Sentinel type Network Softkey


This KB article describes the functionality, installation procedure, license updating, and license rehosting capabilities of a  Sentinel type Network Softkey license.  The following behaviors apply when using FRED on a client PC whose authorization is controlled through the use of a network Sentinel softkey:

  • One session of FRED on the client PC consumes one license from the connected Sentinel key.
  • The license server and client PC must reside on the same network, except in the case of detached licenses.
  • The Sentinel Runtime Environment must be installed on the client PC.
  • The Sentinel Runtime Environment must be installed on the server PC.
  • Network softkeys allow individual seats to be "detached" and temporarily assigned to a recipient computer.

Instantiation of a softkey license requires the ability to exchange XML data files between the license host computer and Photon Engineering. Moving/Rehosting softkeys between computers on your network requires the ability to exchange XML data files between the current host computer and the new host computer (Photon Engineering is not involved). The XML data files contain strings of data that can be several thousand characters long. If you are unable, or unwilling, to exchange XML data files to facilitate license instantiation, updating and/or rehosting, softkeys may not be appropriate for your network environment.

Loss Disclaimer

You are responsible for protecting your hardware or software key from theft or loss as described in the FRED Optical Engineering Software EULA.  Photon Engineering does not replace lost keys for any reason.  Photon Engineering recommends that you insure your keys for the value of the purchased software, as you would for any other asset of similar value. 
If you plan to modify the configuration of a physical or virtual workstation with a softkey installed, you should re-host the softkey to a different computer while the modifications are made and then return the softkey to the reconfigured machine.  This reduces the chance of losing your softkey license as a result of computer failure or triggering the Sentinel clone detection feature which may render your softkey license unusable.

Installing a network type Sentinel Softkey

Preparing the License Server

The Sentinel Runtime Environment is required on the license server to enable the use of a Sentinel network softkey.  The following steps should be taken on the Sentinel network license server to prepare it for hosting a network softkey.  If the license server already has the Sentinel LDK License Manager installed, you may consider proceeding to the next section, "Generating a New Softkey License".

1.  Install the Sentinel Runtime Environment with administrative privileges.  Warning: If the license server already has the Sentinel LDK License Manager installed, re-installing via any of the options below will cause an interruption to the existing service.  The installer package can be accessed in one of the following ways:
  • Download HASPUserSetup.exe, hosted on the Thales website: Sentinel RunTime Environment Setup. (Note: additional Sentinel Runtime Environment installers are available through the Thales website for different OS platforms and for command line installation).
  • Download HASPUserSetup, hosted on the Photon Engineering website: HASPUserSetup.exe
  • Copy the "Sentinel RunTime Environment Setup.exe" from a PC with a current FRED installation.  The installer is located in the <FRED install dir>\Utilities directory.
  • Install FRED on the server, making sure to choose the Sentinel RunTime Environment component option when prompted (Hardware Key Driver and Remote Service options not required).
2. Open the Windows services list and check that the Sentinel LDK License Manager service is present and that its status is Running. 

3. Open a web browser and navigate to http://localhost:1947 to check that the Sentinel Admin Control Center (ACC) is accessible.

At this point, the server computer is prepared to host a network softkey license.  If a new network softkey license is being generated for the first time, please refer to the Generating a New Softkey License instructions below.  If an existing network softkey license is being transferred to this server computer, please see the Softkey Rehosting and Detachment instructions.

Generating a New Softkey License

Generation of a new network softkey license requires a coordinated file exchange with Photon Engineering.  The customer will send Photon Engineering a customer-to-vendor (.c2v) "fingerprint" file that contains identification information about the PC to which the network softkey is being issued.  Photon Engineering generates and returns to the customer a vendor-to-customer (.v2c) file that, when applied by the customer, creates the softkey license.

If an existing network softkey is being moved to the license server, please refer to Softkey Rehosting and Detachment.

When generating a new network softkey license, the following steps should be taken on the network license server when requested by Photon Engineering:

1.  Install FRED on the license server.  During installation, none of the optional components need to be selected for installation (assuming that the Sentinel RunTime Environment was installed as described in the license server preparation section above).
2.  Start FRED.  If the License Search Strategy dialog does not automatically open, Navigate to Help > License Search Strategy.  Press the "Sentinel Dialog" button. 
3.  In the License Registration Actions section of the dialog, select the "Fingerprint (.c2v)" option.
4.  Use the "..." button in the Create Fingerprint (.c2v) row to designate a custom output file name and location.  If left unmodified, FRED will write a .c2v file to the Desktop.

