

Let’s us now explain how this translates in some typical business scenarios:

  • Perpetual: In such a case, SLASCONE is mainly used in order to activate the license and ensure that this license code cannot be used again. Additional periodical heartbeats would only serve if license parameters change very frequently (e.g., new feature).
  • Subscription: After the initial activation, a heartbeat must be triggered as soon as the license expires. For example in case of a yearly subscription, a heartbeat has to be triggered after 365 days. If the end user has renewed his subscription the heartbeat succeeds and the cycle is reset. If not, the heartbeat fails due to the expired license and the software is blocked.
  • Software Version binding: For scenarios in which the end user has licensed Release 12.0 but not 13.0 thus being allowed to use the software as long as he does not upgrade to Version 13.0. The minimum heartbeat recommendation is sufficient for this scenario, since during the installation/upgrade process a heartbeat is triggered. SLASCONE returns a not compliant software version and the software is blocked.

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