License Management FAQs


How Houdini licensing works

The license management system is based on a client/server model with a license server running on one server and the applications running on one or more clients. Generally the server and client are different machines on a network. The license server software and client application may be installed together on a single machine – this is how it is used for workstation licenses.

The license server (sesinetd) keeps track of the licenses and their activity (whether they are checked out or available for use). When a Houdini product needs a license, it communicates with hserver, which is a helper program running on the client. Hserver communicates with the license server (sesinetd). It is the license server (sesinetd) that grants licenses to valid clients and collects licenses when Houdini applications terminate. If there is no hserver running on the client, Houdini will not start. On Linux and Mac OSX, hserver is started automatically when you start a Houdini application, or it can be started manually. On Windows, both hserver and the license server are started as Services named HoudiniServer and HoudiniLicenseServer respectively.

Licensing diagram for a local client and a remote license server:

Remote License

Licensing diagram for a server and client on the same machine:

Local License

Houdini product keystrings

The following table illustrates shows the license string required for each product type:

License Category Product Name Product License String Default Qty
Commercial Houdini FX Houdini FX 1
Renderer 5
Houdini Core Houdini 1
Renderer 5
Houdini Engine Houdini Engine 1
Renderer 1
Limited Commercial Houdini Indie Houdini Indie 2
Renderer (Non-Commercial) 2
Houdini Engine Indie Houdini Engine Indie 1
Renderer (Non-Commercial) 1
Educational Houdini Education Houdini Education 1
Houdini FX (Non-Commercial) 1
Renderer (Non-Commercial) 10
Houdini Engine Education Houdini Engine Education 1
Renderer (Non-Commercial) 1
Non-Commercial Houdini Apprentice Houdini FX (Non-Commercial) 1
Renderer (Non-Commercial) 1

About Houdini product keystrings

A new keystring begins at the keyword: SERVER, LICENSE, UPGRADE or EXTEND.

The SERVER keystring is a keystring which authenticates the computer to run Houdini licenses.

A Houdini product keystring begins with the word LICENSE. The LICENSE keystring has an ID associated to it called the License ID. This is how we track the product, quantity, version, expiry, and support status of the license.

Action keystrings begins with UPGRADE or EXTEND and these are applied to currently installed License ID (or, product keystring).

When you return a license, you must return the License ID itself. This will return the product keystring.

Workstation, LAL, GAL licenses

Workstation licenses are node locked licenses meaning they may only be used on the machine itself and not floated across the network. Apprentice and Indie users are only issued workstation (node locked) licenses

LAL (Local Access Licenses) serve locations up to 100km in distance.

GAL (Global Access Licenses) serve locations more than 100km in distance.

Tools for Houdini licensing

The licensing tools for Houdini are:

hkey: A graphical licensing tool for managing licenses. Also known as License Administrator.
sesictrl: The non-graphical "hkey". Use this to perform license operations in the terminal shell.
sesinetd: The license server daemon/service.
hserver: The client helper program that acquires licenses by communicating with sesinetd.

The location of licensing tools:

Windows
* hkey, sesictrl: C:\Program Files\Side Effects Software\Houdini 17.5.xxx\bin
* sesinetd, hserver: C:\Windows\system32

Linux
* hkey, hserver: /opt/hfs17.5.xxx/bin
* sesinetd, sesictrl: /opt/hfs17.5.xxx/houdini/sbin

Mac:
* hkey, hserver: /Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.5.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/bin
* sesinetd, sesictrl: /Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.5.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/sbin

The License Administrator (hkey) is the easiest way to install or manage Houdini licenses.

If you are running a headless system (a machine without a graphical display), please refer to to Using the License Administrator non-graphically on the general License Management FAQ.

Windows:

  • Start menu -> All Programs -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

Linux:

  • Applications -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

  • Or open a Terminal and type:
    cd /opt/hfs17.5
    source houdini_setup
    hkey

Mac:
* Applications -> Houdini -> Houdini 17.5.xxx -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

The License Administrator connects to Side Effects Software using port 80 (http). If you require a proxy to access the web, please see this section.

From Houdini 14, OpenGL is no longer required to run License Administrator.

If you are having difficulties logging into your licensing account from the License Administrator, try resetting your website password at www.sidefx.com/profile. By resetting your website password, your licensing system password will also be updated so the two are unified.

License Acquisition

These license acquisition tables list what licenses are checked by Houdini applications through the client helper program hserver.

