Virtualization of network keys

Question: 

Which protection key options are available when working with a network license in a virtual environment?

Answer: 

The NetKey+ license server can be installed in a virtual environment and depending on the underlying architecture, two types of software protection keys can be employed:

  • Hardware-based: A SafeNet Sentinel USB dongle connected to a network USB hub. We support network USB hubs from Silex and Digi.
  • Software-based: A Sentinel HASP protection key (also known as Software-locked or SL) for network licenses of BioNumerics: Please note that certain restrictions apply to the virtual machine where a HASP protection key is installed, as explained below.

The first option is more flexible because you can easily move the virtual machine to another physical host without affecting the license. For HASP SL keys this is more complicated because of the built-in security measures that prevent duplicating licenses for example by cloning the virtual machine.

In a virtual environment, the Software-based Sentinel HASP protection key is locked to the characteristics of the underlying CPU hardware, the MAC address of the virtual network card and the virtual image’s UUID. Hence if any of these parameters cannot be fixed, then the software-based key should be avoided. For example, if CPU masking is not available and the virtual image is moved to another server in a cluster environment, then the software-based protection key could be invalidated.

If you need to move the license server virtual machine to a different host server, then the HASP protection key must be transferred to an intermediary machine first. Subsequent you can move the virtual machine and restore the HASP SL protection key from the intermediary machine. In short, no hardware changes (CPU, MAC address and VM UUID) should be planned on machines with active HASP SL protection keys installed on them. You can either use the NetKey+ Config tool or the Sentinel RUS_KMADZ.exe tool to transfer the licenses between the applicable machines.

Also, a full backup of the license server should be scheduled to protect the Software-based Sentinel HASP key.

Please check section “4.4 Installing Protection Keys” in the BioNumerics installation guide for more details on this subject.

Package(s):

Applicable for: 
Version 7.0 - 7.6

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