Studio Facility FAQs


What do I need to provide for my licenses?

Nothing. All we need is a valid email address for your licensing login and for you to receive licensing notifications.

We do not require a MAC address or Host ID like other vendors.

You will be provided with a license entitlement to your account.

An entitlement is a "voucher" for a license(s) that you are entitled to install on any of your machines. An entitlement may be for a new license, or an extension/upgrade/change of IP to an existing installed license.

Entitlements are transformed into licenses when you log into the licensing system and "redeem" or claim them. When you redeem or install an entitlement, you bind it to a specific license server machine and you turn it into a license tied to that computer. It is at this point that the keystrings are generated and installed to your local machine.

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

Setup a network license server

When choosing a machine to be a license server, make sure to pick a machine that has a high uptime. This means that the machine will not be turned off or rebooted often.

Please also see our system requirements page to see what platforms we support.

A virtual machine (vm) may be setup to act as a Houdini license server.

The steps:

  1. Download Houdini onto the machine to be the license server

  2. Install Houdini on the license server machine.

  3. License Houdini using the License Administrator or sesictrl, the non-graphical licensing tool.

  4. Download and Install Houdini onto the client computers and have them point to the network license server to acquire a license.

For license servers running Windows and OSX, you must install the entire Houdini package, including the Commercial License component.

For license servers running Linux, you do have the option of only installing the license server component. You may use the default houdini.install script found in the installer. You can select to only install the Commercial License server. There is also a separate license server install script that may be used instead. This script is called sesinetd.install.

Allowing access to the license server
  1. If you are running any firewalls, ensure the appropriate ports are open. Please refer to Firewall ports for Houdini licensing

  2. If you are running a custom IP subnet masks in your keystrings to either restrict or grant networks access to your licenses please refer below under Controlling access to the license server. Note that on the client machines you do not need to install the licensing tools (ie. Commercial Licensing or Apprentice Licensing).

Controlling access to the license server

Houdini licensing is a two-phase process. The first phase is the client will query the license server for information about what products are available, their quantities, expiry dates, and network access mode (LAL, GAL, locked). The second phase is the license checkout.

The client will need appropriate permissions for both phases of the licensing process.

Permissions are handled by the IP subnet mask.

The default IP subnet masks for networked (floating) licenses:

LAL (Local Access)

 +.+.*.*,192.168.*.*,10.*.*.*,172.*.*.*

GAL (Global Access)

 +.*.*.*,192.168.*.*,10.*.*.*,172.*.*.*

By default, Render licenses GAL licenses.

The +... and +.+..* refers to subnet the license server itself is on.

If your network topology includes the default LAL or GAL subnets then you should be good to go without any additional configuration. Just make sure if you are running any firewalls, the appropriate ports are open. Please refer to Firewall ports for Houdini licensing.

If you would like to change the default IP subnet mask to allow more networks or restrict networks, you can have a custom IP subnet mask for your keystrings. The Change of IP entitlement will modify your existing keystring IP subnet masks without the need of returning licenses.

Please contact either your account manager or support@sidefx.com to request any changes to your default IP subnet masks of your licenses.

To modify your existing IP subnet mask, you will need to ensure two things:

1) The keystrings themselves have the appropriate subnets listed to allow clients to checkout licenses.

2) Create the sesinetd.options file to allow clients on those subnets to query the license server. This is accomplished by adding a -m flag followed by a comma separated list of the subnets. Make sure they match what is listed in the keystrings. The license server service will need to be restarted.

Example

A facility wishes to restrict Houdini access to networks 192.168.50. and 10.10.10. with the license server itself on the 192.168.50 network. The sesinetd.options file have something that looks like this all on one line:

 -V 2 -z 250000 -m 192.168.50.*,10.10.*.10*

For more information please refer to Houdini licenses across multiple networks.

Setup a client machine to access a network license server

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

You can also use hserver in the shell (once you've sourced the Houdini environment):

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.

Setup a workstation license

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. License Houdini using the License Administrator or sesictrl, the non-graphical licensing tool.

Workstation licenses are node-locked licenses. They cannot be floated across the network. They are restricted to the machine installed on.

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

When you return a license, you must return all of the associated license strings.

Downloading Houdini

To download the installation package:

  1. Go to www.sidefx.com → Get → Download
  2. The Download button will auto-select and let users download an appropriate build based on their OS. Links to other Operating Systems are provided below.

