Deadline Licensing

Overview

While Deadline ships with many different applications and features, only the following require a license:

  • Slave: This application is responsible for processsing render jobs.
  • Balancer: This application is used to start and stop virtual instances based on the render job load.
  • Draft/Quick Draft and Jigsaw: Draft and Quick Draft can be used to perform compositing operations or create movies from rendered images, and Jigsaw is a flexible multi-region rendering system for Deadline.

Tools like the Monitor and submission interfaces do not require a license, which means that you can submit and monitor your render jobs from as many machines as you like without additional licenses.

Please see our Licensing FAQs for more information, or contact Thinkbox Sales if you have any questions regarding Deadline licensing.

Slave Licensing

Starting with Deadline 8, there are now three licensing models that are supported for the Deadline Slave:

License-Free Mode

License-Free Mode allows you to run up to two Deadline Slaves without requiring a license. This is useful if you want to test Deadline on a couple of machines before deploying to your entire farm, or if you simply have one or two extra machines that you would like to utilize for rendering. In other words, two Deadline render nodes are completely free of charge!

In order for License-Free Mode to work, only two Deadline Slave instances can exist in your farm. These Slave instances can be on separate machines, or on the same machine. If a third Slave is added to the farm, you will then need a valid license for each Slave intance, including the first two that were originally free. If you accidentally add a third Slave instance, you will need to delete one from the Deadline Monitor before License-Free Mode can work again (even if one or more of the Slave instances are offline).

The licensing information is displayed in the Slave Panel in the Monitor and appears in the Slave UI like this:

../_images/licensing_free_mode_slave.png

Note that the Balancer application, as well as Draft, Quick Draft, and Jigsaw, are NOT available in License-Free Mode. Please see our Licensing FAQs for more information.

Further note that if Deadline is configured to use Floating Licensing or Usage Based Licensing, it will only use License-Free Mode if those other licensing methods fail.

Traditional Floating Licensing

The traditional floating license model involves acquiring permanent or temporary licenses from Thinkbox Sales, and running the floating license server on your network. One floating license is required per render node. So, if you have 50 render nodes, you will require 50 floating licenses.

In addition, if you are running multiple Slaves on the same Operating System (OS), they will share the same Deadline license. For example, if you have 10 render nodes, and half are running 1 Slave and half are running 2 Slaves, you still only need 10 Deadline licenses.

However, if you create a Virtual Machine (VM) on a render node, and run one or more Slaves on the host OS, and one or more Slaves on the VM OS, two Deadline licenses will be required for that render node - one for each OS instance running on it. If you do this for all 10 render nodes in the above example, 20 Deadline licenses would be required.

../_images/licensing_floating_diagram.png

This licensing model is still the recommended option for render nodes that are active the majority of the time. For example, it is more cost-effective to purchase permanent floating licenses for dedicated render nodes on a local render farm that are typically rendering more often than not.

Once you have your floating Deadline licenses, see the License Server Documentation for more information on installing and configuring the License Server. Please note the minimum system requirements for your License Server and your Flexlm license server MUST be at least version 11.12 or later. The latest Thinkbox Flexlm License Server can be downloaded from our website.

When the License Server is up and running, the next step is to configure the Slaves to communicate with it. There are a handful of ways to set the License Server for the Slaves:

  • During the Client Installation: When installing the Deadline Client applications, select “Standard” when you are prompted to choose a License Mode. You will then be prompted to enter a License Server in the following screen.
  • Using the Launcher: If you have already installed the Deadline Client applications, start the Launcher (if it is not already running). Right-click the launchericon icon in your system tray or notification area, and select the Change License Server option in the Launcher menu.
  • In the Client Configuration file: You may manually set the License Server in the Client Configuration file by changing the LicenseServer setting. It is also possible to configure this setting using Auto Configuration to deploy it to each Slave in your farm.

In each case, the License Server entry should be in the format @SERVER, where SERVER is the host name or IP address of the machine that the license server is running on. If you configured your license server to use a specific port, you can use the format PORT@SERVER. For example, @lic-server or 27008@lic-server.

The licensing information is displayed in the Slave Panel in the Monitor and appears in the Slave UI like this:

../_images/licensing_permanent_slave.png

After setting up your license server, if you are still seeing the Slave appear as being in License-Free Mode, please view the Slave Logs for a detailed error message.

