Archicad license management for homeoffice

When I was writing my previous blog about home usage of Archicad I didn’t know certain facts, like that Graphisoft has decided to offer 60 days of free Bimcloud service starting on Monday 23th. And I thus considered the easiest way to get the work done to be via either remote desktop or VPN. And that may still hold true in some cases, mostly those outlined in the previous article. However, for bigger teams, it makes more sense now to move to GS new BIMcloud offering. In doing that there is one problem that still may need addressing and that is licenses.

Those with hardware keys for each workstation are off the hook as they just need to take their key and plug it to their home machine. 

We can also request the emergency key from our local reseller, but that will only last us thirty days. We can assume that a second emergency key can be obtained after that period will be over, however, there are other limitations – is it not possible to transfer that license between computers. 

For the rest of us, we can achieve a similar result with a bit more flexibility with our License manager tool.

Here is what you need: 

1) Computer with Wibu (green) or Codemeter (Sliver) key plugged in and Graphisoft License Manager Tool (LMT) installed and internet connection. You may have no key, in that case, any computer with working Archicad and LMT will do. 

2) Graphisoft ID – your company should already have one, and this ID should be authenticated – meaning you have received an authentification code from your local reseller and thus paired your Archicad purchases with your online ID. If you don’t have one, then the ID can be obtained and the authentification process can be completed at https://graphisoftid.graphisoft.com/

Preparation

Now, let’s start by preparing everything at the office: It is best that all elements in ongoing teamwork projects are released and changes sent to the BIMcloud. It is now also a good opportunity to go to help>about Archicad and take down note of version and build used. Then shut down, all Archicads in the office to free up licenses to avoid further problems.

Now move to the computer with your key plugged in. (Those of you with no key at all, just open LMT on any computer with working Archicad) It may prompt you to update LMT or some of the key drivers before you go any further, so do that if asked. Once done, start LMT again and click Continue.

Now sign in with your Graphisoft ID.

LicenseManagerTool.1.09.1.png

License management

Once signed in you may need to do some housekeeping and update some of your licenses. With that out of the way, you should see at least one or possibly more icons in the top window. Those are places where you can store your licenses – Computer means a software key(s) downloaded to the local machine, then there are two kinds of USB stick icons – those are for Wibu and Codemeter hardware keys and lastly, there should be a picture of a cloud for online license pool of software keys. You may see some of them, all of them or just one, depending on your set-up.

Each of those icons represents a storage option for your license keys. By clicking on each of those icons the bottom window will reveal what content (how many keys and to which versions of Archicad and related products) can be found on that key. For our purpose, we need to have our licenses for home use in the cloud, so we can download them later.

If that is the case, then great, let’s move to section down below marked at home

If we have our licenses on the local computer then the solution is easy, we just select that license with the computer image next to it and click the Upload button underneath. That license will be added to our online pool. 

We may need to repeat this process with LMT on other machines in the office if they also have their keys downloaded, but that is a rare case of key management, mostly used with laptops.

We may also have one or more of our licenses on our hardware keys if that is the case we need to convert them to software keys first. To do this step we need to contact our reseller and request Key replacement.

Once they agree, we can go back to LMT, make sure we are logged in, select the hardware key with our licenses in the top window, and click the button “Start Key Replacement” underneath the bottom window. A dialog box will appear, let’s check if we selected the correct source key and select “cloud” company license poll as a target. Changes then can be applied by choosing Start replacement. Afterward, we are prompted to remove the key from the machine. We may want to repeat this procedure for our other keys.

 

Now we have our key(s) in the cloud and can finally go home. 

At home

Once we arrive at home, we will wash our hands 🙂 Seriously 😉

At home, we can install Archicad and LMT form downloads page at the Graphisoft website if we hadn’t already. We should install the same build we had previously taken note of at the office. Once we have done that we can go ahead and once again open LMT. Here we need to log in with our company ID. The only source of licenses available at this point should be the “cloud” our online license pool. Here we should select one license and download it to our home computer as shown in the picture.

If we need to return this license later we can do that in a similar way.