The tables below are based on how the client starts hserver. The column to the left refers to the product or license type that will be requested from the license server. The column on the right refers to the product that the client is asking for (based on the commands):

Product Name Keystring Name Executable Name(s)
Houdini FX Houdini-Master houdini, houdinifx
Houdini Core Houdini-Escape houdinicore
Houdini Engine [Batch] Houdini-Engine hbatch,hython
Houdini Engine [Plug-in] Houdini-Engine N/A [open with plug-in]

Note that running hbatch -R will request a non-graphics token. It will not attempt to checkout a graphical token.

The number in brackets indicates the order in which the licenses are checked for a given application.

For more information on running hserver, please refer to the section What kind of options are available to hserver? of the License Management section of the FAQ.

Client runs hserver:

License houdinifx houdinicore hbatch hbatch -R Engine Plug-in
Houdini FX yes no yes (4) no yes (3)
Houdini Core no yes yes (3) no yes (2)
Houdini Engine no no yes (1) yes yes (1)

Client runs hserver -n (i.e. non-graphical only):

License houdinifx houdinicore hbatch hbatch -R Engine Plug-in
Houdini FX no no no no yes (3)
Houdini Core no no no no yes (2)
Houdini Engine no no yes yes yes (1)

Client runs hserver -n -g (i.e. relaxed non-graphical):

License houdinifx houdinicore hbatch hbatch -R Engine Plug-in
Houdini FX yes no no no yes (3)
Houdini Core no yes no no yes (2)
Houdini Engine no no yes yes yes (1)

In order to use the following hserver options you must be running version 8.2.856 and higher

Client runs hserver -G (i.e. graphical only):

License houdinifx houdinicore hbatch hbatch -R Engine Plug-in
Houdini FX yes no yes (2) no yes (3)
Houdini Core no yes yes (1) no yes (2)
Houdini Engine no no no no yes (1)

Client runs hserver -G -g (i.e. relaxed graphical only):

License houdinifx houdinicore hbatch hbatch -R Engine Plug-in
Houdini FX yes no yes (2) no yes (3)
Houdini Core no yes yes (1) no yes (2)
Houdini Engine no no yes (3) yes yes (1)

Note: As of Houdini 13.0, the Houdini Batch license has been superseded by the Houdini Engine license. As of Houdini 8.2, the Non-Graphical, Render Script and Select licenses no longer exist. Houdini Non-Graphical and Render Script are now included in the Houdini Engine license.

Setup the Houdini environment for command line

If you would like to use the command line to run certain Houdini programs and commands, you must set up what's called an "environment". This means that Houdini will be able to find all the directories and programs that it needs in order to run the command you tell it to (for example, sesictrl).

Windows

  • Start menu -> All Programs -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Utilities -> Command Line Tools

Linux

  1. cd path to Houdini installation
  2. source houdini_setup
    • Example:
      $ cd /opt/hfs17.5.xxx
      $ source houdini_setup

This is useful to put into login scripts so you can have the environment setup upon login.

Mac

  • Applications -> Houdini -> Houdini 17.5.xxx -> Utilities -> Houdini Terminal 17.5.xxx
The licenses file

The keystrings themselves are written locally to the licenses file.

Depending on the operating system, the location of the licenses file:

Windows: C:\Windows\keys\licenses

Linux: /usr/lib/sesi/licenses

Mac: /Library/Preferences/sesi/licenses

Ensue that the operating system does not append a .doc or .txt to the licenses file. The file must be called licenses.

If you are sent a copy of the licenses file for your machine from SideFX, you may need to restart the license server to have the new file read.

The License Administrator

The License Administrator (hkey) is the easiest way to install or manage Houdini licenses.

If you are running a headless system (a machine without a graphical display), please refer to to Using the License Administrator non-graphically on the general License Management FAQ.

Windows:

  • Start menu -> All Programs -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

Linux:

  • Applications -> Side Effects Software -> Houdini version -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

  • Or open a Terminal and type:
    cd /opt/hfs17.5
    source houdini_setup
    hkey

Mac:
* Applications -> Houdini -> Houdini 17.5.xxx -> Administrative Tools -> License Administrator

The License Administrator connects to Side Effects Software using port 80 (http). If you require a proxy to access the web, please see this section.

If you are having difficulties logging into your licensing account from the License Administrator, try resetting your website password at www.sidefx.com/profile. By resetting your website password, your licensing system password will also be updated so the two are unified.

The non-graphical License Administrator

The License Administrator (hkey) is a GUI-based utility. You can use sesictrl to perform some of the operations that the License Administrator does. These operations are:

The easiest way to install license entitlements is to run:

sesictrl -L

You will be prompted for your licensing email login and password. After you are logged in, you can follow the instructions given to you.

