The Many Shapes and Forms of Software Licensing in the Cloud
2021-03-16 David Paine
More and more ISVs are moving their applications to the cloud vs. deployment over traditional IT infrastructure. The benefits are easily recognizable: high availability, flexibility and scalability on-demand, management automation, and lower infrastructure and operating costs to name just a few. And the move to the cloud has greatly expanded the types of licensing models that ISVs can employ, like pay-as-you-go, subscriptions, and other consumption-based licenses.
For some ISVs, however, moving their applications from on-premise to the cloud may not be as straightforward as it might seem, particularly those ISVs using legacy or home-grown licensing systems, as there are many ways that licensing can be accomplished in the cloud. For example, licenses can be created in the cloud, distributed through the cloud, or even used and monitored right in the cloud itself. The possible scenarios multiply when you consider the many ways in which software can be used: hybrid environments with both on premise and cloud deployments, run by the end user, or possibly provided as a service (SaaS) by a vendor.
To help ISVs with the transition to the cloud, we added a new module to our CodeMeter protection and license and entitlement management technology that can be universally applied for every type of cloud deployment. With the introduction of CodeMeter Cloud (CmCloud) in 2020 along with the unique CodeMeter Cloud license containers (CmCloudContainer), CodeMeter License Central, CodeMeter Cloud Lite, and the end user portal, both boutique software developers and larger independent and corporate software vendors have a clear and easy path to the cloud while providing their end users with the full functioning CodeMeter experience.
Here is how it works. To license the software already protected with CodeMeter Protection Suite or CodeMeter Core API, vendors simply log onto their CodeMeter Cloud Dashboard to create a CmCloudContainer, a paired credential file that will be later mailed to the user once an additional step in the process is completed, and a context file that will be used to create a license bound to this specific CmCloudContainer. With the ease of CodeMeter License Central, CodeMeter License Editor or the CodeMeter HIP API, the vendor will then use the context file and generate its related update file, which will be transferred to the CodeMeter Cloud Dashboard to associate the software’s license to the cloud container. The end user, who is now in possession of their credential file, can then drag and drop it into the start screen of the CodeMeter Control Center, a module that was automatically installed on their machine with the installation of the licensed application. The system is smart enough to control the usage of multiple instances of the software at the same time. The vendor can define how many instances can be used simultaneously.
Larger independent and corporate software vendors can benefit from an even leaner process that keeps their end users fully empowered and in control. The software vendor can use CodeMeter License Central to generate the entitlement in the form of a ticket, which they simply email to their end user after a software purchase. The user then creates an account on the License Portal with their ticket number and activates the license with a single click. In the background, the system then creates the CmCloudContainer, the actual license in CodeMeter License Central, imports it to the cloud server where the related credential file is already waiting to be automatically downloaded into CodeMeter Runtime on the user’s device. All of this happens without involving the user, who maintains full control over their account to change their data, connect their license containers with other devices, or add new tickets for more licensed software, manually or automatically if that vendor has integrated an e-commerce solution into their software provisioning process. With its balance of manual controls and automation for the complex security processes running in the background, this is an ideal self-service solution, made possible by CmCloud.
If you foresee the need for a cloud licensing and entitlement management system, you can watch the replay of the 50 Shades of Cloud Licensing masterclass, where we dissected the various modules of CodeMeter Cloud and showed how easily it can be implemented.
With a degree in Physics under his belt and after programming work in Germany and Switzerland, he worked for many years at IBM UK Labs. Since then, he has worked as an international consultant, developer, and development manager in Australia, South Africa, America, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He then assumed the role of product manager for several projects and shortly after added the responsibilities of project manager, gaining Prince II certification. He currently works as Product Manager for Wibu-Systems in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he is in charge of CodeMeter Cloud and CodeMeter License Central development efforts.