The same installation package is intended for all users: Free Apprentice, Houdini Indie, or Commercial Customers. It is the installed license that determines which features are available in the application and what restrictions are imposed on its use.

If you want to download a specific build or version go to Daily Builds. For more about daily builds and production builds, scroll down to the "What is a Daily Build? What is a Production Build?" section on this page (at the bottom).

Installing Houdini
  • You will need to have "Admin" (administrator, root or sudo) access to install Houdini.
  • If you are new to Houdini or upgrading a full version (16.5 to 17.0), you will need to install the License *Server tools in addition to the Houdini software.
  • If you have installed a version of Houdini and are to install a daily build of the same version, you do not need to install the License Server tools.
  • In general, uninstalling a previous version of Houdini is NOT required to install a new.

Windows:

  1. Run the Houdini setup program by double-clicking the downloaded executable.
  2. Follow the instructions in the installer. Once installed, the application is available by default through:

    • Start Menu → All Programs → Side Effects Software → Houdini version
  3. The licensing menu will appear during the installation process if no installed licenses can be detected.

    • If you are installing Apprentice or Indie, choose Apprentice Licensing. This will take out the complexities of running a local license server.
    • If you are installing a commercial product, choose Commercial Licensing.

Please refer to How do I start the License Administrator? to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to How do I license Houdini?

Linux:

Installer must be run as either the root user or with sudo.

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Unpack the downloaded tar.gz archive. For example,
    $ tar -xvf houdini-17.0.352-linux_x86_64_gcc4.8.tar.gz
    This should create a directory called houdini-17.0.352-linux_x86_64_gcc4.8/
  3. Run the houdini.install script:
    • $ cd houdini-17.0.352-linux_x86_64_gcc4.8/
    • $ sudo ./houdini.install
      You can also double click on the houdini.install file with your mouse. It will run the installer in a terminal.
    • The installation menu will appear. If you are installing Apprentice or Indie, choose Apprentice Licensing. This will take out the complexities of running a local license server.
    • If you are installing a commercial product, choose Commercial Licensing.

Please refer to How do I start the License Administrator? to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to How do I license Houdini?

Mac:

  1. Run the Houdini setup program by double-clicking the downloaded .dmg file.
  2. Follow the instructions in the installer. Once installed, the application is available by default through:

    • Go → Applications → Houdini → Houdini version
  3. The licensing menu will appear during the installation process if no installed licenses can be detected.

    • If you are installing Apprentice or Indie, choose Apprentice Licensing. This will take out the complexities of running a local license server.
    • If you are installing a commercial product, choose Commercial Licensing.

Please refer to How do I start the License Administrator? to access Houdini's licensing tool.

For more information about licensing Houdini please refer to How do I license Houdini?

Licensing a Houdini product

There are few ways of installing licenses. 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

Choosing Apprentice, an Apprentice license is installed and Houdini will launch in the non-commerical mode.

By choosing Paid License, the Houdini License Administrator will show up.

  1. 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.
  2. Enter your licensing login ID and the password.

  3. You will see a list of licenses to which you are entitled.

  4. If necessary, make modifications to the quantities. You do not need to change the quantity for network licensing.

    • For example, if you have purchased 3 Houdini FX Workstation licences, Quantity will be 3 at first. You will need to set the Quantity to 1 on each workstation you perform installation. The quantity will be one lesss each time.
  5. Press the Install button.

To manually start the License Administrator, please refer to How do I start the Houdini License Administrator.

For other details, please refer to the Apprentice FAQ for the installation of the free non-commercial licenses, and to the License Management for the installation of the Indie and commercial licenses.

Tools for Houdini licensing

The licensing tools for Houdini are:

  • hkey: a GUI based licensing tool for managing licenses and retrieving diagnostic information. Also known as "License Administrator".
  • sesictrl: the GUI-less "hkey". Use this to perform license operations in the terminal shell
  • sesinetd: the license server daemon/service.
  • hserver: client helper program that acquires licenses by communicating with sesinetd.