To manually install keystrings that have already been generated:

sesictrl -I keystring

A new keystring begins at the keyword: SERVER, LICENSE, INCREMENT, UPGRADE or EXTEND.

For more information on how to have keystrings generated, read the section How do I install licenses without Internet Access.

Using sesictrl

"sesictrl" is a license utility that communicates either with the local hserver or with the (possibly remote) sesinetd license daemon. If you run sesictrl with the "-h hostname" option, sesictrl will contact that host (specified by hostname) for the license information. Otherwise, it will query the local hserver as long as there is an hserver process running.

Usage: sesictrl [-h host] -I key_info
            Install a license manually

Usage: sesictrl [-h host] [-p host -P port] [-A <email> <password>] -L [<entitlement name> <quantity>]...
            Redeem license entitlements
            Email and password can be optionally specified with -A. Otherwise,
            prompts for a login.
            Entitlement name and quantity can be optionally specified.
            Otherwise, prompts for selection. For example, entitlement name
            and quantity can be:
                "Houdini FX" "1"
                "Houdini Core 17.5" "3"
                "Render 17.5" "all"
                "Houdini Core" "all"

Usage: sesictrl [-p host -P port] [-A <email> <password>] -d id
            Return a license for entitlements
            (Specify the 8 character license id listed by sesictrl -s.)
            Email and password can be optionally specified with -A. Otherwise,
            prompts for a login.

Usage: sesictrl [-h host] -r server_name server_id
            Remove server from license file

Usage: sesictrl [-h host] [options]
  -q        Shutdown the existing license manager
  -Q        Shutdown manager without prompting
  -e days   When listing keys, show only keys expiring within N days
  -a        When listing keys, show expired keys as well
  -i        Long List licenses
  -n        Generate server key
  -s        Short list of licenses
  -p host   Specify the http proxy host name for returning licenses.  If
            $HTTP_PROXY is set, you do not need to use this option.
  -P port   Specify the http proxy port for returning licenses.
  -R id     Relinquish a license, returning it to the pool
  -l file   Specify log file
  -v        Print sesinetd version
  -f        Generate diagnostic information
  -V level  Specify log level
                 0 = no logging
                 1 = errors
                 2 = messages
                 3 = info
                 4 = debug
  -z size   Specify maximum log file size
  -u file   Specify license log file
  -W level  Specify license log level
               0 = off
               1 = on
  -y size   Specify maximum license log file size

sesictrl typically communicates with a sesinetd running
on a remote host.  The -h option can be used to specify
the host to contact.  Otherwise, sesictrl will query the
hserver (if it's running) to find out what the license
host is.

Use sesictrl --help for more options.

Start/stop the license server

The license server is called sesinetd.

You must have "admin" rights (root, sudo) to be able to stop/start the license server.

If you initially installed Houdini using Apprentice Local Licensing, you will need to re-run the installer and choose Commercial Licensing. This will install the necessary license server tools (files).

Windows

You can start and stop the HoudiniLicenseServer in the Services area of Windows.

  1. Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
  2. The service HoudiniLicenseServer controls the license server program sesinetd.

Linux

  1. Run the sesinetd startup script located in /etc/init.d
  2. Usage: /etc/init.d/sesinetd {start|stop}

Mac

  1. Launch the Terminal from Utilities
  2. stop: sudo launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist
  3. start: sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist

If you receive an error saying /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist: No such file or directory, please reinstall Houdini and choose Commercial Licensing. This will install the necessary license server files.

When you restart the license server software on a centralized server machine, the remote clients will not lose their sessions for approximately 5 minutes of a failed heartbeat (or license check).

sesinetd (license server program)

To control the behavior of sesinetd:

The file that specifies the behaviour of sesinetd is named sesinetd.options. Put the following options in sesinetd.options