To learn more in-depth about license management for Archicad, visit License manager Tool user guide from where all of the pictures used in this tutorial were stolen. If you are still stuck feel free to reach out to me, I am on twitter as @skawagon

 

Archicad and corona pandemic

As the disease spreads around Europe, many governments and individuals alike take measures to stay safe. Quarantine, social distancing, and a home office thus may be a good way to stay safe during this difficult time.

As London – based marketing genius Rory Sutherland remarked the other day on twitter: “Working patterns during the Coronavirus outbreak (videoconferencing, working from home, canceling events) may be no less productive than normal. They simply reflect what the business world would do naturally if it weren’t dominated by bloody extroverts” Now we can put that theory to test. Luckily if you are working with ArchiCAD you may have several options for remote work at your fingertips.

Your options vary depending on how your office utilizes Archicad and what kind of license you have. It is possible to take even a floating license for a server poll and use it for long periods of time outside the office. Archicad can then be downloaded and installed directly from Graphisoft’s website.  But you may not even need to do that.
The other consideration is whether your office uses teamwork or not.

Even if you only have Start edition of AC or just don’t use teamwork at all, you still have a choice: you can either share *.pla or *.pln files trough services like Dropbox, One drive or FTP. This is the simplest method that will work with files up to several GB large and in case of Dropbox comes with the added benefit of creating back copies of previous stages of your project. If you only work one person at a file at the time, this may be a simple way to carry on. The only downside is that you need to have your license key/ borrowed license at home with you.

Another option that presents itself is using remote desktop via an application like Anydesk or Teamviewer – this solution is especially beneficial if you have significantly more powerful computer at work than at home, need access to other software or need access to various other files located at your computer or company server. In this case, you don’t need to worry about license keys either.

However, if you have “big” Archicad and don’t use BimCloud yet, there are several reasons for trying it out:
1) you can collaborate with your colleagues, annotate and send messages and views to each other right from within the app.
2) It is really easy to set-up
3) you have already paid for it.
If you want to deploy BimCloud for the first time or just gain more information on the topic, visit Graphisoft Helpcenter at https://helpcenter.graphisoft.com/category/working-in-teamwork/install-and-setup-bimcloud/

If you are already a BimCloud user, now is a good time to think about which way you want to access your server.

You can still use remote desktop, and it will eliminate potential problems with license borrowing or the data preparation. If you use physical HW keys for each copy of Archicad, then you may need to either pick-up your key from the office or borrow license using the Licence manager.

Another popular option is setting up a VPN between your office and home computer. In this case, your workplace needs to have a Public IP address (well, you can use a VPN service that provides such address but those are usually paid or slow, or more often than not – both). If you have a working VPN, then most of the battle is done, the only thing you are left to do is to properly release all reserved elements on your work computer and log out from your Archicad account. Now you can join the project on your home computer. Using this method with a floating license should be the same as if you were in the office.

Lastly, it is possible to configure BimCloud so it is accessible over the internet, the requirements are similar as if you are setting up a VPN: You need a public IP address or a domain name, you also need to set-up a port forwarding on a router in your office. This option is more vulnerable as the communication is not secured and it is needed you either have your physical key or borrow it via LMtool beforehand.

Whichever way you choose, I hope this article was helpful in getting you at speed in what the options are and will help you stay safe. If you have any problems with your license or setup, contact your reseller, visit helpcenter.graphisoft.com, or write to the community https://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/

 

EDIT:

Obtaining an Archicad license form your office may be difficult or impossible in some cases without physical access to the computer with a license key. It is, however, possible to obtain an emergency license (Archicad 17 and up) from your reseller. In this case, you have to contact your reseller who will provide you with a license code that you can use with your copy of Archicad at home. However, there are some limitations: This license will work only for thirty days and cannot be transferred to another computer. More on the topic here: https://helpcenter.graphisoft.com/knowledgebase/126805/

 

EDIT2:

Graphisoft has launched a web page dedicated to the current situation at the address: https://www.graphisoft.com/covid-19/ most newsworthy is a fact that the company will be in the next days rolling out sixty days of free BimCloud service to its costumers, eliminating many headaches with set-up for remote work.