FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is SLASCONE?

SLASCONE is a software licensing management and analytics solution that gives vendors the flexibility to offer all kinds of business models such as subscriptions, pay per use, trials or lifetime licenses in real-time and with minimal engineering effort, while monitoring and analyzing the usage of their solutions with advanced analytical dashboards.

Who is SLASCONE for?

SLASCONE can be used by:

  • both established software vendors and challengers (startups).
  • IoT/device manufacturers whose devices run any kind of software/firmware.
Why should a Vendor use SLASCONE?

Most engineering departments do not have the time (or the expertise) to implement sophisticated licensing solutions. Therefore, in-house solutions tend to be inflexible, preventing product managers from introducing new or changing existing business models. SLASCONE gives product managers the necessary tools in order to find the most profitable business model, and lets engineers concentrate on your solution’s core functionality.

Product Owners are able to get real time insights about their product’s real usage, avoiding cumbersome user surveys, in order to take factual and in time product development decisions.

Costly and irritating on-site license audits become obsolete.

For what kind of applications is SLASCONE for?

SLASCONE offers both user and device licensing capabilities for B2B and B2C scenarios. Therefore, both client and server applications can be licensed, while for example controlling the number of devices on which the application can be installed.

  • Examples B2B Enterprise License (10 seats/users) for a developer tool. 10 employees register with their email address in order to use the product. Device limitations can (but do not have to) be defined. A user administrator can remove and re-assign seats to other users on his own.
  • Examples B2C User License for a language learning tool. The end-user receives a named license. The tool can be installed/activated on maximum 3 devices. The end-user can activate/deactivate licenses on his own.
Are there any benefits for the Licensee (end-user)?

Licensees (administrators) are able to assign or reassign licenses to named users or devices without having to contact the software vendor. Moreover, they can meter and control their license usage in order to prevent over- or under- usage.

How can I test the API?

Visit our API page for detailed instructions.

How secure is the API?

The API is HTTPS only, built using REST principles, following all state of the art best practices for API security.

How do I generate a unique device ID?

In order to adequately protect your system (i.e., make sure a license key is not used on multiple machines), your software has to generate unique device ID. This is usually a combination of:

  • MAC Address
  • Processor ID
  • Motherboard ID
  • Machine ID
  • Other custom ID

As a vendor you (not SLASCONE) have to decide what suits more to your application, in other words how restrictive you want to be. It should be noted though, that there is a trade-off between security and customer convenience. Increasing the number of identifiers (e.g., MAC + Processor ID), increases the probability of a new unique identifier upon hardware change.

 

DeviceId is an open souce C# library that facilitates building custom composite device identifiers using a quick-and-easy fluent interface.

Where is my data?

All data is geo-redundant secured in a European Microsoft Azure cloud data center.

What is the difference between license and device?

A license is the entity that maintains all the licensing parameters (features, limitations, expiration date). One device can control 1:n devices. Examples:

  • 1 license with 3 devices for development-testing-production environments.
  • 1 license with 100 devices, controlling 100 sensors in a sensor network.

Change management is the main advantage of having a license (master) controlling multiple devices. Upon a license-parameter change, only the master license has to be updated.

What is a Goodwill device?

SLASCONE allows you to control the number of devices (physical installations) allowed by a license. Let’s assume a video or music streaming service, whose vendor wants to avoid shared accounts. With SLASCONE the vendor can set the number of allowed devices to 3, preventing a 4th device from using the service.

In order to avoid a poor customer experience resulting from such a ‘hard-cut’, SLASCONE introduces ‘soft’ limits with Goodwill devices. In our example, the vendor can switch from 3 to 3 + 1 (Goodwill) devices. Goodwill devices constitute a ‘yellow zone’, in which the client is under-licensed but can still use the software. SLASCONE provides a quick overview/analysis of activated Goodwill devices, enabling vendors to react e.g., by issuing a warning after the activation of a Goodwill device or by emailing affected customers.

 

What is a heartbeat?

Heartbeat is the frequency with which the licensed product communicates with SLASCONE. After the initial product activation, heartbeats enable the collection of information for analytics (e.g., software version, operating systems) and the transmission of possibly updated licensing parameters to the client. Typical heartbeat examples:

  • Every x weeks or months
  • After every software update
  • Only once (during activation)
  • During every program start
What is the difference between a (normal) heartbeat and an analytical heartbeat?

Normal heartbeats are an essential part of SLASCONE functionality, since they make sure that licensing parameters (features, limitations, number of devices etc.) are being regularly kept up to date.

Analytical heartbeats is an optional feature, providing an elegant way to collect client data, that do not necessarily affect the licensing process. Analytical heartbeats can be used to collect any kind of data such as temperature, CPU Utilization, session metrics etc.