  • On Linux this file is located in /usr/lib/sesi
  • On Windows, this file must reside in C:\Windows\System32
  • On Mac, this file is in /Applications/Houdini/Houdini16.0.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/sbin
Usage: sesinetd [options]
To query information from a running license server process, use the
sesictrl application.
  Options:
    -v        Print version information
    -n count  Specify the number of threads to use for processing
    -l file   Specify log file
    -d        Append the current year and month to the log filename
    -V level  Specify log level
                 0 = no logging
                 1 = errors
                 2 = messages
                 3 = info
                 4 = debug
    -z size    Specify maximum log file size  [default: 1M]
               e.g. 0.5M = .5 Mb
                    32k  = 32 Kb
                    5000 = 5000 bytes
                    0 = 0 bytes (no maximum size)
    -u file   Specify license log file
    -W level  Specify license log level
                 0 = off
                 1 = on
    -y size    Specify maximum license log file size  [default: 1M]
               e.g. 0.5M = .5 Mb
                    32k  = 32 Kb
                    5000 = 5000 bytes
                    0 = 0 bytes (no maximum size)
    -m ipmask  Specify read IP mask.  Only clients whose address matches
               will be granted access to query the server.
    -M ipmask  Specify write IP mask.  Only clients whose address matches
               will be granted access to modify the server.
    -p port    Specify alternate port.
    -R pidfile Specify file to write its own pid to when started.

Note:  The read/write IP masks cannot be set after sesinetd has started
       The default read mask is  '+.*.*.*,192.168.*.*,10.*.*.*,172.*.*.*'
       The default write mask is '+.+.+.+'
hserver (client program)

The hserver client helper program communicates with the local or remote sesinetd (license server) program to acquire licenses. In a client/server model, hserver is the client and sesientd is the server.

For firewall rules:
hserver: TCP port 1714
sesinetd: TCP port 1715

Controlling hserver
A file can control the behaviour of hserver.
Linux/Mac OSX: hserver.opt
Windows: hserver.ini

Windows
The hserver.ini file is located:
C:\Program Files\Side Effects Software\Houdini17.5.xxx\houdini\hserver.ini

This file will need to be moved to C:\Windows\System32 to have an effect on hserver.

If you are trying to start hserver from the command line or Houdini Command Line tools, you cannot just type hserver for it to start. You have to use the "net start" and "net stop" command, assuming your terminal has sufficient privileges. So for hserver, that would be "net start HoudiniServer" and "net stop HoudiniServer" respectively.

Linux
The hserver.opt file is located:
/opt/hfs17.5.xxx/houdini/hserver.opt.

Mac
The hserver.opt file is located:
/Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.5.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/hserver.opt

How to use hserver

Note: Windows users if starting from the Command Line/Houdini Command Line you must use the net start/stop commands (see Windows section right above) to start the hserver service. Then you can pass options to it as usual.

Usage: hserver [options]

With the following options (or without any options), this will
start a houdini server (hserver) on the local host to allow remote
access by other houdini sessions (on remote hosts)

  Options:
    -d      Do not run as a daemon process (debug)
    -r N    Allow only N remote renders to run
    -t N    Use N threads for communication (default 6)
    -a pct  Load average to refuse remote tasks (0-101)
    -n      Allow only non-graphical licenses to be used
    -G      Allow only graphical licenses to be used
    -m mask Set the read-permission mask
    -M mask Set the write-permission mask
    -T N    Timeout in miliseconds on a socket read.
            If negative, reading from socket never times out.

The following options provide mechanisms to control or query a
running version of hserver (possibly on a remote machine)

  Options:
    -h host Optionally specify a remote host to query/control
    -q      Terminate the hserver daemon
    -l      Get load information about hserver
    -g      Relax strictness of non-graphical license distribution
    -p      Reload the hserver.opt options file
    -V      List all version specific mantra commands
    -S host Change the license server host string
    -K <id> Kill a task on the server.  If 'all' is specified,
            then all tasks running on the server will be killed.
    -P <id> Pause a task on the server
    -R <id> Resume a paused task on the server
    -H type N    Hold licenses of the given type for N seconds
                 If N is specified as -1, the license will be
                 held indefinitely.

Also see the hserver.opt file for more configuration options.

For more configuration options, see the hserver.opt file (on Windows, hserver.ini).

Setup client machine

The easiest setup will be to have a central license server with clients looking to that server for licenses. Workstation licenses are node locked licenses. They cannot be floated across the network. They are restricted to the machine installed on. Floating licenses are either LAL (Local Access License) or GAL (Global Access License).

Apprentice and Indie users are only issued workstation (node locked) licenses.

Please see our system requirements page to see what hardware and operating systems are supported.

The steps:

  1. Download Houdini onto the workstation.

  2. Install Houdini onto the workstation.

  3. Launch the License Administrator to have the client computer look to the license server

If you have setup a network license server, you don't have to install the licensing tools on the workstation as it will look to the remote server for a license.

You can use the License Administrator (hkey) on the client machine.

  1. Open the License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Go to File -> Change License Server
  3. Type the name of the machine that is serving the licenses

If you have setup the Houdini environment, you can tell server to look to the remote server:

hserver -S hostname

where hostname is the name of your license server

There is also a hidden file called .sesi_licenses.pref that you can place in your home directory. The contents will be:

serverhost=hostname

where the hostname will be the name of your server.