The Slave will check for a license periodically, whenever it is ready to dequeue a task. If the License Server goes offline, or a Slave loses its connection to it while it is rendering a task for a job, it will be allowed to finish rendering the task before it checks for a license again. It will not be able to pick up new tasks until it is successfully checks out a license again, but the job it was rendering will not be canceled.

Note that there is a 15 minute grace period between when a Slave loses its connection, and when it is considered to be offline. That is, if it has been at least 15 minutes since a Slave last connected to the License Server, the License Server will free up the license that the Slave was using. Likewise, if the Slave goes 15 minutes without being able to connect to the License Server, it will go into unlicensed mode.

Usage Based Licensing

The Usage Based Licensing model allows you to pre-pay for on-demand render time by the hour by visiting the Thinkbox Marketplace. After purchasing render time, the render nodes will consume this render time on a per-minute basis, and they will ONLY do so while they are rendering jobs (they will not consume this render time when they are idle or offline). So, if you purchased 24 hours of render time, you could render with 1 render node for a day, 2 render nodes for half a day, 12 render nodes for 2 hours, etc.

Not only is Usage Based Licensing available to license Deadline, is can also be used to license select 3rd party products when using Deadline to render them. See the 3rd Party Usage Based Licensing documentation for more information.

Note that unlike Traditional Floating Licenses, Usage Based Licensing for Deadline and 3rd party products is consumed on a per-Slave basis. For example if you have 2 Slaves on the same machine each render a task over a 5 minute period, you will consume 10 minutes of Deadline render time.

../_images/licensing_cls_diagram.png

This licensing model is recommended for render nodes that are utilized on a temporary basis. For example:

  • Cloud-based render nodes. If you use them to expand your on-premise render farm, you’ll only use Usage Based Licensing for the time they spend rendering, just like you’ll only pay your cloud provider for the time that your instances are running.
  • On-premise rental machines. If you bring in 50 physical machines for 3 days, it could be more cost effective for them to use Usage Based Licensing, rather than rent floating licenses for the week.
  • Artist workstations. If artists add their machines to the farm periodically, it could be more cost effective for them to use Usage Based Licensing, rather than purchasing permanent licenses for them.

The licensing information is displayed in the Slave Panel in the Monitor and appears in the Slave UI like this:

../_images/licensing_usage_based_slave.png

After setting up usage based licensing, if you are still seeing the Slave appear as being in License-Free Mode, view the Slave Logs for a detailed error message.

As mentioned above, it’s often benefical to combine Usage Based Licensing with the existing Floating licenses you already have in place. Note that there are three different ways to consume Usage Based Licensing, which are described below. See the Usage Based Licensing Documentation for more information.

Hybrid Licensing

Note that Traditional Floating Licensing and Usage Based Licensing are not exclusive of each other, which means that they can be used separately or together, across local, remote, or cloud-based render nodes. Here is an example of how traditional floating and usage based licensing models can be used together in a hybrid farm.

../_images/licensing_hybrid_diagram.png

Balancer Licensing

The Balancer is licensed by an additional FlexLM FEATURE deadline-balancer in your Thinkbox license file. While this extra license is required, it is free for users with an active Deadline annual support and maintenance contract. When updating your Deadline license file, please ensure that you also update your version of Balancer where applicable.

Note that the Balancer is NOT available when running in License-Free Mode, or if your Deadline annual support contract has expired. In addition, it is currently NOT available with Usage Based Licensing.

Draft/Quick Draft and Jigsaw Licensing

Draft and Quick Draft are both licensed by the same, additional FlexLM FEATURE draft in your Thinkbox license file. Jigsaw also requires a Draft license in order to assemble the final image after all regions have finished rendering. While this extra license is required, it is free for users with an active Deadline annual support and maintenance contract. When updating your Deadline license file, please ensure that you also update your version of Draft where applicable.

A Draft license is only checked out when it is used to encode or decode videos. All other Draft features, including Jigsaw assemly, simply requires the license FEATURE to exist. A Draft Pro license (FEATURE draft-pro-codec) is ONLY required if you are encoding to the 3rd party Avid DNxHD codec.

Note that Draft, Quick Draft, and Jigsaw assembly is NOT available when running in License-Free Mode, or if your Deadline annual support contract has expired. In addition, they are currently NOT available with Usage Based Licensing.