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What We're Working On - SolarWinds Licensing

Product Manager

Over the years we've heard a great deal of feedback from our customers on how we can improve our licensing system.  Let me clarify what I mean by licensing system.  Currently, when you buy a license from SolarWinds for any product you are given an activation key in your SolarWinds customer portal.  You must then copy this key and paste it into the License Manager application to register your license and activate the product so that it's no longer in evaluation mode.  This same process is also required whenever you upgrade to a new major version or renew your maintenance.  For long-time SolarWinds customers this process has become old-hat, but there is definitely some room for improvement.

The most obvious question is, why do we do it this way?  I won't go into all of the gory details, but there is a method to our madness.  More importantly, we are currently working on updating our licensing system to make this experience much better.  Once we've updated the licensing system with these new changes the user experience with activating licenses should improve in the following ways:

  • You will no longer be required to apply a new activation key with version upgrades, minor OR major.
  • You will no longer be required to apply a new activation key when you renew maintenance.

Each product will need to adopt the new licensing system to take advantage of these changes.  You should see the products start to adopt the new licensing system soon; DameWare will be the first.  We'd love to hear your feedback and any other pain points you may have with our licensing system.

In addition to the aforementioned changes, we're also working on the ability to activate your license through an authenticated proxy.

Disclaimer:  Comments given in this forum should not be interpreted as a commitment that SolarWinds will deliver any specific feature in any particular time frame. All discussions of future plans or product roadmaps are based on the product teams intentions, but those plans can change at any time.

Level 10

This is good news. I am looking forward to this change hitting all of the various products that we use.

Level 14

We'd be really happy if the licensing worked through authenticating proxy servers. Right now we have to do it all manually.

Product Manager
Product Manager

Thanks for the feedback, John.  We're already tracking this is a feature request.


Level 20

Just don't forget that many of us have networks without access to the internet so don't force access to internet for licensing.  In some instances we may be able to create rules to allow the licensing to take place but there are networks where this will never happen and licensing will always have be a manual process as the networks will always be air gapped from the outside world.

Level 13

I also have clients whose servers do not have access to the internet, and never will.  I hope that the manual activation doesn't go away for those that can't access the internet for license activation.

Product Manager
Product Manager

No worries, manual activation isn't going away and will continue to work as it always has.  That said, there is room for improvement with this process as well, especially for customers with large numbers of licenses or seats that don't have internet access.  Although there won't be any changes or improvements to the offline activation process in this release, it's definitely something we're thinking about long-term.

Level 13

Good to hear!

Level 8

That's good news - having both manual and automatic ways for licensing.

Level 12

Really good news

About the Author
Let me introduce myself.  My name is Craig McDonald, and I come from the land of video games and stock trading, sprinkled with identity management, and, by the way, I like to write.  Checkered past, you say?  How did you end up in network management, you ask?  Perfectly valid questions; I will connect the dots for you and it will all make sense shortly. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin where I had the opportunity to write for The Daily Texan and Texas Monthly.  Upon graduation I was faced with two options: move to a small town and start my career at an even smaller newspaper, or make a home in Austin and see where this crazy tech town would take me.  I chose the latter, and ended up working in support and managing QA for a popular MMORPG called Ultima Online (this was before WoW was a sparkle in Blizzard's eye). After a few years of policing the haXXorZ, overseeing a few in-game weddings, and shipping several expansion skus, I decided it was time for a change.  I remember the advice from one of my journalism professors when I asked about pursuing a graduate degree; his suggestion, "Go to business school!"  I heeded his advice, got accepted to the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and started working on my MBA. While finishing my MBA at McCombs, I was presented with an opportunity to work for a company that developed online trading software (Charles Schwab, formerly CyberTrader).  This may seem a stretch from video games, but the client/server infrastructure and the uptime requirements for an MMORPG and a securities trading engine are quite similar.  Although the content and use cases are obviously very different, both require fast connections and the ability to allow users to log into the service at any time.  My next career move was into the enterprise software arena where I worked as a product manager for Sun Microsystems in the Identity Management space. Fast forward to today, I'm your newest product manager at SolarWinds.  I will be managing Toolset, VoiP, and eventually the Kiwi products.  Outside of the SolarWinds 'Borg' (assimilation is swift and definitive), I keep busy with my lovely wife, two beautiful kiddos, and a pug named Marley.  When they go to bed, I'm either watching a movie, reading a book (working on Atlas Shrugged, and it is work, indeed), or staring at the red circle of death on my XBOX 360.