If you are looking to install licenses locally on the workstation, refer to License a workstation.

If the client is having issues connecting to the remote license server, please check the server firewall. Ensure that the licenses installed on the server have the correct network IP masks.

License a workstation

Apprentice and Indie users are only issued workstation (node locked) licenses. These cannot be floated across the network.

Commercial clients also may have purchased workstation (node locked) licenses. These cannot be floated across the network.

The steps:

  1. Download Houdini onto the workstation.

  2. Install Houdini onto the workstation.

  3. License the computer to run your Houdini product. The easiest method is described below:

By starting Houdini for the first time or without a license, you will be prompted to install either:

  • Apprentice (free) license
  • Paid License

To License Indie or a full Commercial product, choose Paid License. The Houdini License Administrator will launch.

  1. Choose the option Paid License.

  2. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On OSX there is no File menu option. On OSX, start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Enter your licensing login ID and the password. This will have been sent to you by licensemanager@sidefx.com

    • You will see a list of licenses to which you are entitled.
    • Enter Quantity 1 for each product when installing to the individual computer. Ensure to install a Render license if you wish to use Mantra.
  4. Press the Install button.

Return licenses

Returning licenses must be initiated by the computer itself. You cannot return licenses through your account on the website. You must use the License Administrator (hkey) or sesictrl.

When you return licenses, the licenses are unregistered from the computer name and hardware. They are then put back onto your SideFX licensing account as uninstalled license entitlements.

When you return a license, a disable code is calculated and written to your licenses file on the computer. The disable code is also recorded and added to your account. The License ID is then invalided.

To return a license, you must return the License ID itself.

There are 2 different ways to return a license:

Using the License Administrator

  1. Start License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Right-click on the license ID to return
  3. Select "Return License"
  4. Enter your email address and the password provided to you by Side Effects Software

Using the sesictrl command line tool

To set up the Houdini command line environment, please refer here..

  1. Run sesictrl -s to get a list of installed licenses (the first column is the license ID)
  2. Run sesictrl -d license-id for license to be returned
  3. Enter your email address and password when prompted

Note: If you have a license with multiple tokens and you only want to return a few of them, you must return them all and then re-redeem the ones you want. This is because you must return the entire License ID. One License ID may have many tokens(licenses) associated with it.

Upgrade licenses

Upgrades are provided to those Commercial licenses with an active support contract (AUP).

Once a new point version of Houdini is released, you will be notified of your upgrades. You will need to install the upgrades to your existing licenses if you would like to use the new point release of Houdini.

For example, if you have Houdini 17.0 licenses and would like to run Houdini 17.5, it is not enough that you install the Houdini 17.5 software. You will have to install the upgrades to your existing 17.0 licenses. Those licenses will need to be upgraded to 17.5.

You will be able to run older versions of Houdini with 17.5 licenses (17.0 and older).

You should be able to install 17.5 upgrades onto a 17.0/16.5/16.0 license server. It is, however, recommended to upgrade the license server software to 17.5.

Download and install the latest Production Build or the latest Daily Build.

To upgrade licenses:

  1. Launch the License Administrator on the machine with the licenses to be upgraded.

  2. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On Mac OSX there is no File menu option. Start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Enter your email and password used for Houdini licensing. If you are having problems logging into your account through the License Administrator, please see the section I can't log into the License Administrator.

  4. Press the Install button. Note if you don't want to upgrade everything at once, make sure to type 0 in the Quantity box of the License IDs you do not wish to upgrade. No licenses are uninstalled during this process. This will only upgrade the License IDs which have been selected.

This process will generate the keystrings and install your upgrades. The keystrings will be automatically written to the licenses file on the machine.

Problems

Sometimes the upgrade keystrings do not get written to the locally installed licenses file but show as redeemed on your account on the web portal. If this is the case, you can manually install the keystrings using the License Administrator. The upgrade keystrings will begin with the word UPGRADE (in all capital letters).

For example:

This is an upgrade keystring to upgrade from 17.0 to 17.5

UPGRADE 3e6d2c49 17.0 17.5 735c45f6 WwkCSHzzEHKIPdfWll7f2hRRjZWugeFx0ySrtalsAECN@cARK6oKmf2

Should you have any issues installing your upgrades, please contact support@sidefx.com

Move licenses to another computer

If you need to move your licenses to a different machine, follow the section How do I return my licenses? to return your license back to your account at Side Effects Software.

