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S E N T I N E L
ASE Civil’s Internal License Manager
ASE Civil comes with its own internal license management feature. ‘Sentinel’ is integrated directly into the design and production systems that make up the core of the application. Regardless of whether the client is using a standalone workstation license or a shared, concurrent-use network license platform, ‘Sentinel’ will always be actively monitoring the licensing status of the computer. ‘Sentinel’ is a critical component for maintaining proper copyrights compliance by each authorized user of the application.
HOW IT WORKS
Each time a command is invoked in ASE Civil, ‘Sentinel’ is called to ensure that the user is authorized to use the program. Work Session authorization is provided by a validation process that is driven by the systematic control and execution of a sequence of subroutine calls that collect information stored within the Windows registry keys and uses it to validate, monitor and manage the collaborative, external licensing assignments. The local computer system identification information is established during the installation of ASE Civil Design Software. The registry information establishes the identity of the computer system currently running ASE Civil.
In a workstation licensing environment, the validation process ensures that the operating environment conforms to the specifications contained within the client license file located in the ASE Civil install folder. Additionally, the workstation platform checks to ensure that there are no network licenses running concurrently within the same networked environment, provided the computer is connected to a network.
In a network license platform of ASE Civil, ‘Sentinel’s workload is considerably larger, however it does not degrade system performance. A brief, literal, generalized description of the license management procedure is as follows:
(1) The user issues an ASE Civil command from the menu, the ribbon or a program toolbar.
(2) ‘Sentinel’ collects the identity of the local system.
(3) ‘Sentinel’ checks to see if the computer system has been permanently authorized.
(4) Assuming the system has been permanently authorized, the address (Client’s network UNC) of the license management folder is read from the client information file.
(5) ‘Sentinel’ ensures that the license management folder is present.
(6) ‘Sentinel’ searches for and opens an ASCII text file having a specific name.
(7) ‘Sentinel’ reads the file contents and resolves the data inside to determine whether or not the current command can be run based on the authorization information in the client license file.
(8) If legal authority is validated then ‘Sentinel’ checks for license availability.
(9) If there is at least one license available according to the ASCII file data, ‘Sentinel’ assigns that license to the current user if it has not already been assigned.
(10) If all licenses are in use, ‘Sentinel’ checks to see if one of the licenses currently occupied by another system has expired due to inactivity.
(11) If a license is in need by another user and there is one occupied but inactive, ‘Sentinel’ removes the inactive user’s credentials and assigns the license to the current computer system requesting a license.
(12) If any changes are made to the licensing configuration, the ASCII file is re-opened and modified with the updated information.
(13) After the validation process is complete, the command originally invoked by the user is run to completion if a license is actively assigned to the computer system.
Although this procedure sounds very complex and time-consuming, all of these steps are executed in a few milliseconds.
The image is linked to a flowchart that provides a visual description of the license validation process described in the previous list. Clicking on the image will redirect you to the full-size diagram
(1) Although AutoCAD and Civil 3D are various operating systems, ‘Sentinel’ can only function within a Microsoft Windows operating system environment.
(2) When using the network platform of ASE Civil, the client must provide a UNC (a network address on the local server). The client UNC must be readable and writable by all ASE users. It is not necessary for the user to actually ‘see’ or have the ability to use a file manager application such as “My Computer” or “Windows Explorer” to browse to the folder and view the contents of the folder. The visibility property of the specified client UNC is actually discouraged to prevent corruption of the ASCII file used for license management and distribution. This file is the central object used for license management by ASE Civil and should never be manually edited in any way nor should it be erased to attempt to override licensing or system timeout specifications. Manual changes made to the ‘Sentinel’ license file is a direct violation of the legally-binding licensing agreement which authorizes clients to use the software.
(3) ‘Sentinel’ will not re-create the ASCII control file, so the IT manager will need to manually re-create the file using the program-specific, case-sensitive name required by ASE Civil.
(4) System ‘Timeouts’ cannot be forcefully overridden by closing AutoCAD or Civil 3D. Once a license is acquired the time-length specified in the client file must expire first.
The system ‘TimeOut’ was designed to allow a user of ASE Civil to take a break without losing a license. The default value provided by the developer is set to 45 minutes. The ‘TimeOut’ cannot be adjusted by the client. Modifications can only be made by a direct request to the developer.
 In later versions of ASE Civil, for the purpose of streamlining the application’s functionality and enhancing the efficiency of the overall client productivity by reducing the demand placed on the corporation’s workflow through optimization of network traffic associated with integration and implantation of ASE civil, a time delay system was developed and integrated. The specified value for the time delay places a gap between calls to the license validation procedure if the user-invoked command requests occur within a specific time range
 This system is currently in the process of being phased out. Completion of this change to the license management system will eventually allow both networked and workstation versions of ASE Civil to coexist on the same networked environment.