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RMS Ent 4.1 and VMware

Hi,

Just wondering if anyone out there has noticed an issue with the RMS Ent license manager when running on a virtual infrastructure.

I've been running RMS Ent for a couple of months now and just after finally migrating all my legacy RMS 3.3 masters over, I found myself being booted out of the client and presented with:

"RMS License Problem Your RMS Server in not licensed.
Please contact AMX Customer Service for Support"

Upon futher investigation the licence manager revealed I had no licenses and when I tried to request them again, it was rejected due to activation lock criteria mismatches.

What appears to have happened was that the underlying virtual VMware infrastructure had migrated the RMS Ent server onto another blade which had a slightly different processor and it looks like the license manager noticed this and immediately shut things down. Migrating the server back to the original blade restored the licenses and a reboot of Tomcat allowed the Flash client to display a logon prompt once more.

Just wondering how many people out there are aware of this and don't realise that a background migration in the virtual infrastructure can lock you out of RMS without any warning. The whole point of running on a virtual infrastruction often is for resiliance yet this issue potentially undermines it and places you in a situation of not being able to monitor / control / schedule your AV infrastructure.

Even a scheduled migration looks a somewhat tedious process as in order to move the license you appear to have to raise a RMA, then e-mail various requests back and forth between the License Manager and AMX in order to temporarily revoke the license. Looks like there is potentially a way to do this automatically on-line but the documentation states to use the off-line method.

I believe that if you lose the License Server then there is a 24hour window to get it back (assuming that there is an indication that it's off-line) however in this case it was within minutes of the underlying migration completing.

Dave

Comments

  • PhreaKPhreaK Senior Member Posts: 966
    Hi Dave, nice work on identifying that and some great points.

    You're correct in noting that licenses are bound to the hardware your server is running on. If you are migrating the server then you do need to rebind. The good news is that if you have connectivity to the AMX licensing servers then this is nice and simple to do from the AMX license manager. Just chose 'Move License' from the tools menu before you migrate to unbind, then after the migration has taken place you can re-activate your entitlement.

    As you noticed the documentation also walks you though how to do this if your server does not have internet connectivity. There's nothing complex here either, it just replaces what the license manager does automatically with an email to tech support so that a human (well, tech support guy / girl - they're sort of superhuman) can do it. They'll then send you back an unlock code.

    The reason that your server booted your clients out is that rather than loosing connectivity from the license manger itself (which gives you a 24 hour grace period), you license manager was still there and talking to the RMS server, but did not have any valid licenses.

    If you're deploying RMS into an environment where you require high availability have a look into clustering options. RMS Enterprise has been designed to allow you to run a number of RMS servers as different nodes behind a load balancer as a cluster. This does not add any additional licensing overhead and will provide you with availability you require. If you're looking at this have a chat to your local AMX team and they'll be able to provide some assistance designing the system architecture.
  • Dave_UKDave_UK Junior Member Posts: 54
    Ok, so it sounds like the revocation using the on-line option does work, just that it is omitted in the documentation.

    However, the problem still remains as often migration on a virtual infrastructure is taking place in the background, so the first that you are aware of the problem is when you get kicked out of the RMS client due to licensing issues. So no time to plan a license revocation before it happens.

    I had a scan of the clustering options the other day with regards to this however it didn't look as if it would help with this particular issue as it is the Licensing Server that is affected rather then RMS. According to the latest RMS Admin manual, "Multi-server installations require a single instance of AMX License Server..." "...Licence Server is only installed on the Primary RMS Enterprise Server...". So if the primary RMS Server were to fail and take out the License Server then you have a 24h grace period reinstate the Licence Server. However as in my case, it was not a failure of the License Server as such, just that it now had invalid licenses so I expect that all the server nodes in a cluster would still have shut down immediately.

    Currently the virtual infrastructure guys have locked migration of the RMS server to between blades with identical processors, however I'm not sure if that is enough, as there appears to be two lock criteria involved. The other may be the MAC address of the network interface.

    Dave
  • One other possible option is to (1) install the Sentinel RMS License Manager Service (NT Service) on a separate machine, one that is not subject to VM migration. Then (2) run the AMX License Manager tool on your RMS server and revoke the existing licenses to free them from the RMS server machine. Next (3) re-license the RMS server using your entitlement ID, but when prompted to select a license server, either use the search network option or just manually provide the IP address or hostname of the new license server. (4) Complete the license activation using your entitlement ID.

    When these steps are complete, the RMS server is now free to move to different virtual instances because it will resolve its licensing from this separate license server.

    This installer can be found on your RMS server in this folder:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\AMX\AMX License Manager\licserv

    Thanks, Robert
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