Returning the License ID will unregister the products (keystrings) from the computer name and hardware and they will be put back into your account as unredeemed entitlements which can then be installed to a different system. You may then redeem the licenses as normal onto the new machine.

Each time you return a License ID, that License ID's Return Count will be reduced by 1. All License IDs have a default Return Count of 3. If you need to reset this counter please contact support@sidefx.com

Extend licenses

Once finance has confirmed payment for your temporary licenses, you will be issued extensions to the full term listed on your invoice. Once the extensions have been installed, the new expiry date should be listed on the installed licenses.

To extend your license expiry date

  1. Launch the License Administrator on the machine with the licenses to be upgraded.

  2. Select File->Install Licenses (Windows/Linux).

    • On Mac OSX there is no File menu option. Start the License Administrator and go to the License Administrator menu (top left) and select Install Licenses.
  3. Enter your email and password used for Houdini licensing. If you are having problems logging into your account through the License Administrator, please see the section I can't log into the License Administrator.

  4. Press the Install button.

This process will generate the keystrings and install your license extensions. The keystrings will be written to the licenses file on the machine automatically. Your licenses should have a new expiry date.

Problems

Sometimes the extension keystrings do not get written to the locally installed licenses file but show as redeemed on your account on the web portal. If this is the case, you can manually install the keystrings using the License Administrator. The extension keystrings will begin with the word EXTEND (in all capital letters).

For example:

This is an extension keystring to extend the license rental from March 14, 2019 to March 14, 2020

EXTEND 3e6d2c49 13-mar-2019 13-mar-2020 915f251a bd8a7ee103745dafb6ad98b3f5b27e0da656c509c0819

Should you have any issues installing your expiry date extensions, please contact support@sidefx.com

Firewall setup

The following TCP/IP ports are used for Houdini

  • HoudiniLicenseServer (sesientd): TCP port 1715
  • HoudiniServer (hserver): TCP port 1714

To test port connectivity to the license server port

Windows

Open the PowerShell and type the name or the IP address of the license server.

If you have Apprentice, Indie or Commercial workstation licenses, the license server/IP address will be your local machine. If you connect to a remote license server, you will use that machine name or IP address.

Test-NetConnection license-server-name-or-IP -Port 1715

If the client program HoudiniServer (hserver) cannot communicate with the HoudiniLicneseServer(sesinetd) you will see a message similar to:

WARNING: TCP connect to computer-or-IP:1715 failed

Linux or OSX

If you have Apprentice, Indie or Commercial workstation licenses, the license server/IP address will be your local machine. If you connect to a remote license server, you will use that machine name or IP address.

In a Terminal type:

nc -v license-server-name-or-IP 1715

If the client program HoudiniServer (hserver) can communicate with the HoudiniLicneseServer(sesinetd) you will see a message similar to:

Connection to computer-name 1715 port [tcp/*] succeeded!

HTTP Proxy

The Houdini License Administrator can be told to use an HTTP proxy to access the internet if your site is configured this way.

  1. Find out your HTTP proxy host name and port by looking at your web browser's settings
  2. Select File -> Preferences... in the License Administrator
  3. Turn on the toggle to use an HTTP proxy, and enter the proxy host name and port

These settings will be saved for the next time you use the License Administrator.

If you require a login to use Proxy at your site, the HTTP Proxy in the License Administrator will not work. You will need to follow the section How do I install licenses without Internet Access.

Licensing across networks (including VPN)

Ensure that your license IP masks are set to match your network type (class B, class C, or a specific list of subnets). If not, contact support@sidefx.com. They will instruct you to return your licenses so that they can be rekeyed.

Obtaining licenses requires two processes. One being the actual "checkout" of the license, which is handled by the IP mask of the license installed. The second being the ability to read from the license server itself. This is controlled by the sesinetd.options file on the license server.

This file should contain the following:

-V 2 -z 250000 -m

plus any other options that you would like (all on one line)

For example:

A site has two separate subnets 192.168.*.* and 10.1.*.*

The sesinetd.options file on the license server would contain:

-V 2 -z 250000 -m 192.168.*.*,10.1.*.*

This would allow clients on both subnets to checkout the license (through the IP mask in the keystring) and to read from the license server (through the sesinetd.options file).

The sesinetd.options file is located:

  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Windows: C:\Windows\System32 (note that this file needs to be created first and placed here)
  • Mac: /Applications/Houdini/Houdini16.0.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/sbin

For more information about controlling the behaviour of sesinetd, please refer to the question "What kind of options are available to sesinetd?"

