Elipse Knowledgebase

Using a softkey with Elipse Software's products.

Softkeys are software protection mechanisms introduced with the new operating systems virtualizations technologies. They work as an alternative to the hardkeys, still the most common system in this case. With a softkey, Elipse products can be executed in remote environments such as cloud computing, since the license is validated via software and not via hardware, as is the case with a hardkey.
Differences between softkeys and hardkeys

There are two types of license control for Elipse applications: hardkeys and softkeys. Both are protection tools against illegal software usage.

A hardkey is a physical device connected to the computer's USB port; when running the software, it verifies the license programmed in this device. The hardkey's main advantage is portability, because the license is not bound to a single server; it means greater convenience for systems integrators and final customers who need to access the license as quickly and easily as possible. Additionally, the hardkey can be removed from the machine in case it presents any problem and then reinstalled in another computer.

The softkey, on the other hand, is a non-portable license. Its main difference to the hardkey is its license validation process (security mechanism), which occurs every 60 days and can happen automatically (via internet) or manually. Unlike the hardkey, the softkey is bound to the machine, and can't be transferred or removed after being installed.

Use a hardkey when:
  • Your license needs to be portable (development licenses);
  • The computer is in a physically secure place;
  • The license can't be bound to a single computer.
Use a softkey when:
  • The application is in a virtual environment;
  • The servers have no USB port;
  • The computer isn't in a physically secure place.

How the softkey works

Softkeys can be installed in one of the following ways:
  • Via Elipse License Manager (eLic): this (recommended) procedure is simple and automatic; its only requirement is a connection to the internet. 
  • Manual procedure: to be used only when the machine has no access to the internet.
NOTE: for an easy and quick procedure, we suggest installing it via eLic, and not manually.

Every 60 days, the license needs to be reprogrammed/revalidated. If the computer running eLic is connected to the internet, it will automatically reprogram all licenses on the network on a periodic basis, requiring no client intervention. In case of an isolated network, that is, in case of no internet access, the license must be reprogrammed manually twice a year. 

The softkey's expiration date can be verified via eLic or E3Admin, and a warning note for its revalidation starts popping up 30 days before this date. Manual (offline) reprogramming, as well as its requeste, is the customer's sole responsibility, and it can be done in one of the following ways: 
  • Via HKCustomer: requires only direct access to the server; 
  • Via eLic:  this option is indicated only in cases when the client has no access to the server, only via Remote Desktop.
Once installed in the server, the softkey is bound to the machine, and it can't be removed or transferred.

Softkey's pros:
  • Requires no USB port;
  • The license is not bound to a portable device, therefore it can't be lost or stolen;
  • Allows you to create a virtual environment.
Softkey's cons:
  • Requires periodic reprogramming;
  • The license is bound to the server, and can't be removed/transferred to other hardware;
  • Requires a complex off-line installation process;
  • If a problem occurs in your machine and the softkey is lost, its reinstallation is required.
Softkey's restrictions:
  • Make sure the machine where the softkey is installed is the final one, and that it's properly set up;
  • The machine where the softkey is installed must be ready be reprogrammed periodically;
  • After installing the softkey in a physical machine, its settings (UUID, PCU, network cards, etc.) can no longer me edited, since its cloning could be detected and this would cause the machine to stop working. If this happens, this softkey can no longer be restored, and a new one has to be generated. This operation is costly and takes very long to be completed. In this case, contact Elipse Software as soon as possible. 

Elipse License Manager (eLic)

The goal of Elipse License Manager is to manage the updates of the protection devices (hardkey/softkey) used for Elipse Software's products licensing purposes. Its main features are:
  • Activating the softkey (as long as the machine is connected to the internet);
  • Automatically reprogramming softkeys and hardkeys (as long as the machine running eLic is connected to the internet);
  • Centralizing licenses management;
  • Collecting and applying memory off-line (manual procedure, not connected to the internet);
  • Controlling expiration dates.

To download Elipse License Manager (eLic), go to Elipse's webpage.

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Última Atualização
4th of October, 2017

Eduardo Luiz Grazziotin

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