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It's not uncommon for a licensing server to remain active for years, but sooner or later many companies find it necessary to upgrade their licensing server. Here are some guidelines to help you do so while minimizing downtime.
Version 1.X or 2.X?
Server migration might be a good time to upgrade your licensing system from version 1.X to 2.X. This is especially important if you are switching to a cloud or virtual server, where the version 2.0 server licensing is based on the domain URL rather than a particular machine. Version 2.0 also supports .NET 4.0, which is much more efficient than earlier versions of .NET with regards to encryption. If you do upgrade, we generally recommend upgrading your existing license server first. Information on upgrading an existing license server can be found here:
Minimizing Server Downtime
Achieving a near zero downtime migration is possible, but takes careful planning.
There are two potential major time consuming operations during a migration:
Of these, the latter is critical. Assuming your license server has its own subdomain (such as licensing.yourcompany.com), at some point you'll need to change the IP address that this domain points to. That change can take hours to propagate through the Internet.
There are only two ways to avoid potential downtime during this delay:
Of these, the second is most practical. To do this you must be using SQL Server or MySQL, and the database must be accessible from both servers. The migration sequence is as follows:
Migrating from an Access Database
If you are using an Access database (only recommended for very light use sites), you probably will not be able to achieve a zero-downtime migration. An Access database can't easily be shared by two servers.
The easiest way to migrate an Access database to SQL is using the SQL Server Import and Export data tool. You only need to migrate tables. In addition:
Licensing the New Server
If you are installing a version 1.x license server, the server is licensed by machine. As such, it is not suitable for use in most cloud and web-farm environments. Licensing this type of server in a migration is the same as licensing it normally (see your documentation).
A version 2.x license server is licensed based on the URL used to connect to the server. You normally license the server by connecting to it from a different machine using the desired URL (when you connect from the local machine, it uses a local machine license - same as version 1.x).
However, during a migration, the desired URL is still mapped to the old server.
The solution is as follows:
Now when you use this system to connect to a license server using your license server URL (activation or management URL), it will go to your new server instead of the old one. You can now do a hosted install using the license manager application to license the server for your activation URL.
The domain URL license is embedded in the database itself, so any license server using that can process that URL will be licensed. This is ideal for cloud scenarios, and makes future migrations easy - any new server will already be licensed for that URL.
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