Remote administration of the license server

The license server can be remotely administered by one machine, group of machines or by any machine on a network, depending on the setup. This is controlled by the sesinetd.options file on the license server with the -M option.

For example: To allow any machine on the 192.168.*.* network to administer the license server, the sesinetd.options file could look like this

-V 2 -z 250000 -M 192.168.*.*

Allow one machine to administer the license server:

-V 2 -z 250000 -M 192.168.50.217

Allow a few machines to administer the license server:

-V 2 -z 250000 -M 192.168.50.217,192.168.50.215

Allow machines from different subnets to administer the license server:

-V 2 -z 250000 -m 192.168.50.*,10.0.1.* -M 192.168.50.217,10.0.1.41

Allow all machines on each subnet to administer the license server:

-V 2 -z 250000 -m 192.168.50.*,10.0.1.* -M 192.168.50.*,10.0.1.*

Allow only machines on one subnet to administer the license server:

-V 2 -z 250000 -m 192.168.50.*,10.0.1.* -M 10.0.1.*

The sesinetd.options file is located:

Windows: C:\Windows\System32 (note that this file needs to be created first and placed here)

Linux: /usr/lib/sesi

Mac: /Applications/Houdini/Houdini16.0.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/sbin

For more information about controlling the behaviour of sesinetd, please refer to the question What kind of options are available to sesinetd?.

The -m option is needed if there are different subnets requiring the checkout of licenses. Please refer to the question How do I use my licenses across my network subnets?

Setup License Server Logging

If you would like to be able to have a log of license activity or to debug a problem you may have with the license server, you can setup logging on the license server.

Windows

  1. Create a file named sesinetd.options in C:\Windows\system32\
  2. Enter the following options in sesinetd.options: -V 2 -z 25000000 -l C:\sesinetd.log
  3. Restart the HoudiniLicenseServer service
    Refer to the section "How do I start and stop the License Server".

The above will put the logfile in C:\.

You can set the logfile to a different location.

Linux

  • Logging is setup automatically. The file is /var/log/sesinetd.log.

Mac

  • Edit the sesinetd.options file located in:

    /Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.5.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/sbin
    
  • Append the location of the logfile you wish to use (ie. /var/log/sesinetd.log) to the existing line in the file

Install licenses without Internet access

If you do not have internet access from the machine running Houdini, you will need to use a second machine with internet access to acquire your licenses.

  1. From the license server machine, run the License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Click on the Server Information tab and record the server name and server code
  3. From the machine with internet access, log into : https://www.sidefx.com/services/licenses/ using your SideFX website login (you may need to link it with your licensing login).
  4. You will see a full license history for your account
  5. Click on "Redeem License Entitlements" and enter quantities beside the licenses to redeem
  6. Select an existing server from the list of server names and server codes, or add a new server by entering the server name and server code. Make sure that you choose the correct Server to redeem the licenses to!
  7. Click on Redeem Entitlement
  8. You should now have the keystrings at the top of the web browser page.
    Save the license keystrings to a file
    A keystring begins with the word SERVER, LICENSE, INCREMENT, UPGRADE, or EXTEND
  9. From the license server machine, open the License Administrator (hkey)
  10. Select File -> Manually Enter Keys...
  11. Copy and Paste each key either from the web browser or from your saved file into a text box using Ctrl+V and press OK

Make sure you copy the entire keystring. Failing to do so will cause Houdini not to function.

Each keystring needs to be entered on a separate line in the License Administrator GUI.

A new keystring begins at the keyword: SERVER, LICENSE, INCREMENT, UPGRADE or EXTEND.

Manually install licenses

From the license server machine (or from a client that has write-access to the license server):

  1. Open the License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Select File -> Manually Enter Keys...
  3. Copy and Paste each keystring into a text box using Ctrl+V and press OK

Make sure you copy the entire keystring. Failing to do so will cause Houdini not to function.

Each keystring needs to be entered on a separate line in the License Administrator GUI.

A new keystring begins at the keyword: SERVER, LICENSE, INCREMENT, UPGRADE or EXTEND.

Reinstall licenses

Sometimes the licenses file may get deleted, the disk may get reformatted, or the operating system may get reinstalled. In such cases, the licenses will be removed from the computer. To reinstall the licenses, the computer name must be the same as the original name for which the licenses have been issued. Then you can use License Administrator to reinstall the lost keys.