What is a Freeride?

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

What is upgrade compliance?

In a typical scenario, vendors use the expiration date to prevent a perpetual usage of the software. However there are cases in which the customer is allowed to perpetually use software Version X, but not Version X+1. In order to address such scenarios, SLASCONE licenses carry an optional maximum software release information, which indicates the latest purchased version. Once an installation is upgraded to a not purchased version, SLASCONE returns a corresponding warning/error.

What is a license template?

License templates accelerate license creation by initializing most (or all) license parameters. Templates are particularly useful when maintaining multiple product editions.

Templates differentiate between license parameters that can be set/changed during license creation or not, thus enabling parameter inheritance.

Only Global or Service Administrators are allowed to define/change license templates.

What is a customer type?

SLASCONE allows you the definition of customer types. A typical example would be:

  • Enterprise
  • Prospect
  • Internal/Test
  • Reseller

This classification is crucial for analytical purposes, since in most cases you would want to exclude internal/test licenses from your base data.

What happens in case of no connectivity (failed communication)?

Heartbeats control the communication frequency between client and SLASCONE. As a software vendor you have to decide what happens in case of failed communication with SLASCONE, in other words how restrictive you want to be. In most cases, there is a fixed freeride-period of some days/weeks, during which the client tries to communicate with SLASCONE. If despite the freeride-period no communication was feasible, then the product stops working (deactivation).

What application roles are available?

SLASCONE has 4  application roles:

  • Global Administrator: Access to everything.
  • Service Administrator: Access to everything, except User Administration.
  • License Creator: Can add/edit customers and licenses. Cannot change product definitions or product templates.
  • Viewer: Can view license and product analytics (dashboard).
How many products, license templates, customers and licenses can I manage in SLASCONE?

There are no such technical limitations, SLASCONE scales horizontally in volume and load.

What happens when license parameters change (e.g., new feature)?

One great benefit of SLASCONE is that after the initial license key distribution, you will never have to send new license codes again, eliminating whatever administrative burden on your and your customer’s side. License changes are managed centrally in SLASCONE and propagated to the customer’s installation.

How can I migrate from a custom/legacy licensing solution?

SLASCONE offers a variety of functions in order to make a migration from an existing system as less painful as possible. Let’s assume you are a software vendor with 1000 customers and licenses. Starting with your next product update (Version 7.0), licensing should run through SLASCONE.

Naturally, you cannot afford to manually enter your customer/license data to SLASCONE. In addition to that, you don’t want to send new license codes to your customers upgrading to Version 7.0. So what can you do?

  1. The SLASCONE API allows you to easily bulk import (and sync) customer and license data.
  2. When creating (or importing) a license, SLASCONE allows you to specify its legacy (old) key, thus creating a license mapping, e.g.,
    • SLASCONE key: 1c7bd779-bf7e-461d-8412-f2ba287d3bc6
    • Legacy key: 24204-43534-23453-57856
  3. When Version 7.0 runs for the first time:
    • if it is an upgrade from an earlier version, the product gets activated using the Legacy key
    • if it is a new installation, the product gets activated through the SLASCONE Key
  4. All subsequent calls are based on the SLASCONE key

In this way, SLASCONE facilitates a seamless migration.

How can I export/backup my data?

All data can be exported on an individual request as CSV export.

How is my data protected against unauthorized access?

Yes, all access to the SLASCONE services is done only through authenticated and authorized SSL encrypted connections.

What about availability?

Minimum 99.95% SLA, guaranteed by Microsoft Azure.

What is the pricing model for SLASCONE?

SLASCONE is a cloud-service priced as a monthly or annual subscription (5% discount for yearly advance payment). There are two price models from which to choose from.

  • Subscription-based: fixed monthly/annual price.
  • Shared-Revenue: percentage of the monthly license-revenue that you achieve with your product.

Switching models is allowed.

Which Web browsers are supported for the SLASCONE portal?

Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 11 and Edge are supported.

What do I need to register?

Just a valid E-Mail address. Follow this link in order to register to our Argus demo tenant.

Where is SLASCONE hosted?

SLASCONE is a cloud application running on Microsoft Azure.

Can I deploy/install SLASCONE in my own infrastructure?

While SLASCONE cannot be installed as a traditional on-premise application, you have the option to deploy it in your own Microsoft Azure subscription. This is a meaningful option if you already have Microsoft Azure resources/subscription.

What (analytical) data am I allowed/supposed to collect?

SLASCONE enables (but does not enforce) the collection of client installation data, such as software version, operating system or custom information. As a vendor it is your responsibility to decide and inform your customers about what data is being collected through SLASCONE.

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