It’s not often that a software changes or introduces new licensing mechanics. It’s tough for the companies to introduce those changes and it can be tough for the communities to migrate to new licensing. But there’s some exciting news for TouchDesigner developers which is a new licensing mechanic: Floating Cloud Licenses. Let’s take a look!
What is a Floating Cloud License
The first thing to note is that these are REALLY NEW licenses. You’d only know about this if you’re someone like me who reads every set of release notes for every single build that comes out. They aren’t even officially rolled out to the store yet on Derivative.ca (more on that below)! But what are they? The best way to think about them is as a hybrid between the online account-based licenses and the dongles. To put it another way, it’s like dongle licensing but it uses a file as your dongle, and that file checks against a pool of licenses available in the cloud.
Why is this useful?
This new Floating Cloud License is extremely useful for a handful of use cases.
The first is if you’re using cloud servers (like Paperspace) to run TouchDesigner, the normal online licensing system can encounter issues if the underlying hardware of the cloud server changes. As the normal online licensing creates a unique system code based on the hardware in the machine, all the virtualization and tricks that cloud providers use to get the most out of their hardware can easily trip up your license. This gets compounded by the fact that lots of folks want to spin up and destroy new cloud servers on demand, which would mean that each time you do that your system code is changing and you have to fully re-license. With this new version of the Floating Cloud License, you could build a system image that has the CodeMeter licensing installed and your Floating Cloud License file loaded in, then as you dynamically spin up or down servers, they would automatically reach into your pool of licenses to get up and running.
One common thing that happens with on-site installs is that you try to save some money by using playback licenses. Then to be able to edit these licenses you get one dongle for each developer. Once you’re on site you find yourself running back and forth to the server room to move that dongle around. Sounds good on paper, but quickly devolves into scrambling to move a license around. It can get worse when you have more developers than dongles and everyone’s trying to share dongles. I’m all about saving some money and paying the bills but this quickly becomes difficult to manage. This is where the Floating Cloud Licenses can come into play. It will allow you to load in your license file (which acts like a dongle but in the CodeMeter software), then your machine reaches into the pool to grab a license, then you unload your license file without having to run around or running out of physical dongles (exact instructions to be determined when it’s released!). This means you can kind of get the best of both dongles and online licensing working together.
How to get it & Learn more
Since these are a totally new mechanic for licensing, the best way to learn more about it is to start by checking out the new and growing Wiki page about it:
Then if you’re interested in pricing and usages, the best thing to do is shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll be rolling out over the next while and we should see them start to pop up on the store soon!
One of the few “gotchyas” to be aware of is that unlike the dongle-based licensing that can re-license a running TouchDesigner project, the Floating Cloud Licenses only check on startup. So if you do need to make a license change while a project is running, you’ll have to restart the project file. Not a huge hurdle by any stretch, but something to be aware of!
It’s exciting whenever there are new license mechanisms for your favourite softwares, especially when those new mechanisms can improve your workflows or help you create new workflows. The Floating Cloud License does both of these by helping you deal with remote work/on-site situations or create new workflows in the cloud! Enjoy!