  1. Open the License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Select File -> Install Licenses
  3. Log in
  4. In the dialog click on the "Licenses" tab
  5. Select the checkboxes for the licenses that you want to reinstall (this table lists all the missing non-expired licenses that match your computer name)
  6. Select the checkbox to reinstall the SERVER key as well (just in case it is missing too)
  7. Press Install button

This should reinstall the selected licenses on your computer. If you don't have the internet connection, you will need to reinstall the licenses by manually entering the keys.

Reinstall the SERVER key

Sometimes the SERVER key may become invalid if you change the computer name or upgrade your hardware. Changing the computer name is not advisable unless all the licenses have been returned. Most common reason for invalid SERVER key, then, is hardware upgrade that changes the server code (server id).

To install a new valid SERVER key for your computer, please follow these steps:

  1. Open the License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Select File -> Install Licenses
  3. Log in
  4. In the dialog box click on the "Licenses" tab
  5. Select the checkbox to reinstall the SERVER key
  6. Press Install button

This should reinstall the new SERVER key for your computer.

How to run sesinetd on a different TCP port

As of Houdini 17.0 you can run the license server on a different port than the default 1715.

You will need to specify the port number in the sesinetd.options file.

Clients connect to the license server with host:portnumber

For example, add the -p option to the existing sesinetd.options file (or create one if there is none).

-V 2 -z 1048576  -m +.+.*.*,192.168.*.*,10.*.*.*,172.*.*.* -p 27056

Note your -m switch may be different if running a custom subnet mask in your keystrings. In this example we are listing the default LAL subnets.

You will need to restart the HoudiniLicenseServer service (sesinetd) for it to listen on the new port.

The client machine will then use the License Administrator to connect to the server name:port or use hserver to make the change:

hserver -S servername:27056

Redundant license server

Unfortunately we do not support a redundant server setup.

If you have a virtual machine (vm) for the license server, you can create a clone. You can then take the clone offline and spin up in the event of a failure.

Add a DNS SRV record

A Service record (SRV record) may be added to your internal DNS system for client machines to automatically find the name and port of the Houdini License server.

Example

_sesi-lm._tcp   IN      SRV     0 0 1715 licenseserver.yourdomain.com.

Often facilities will setup a DNS CNAME for the license server as well.

Mplay licensing

You may run unlimited instances of Mplay as long as you have 1 valid Houdini product license (Houdini FX, Houdini, Houdini Engine).

Running older Houdini versions

Houdini is backwards compatible. Older versions of Houdini will run with the most recent license.

For example, if you have a Houdini 17.5 license, you will be able to open Houdini 17.5 and older (17.0, 16.5, 16.0 etc...).

If installing older versions of Houdini, make sure to not install the licensing component as it will overwrite the latest licensing mechanism. You will need to have the latest license server software and licenses. Installing older versions will overwrite this.

If you do overwrite the latest licensing software then you just have to reinstall the latest Houdini version again.

Common Licensing Problems

Please refer to Common Licensing Problems for help with licensing issues.

Silent install/uninstall

For silent installs run the installer with /? for documentation:

houdini-17.5.xxx-win64.exe /?

The /Registry option ("Yes" or "No", default "Yes") controls whether or not the installer will create Registry keys when installing Houdini. This mostly impacts whether or not the version of Houdini will show up in the Add/Remove Programs list.

It is recommended to use the defaults unless you have specific needs, such as installing Houdini on a shared network path. You cannot cannot define the "License Server Path" with the /Registry option.

To set the License Server

Linux and Mac:

There is an environment variable called SESI_LMHOST to set the license server

Windows:

The best solution is to modify the registry:

reg add "hklm\software\Side Effects Software\Houdini" /v ~LicenseServer /t reg_sz /d server-name /f

To uninstall:

Run the uninstall.exe located in Program Files -> Side Effects Software -> houdini 17.5.xxx.

Type /? for options

Type /S for silent.

Generate license diagnostic information

Using the License Administrator (hkey)

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Under the View menu, select "Diagnostic Information"
  3. Save the file and attach it in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com

Using sesictrl (non-graphical hkey)

  1. Launch the Houdini environment or directly call sesictrl from the installation location
  2. sesictrl -f > file or ./sesictrl -f file
    • for example: sesictrl -f > diagnostic.txt
  3. Save the file and attach it in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com
Contacting support

If you are experiencing difficulties with any part of the licensing process or have questions/issues with Houdini:

  1. Start the Houdini License Administrator (hkey)
  2. Under the View menu, select "Diagnostic Information"
  3. Save the file and attach it in an email addressed to support@sidefx.com

If you are running a headless (non-graphical) system, please refer Generate license diagnostic information.

You may also refer to Common Licensing Problems.