What is a fingerprint file and what information does it contain?

The following information regarding machine fingerprints is taken from the Thales Sentinel LDK version 7.8 Software Licensing and Protection Guide:

As part of the Activation process for a licensed Product, the Sentinel LDK License Manager creates a “fingerprint” of the computer on which the protected software is installed. This fingerprint contains hash values of a number of characteristics of the computer. This fingerprint (referred to as the reference fingerprint) is stored within the secure storage on the computer and is also returned to the Vendor in the C2V file.  Each time the end user starts the protected software, the Sentinel LDK License Manager creates a new fingerprint of the computer (referred to as the system fingerprint) and compares it to the reference fingerprint. If the system and reference fingerprints are identical or sufficiently close (as described in this appendix), Sentinel LDK allows the protected software to operate.

This scheme uses various components such as CPU, ethernet card, optical drive, and PCI card slot peripherals, along with the hard drive serial number and motherboard ID to verify fingerprints. This scheme provides enhanced reliability against false positive clone detection and maintains the inherent security of the scheme.

5.  Press the Do Action button and check the Action Status message area at the bottom of the dialog to confirm that the operation was successful.
6.  Provide the .c2v file generated in step 5 above to Photon Engineering at
7.  FRED is no longer required on the license server computer and you may remove it from the license server if desired.  The Sentinel Runtime Environment must remain installed and running on the server computer.
The following steps should be taken after receiving a .v2c file from Photon Engineering
8.  In a web browser, navigate to http://localhost:1947 to access the Sentinel Admin Control Center running on the license server computer.  Note: this must be the same computer that generated the fingerprint .c2v file in steps 1-7 above.
9.  Click on the Update/Attach link in the Options section on the left hand side of the ACC.
10.  Press the Choose File button and then select the .v2c file received from Photon Engineering.
11.  Press the Apply File button.  The web interface will present a message indicating success or failure of the operation.
12.  Click on the Sentinel Keys link in the Options section on the left hand side of the ACC.  Check that the new softkey is now listed.  The Features button in the Actions column can be used to view the available features, seat limits and any restrictions associated with the new license.

Preparing the Client computer

The following steps should be taken on a client PC desired to access the network license:

1. Install FRED, making sure to install the Sentinel RunTime Environment component during installation.  The runtime environment will allow the client PC to communicate with the server hosting the network softkey.
2. Open the Windows services list and check that the Sentinel LDK License Manager service is present and that its status is Running. 

3. Start FRED on the client PC.
4. If, upon starting FRED, the License Search Strategy dialog is presented automatically, then FRED has failed to acquire a license.  There are two common problems in this case:

  • The License Search Strategy on the client PC is not properly configured to find a remotely hosted Sentinel network license.  In this case, the license search strategy should be reconfigured and FRED should be restarted.  This may be a simple as making sure that the "Licensing Technology Search Strategy" drop-list specification is either "Sentinel Only" or "Sentinel then SuperPro".

  • The Sentinel license managers on the client and server computers (license managers are installed as part of the Sentinel Runtime Environment) are not able to communicate with each other across the network.  Communication can be checked by opening a web browser and navigating to the Sentinel Admin Control Center at http://localhost:1947.  Browse the Sentinel Keys list to check and see that the network license is visible to the client PC.  If the license is not visible, navigate to the Configuration settings in the ACC and then click on the "Access to Remote License Managers" tab.  Activate the three toggles for "Allow access to remote licenses", "Broadcast search for remote licenses", and "Aggressive search for remote licenses".

If, upon starting FRED, the user is not prompted with a dialog upon FRED startup, then a license has been acquired.  Proceed to step 5 for more information on checking the specifics of the license that was acquired.
5. Navigate to Help > License Authorization to open the licensing dialog for the connected FRED license.  Confirm that:
  • The dialog title is "FRED License Authorization (Sentinel)"
  • The License Status information corresponds to the desired Sentinel key
If the above items are confirmed, then setup is complete.  If the license information does not correspond to the desired Sentinel key, proceed to step 6.
6. Navigate to Help > License Search Strategy.  Reconfigure the search strategy to specifically connect to the desired Sentinel license.  Restart FRED and repeat step 4 to confirm that the desired key is connected.

Sentinel License Authorization Update

Refer to KB article, Sentinel License Authorization Update.

Moving (rehosting) a Sentinel Softkey

Refer to KB article, Moving (rehosting) a Sentinel Softkey.

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