They are located:

Windows:

  • hkey, sesictrl - C:\Program Files\Side Effects Software\Houdini 17.0.xxx\bin
  • sesinetd, hserver - C:\Windows\system32

Linux:

  • hkey, hserver - /opt/hfs17.0.xxx/bin
  • sesinetd, sesictrl - /opt/hfs17.0.xxx/houdini/sbin

Mac:

  • hkey, hserver - /Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.0.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/bin
  • sesinetd, sesictrl - /Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.0.xxx/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/houdini/sbin
The License Administrator

You can either launch from the Application menu on each OS or from the command line by typing "hkey". Please refer to the section above to set up the command line environment.

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

Mac:

  • Applications -> Houdini version -> 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.

Common Licensing Problems

Please refer to this page.

Firewall ports for Houdini licensing

The following TCP/IP ports are used for Houdini

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

The client will need to be able to contact the license server (sesinetd) on TCP port 1715.

The license server will need to be able to contact the client (hserver) on TCP port 1714.

If you are experiencing issues with a client acquiring a license, a good place to start is to check to see if that client can query the license server on port 1715. Depending on your operating system you can use the following:

Windows client:

In the PowerShell you can run:

Test-NetConnection license-server-name -Port 1715

Test-NetConnection license-server-IP -Port 1715

You should have a TcpTestSucceeded: True listed

You can also do a test from the license server to the client machine on port 1714.

Linux client:

telnet license-server-name 1715

nc -z license-server-name 1715

nc -zv license-server-name 1715

To debug any DNS issues, you may also substitute the license server IP address for license-server-name.

You should see something like this if using the nc command: Connection to license-server-name port 1715 [tcp/houdini-lm] succeeded!

Some Linux variants do not have the -z switch. Please refer to the man page for your version of nc.

You can also do a test from the license server to the client machine on port 1714.

OSX client:

nc -z license-server-name 1715

nc -zv license-server-name 1715

To debug any DNS issues, you may also substitute the license server IP address for license-server-name.

You should see something like the following if using the nc command: Connection to license-server-name port 1715 [tcp/houdini-lm] succeeded!

You can also do a test from the license server to the client machine on port 1714.

Houdini licenses across multiple networks

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/Houdini17.0.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?"

Using the License Administrator non-graphically?

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.

Installing 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 installing 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.

Moving Houdini licenses to another server machine

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. You may then redeem the licenses as normal onto the new machine. When you return licenses, they will show up on the account as un-redeemed entitlements.

You may return your license up to 2 times.

Reinstall Houdini 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.

Location of the licenses file

The licenses file contains the keystrings for running Houdini products.

The location of the licenses file for:

Windows:

C:\Windows\keys\licenses

Linux:

/usr/lib/sesi/licenses

Mac:

/Library/Preferences/sesi/licenses
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. There is a service called HoudiniLicenseServer that you can start or stop. This service 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:

  • stop: launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist
  • start: 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.

Reinstalling 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.

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/Houdini17.0.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

Remotely administer 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:

  • Linux: /usr/lib/sesi
  • Windows: C:\Windows\System32 (note that this file needs to be created first and placed here)
  • Mac: /Applications/Houdini/Houdini17.0.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?

Controlling the license server - sesinetd

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/Houdini17.0.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 '+.+.+.+'
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 17.0" "5"
                "Render 17.0" "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.

Returning licenses

When you return a Houdini product license, you need to return all the associated license strings. To see which license strings are associated with which Houdini product, see here. There are 2 different ways to return a license:

With 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

With the sesictrl command line tool

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

To use sesictrl to return licenses:
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.

For example:

You have 5 Houdini and wish to upgrade 2 of the licenses to Houdini FX. License ID 57c2jfj is the License ID with the 5 Houdini.

You will return License ID 57c2jfj (therefore, all of the 5 Houdini licenses). You will then re-install 3 Houdini licenses using the normal license install method, leaving 2 Houdini licenses un-redeemed.

Note:You cannot return your licenses from the web-based licensing page at http://www.sidefx.com/services/licenses/.

Setup a DNS service for sesinetd

A DNS service record specifies a host and port for specific services.

For client machines to automatically locate the Houdini license server on the network you can setup a DNS service entry:

_sesi-lm._tcp IN SRV 0 0 1715 your-server-name.domain.

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.

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

Contacting support

If you are experiencing difficulties with any part of the licensing process:

  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 don't have a graphical display, you can type "sesictrl -f > file".

Attach the file to an email and send it to support@sidefx.com.

sesictrl can be accessed:

Windows:

  1. Go to the Start menu
  2. Go to Side Effects Software
  3. Go to Houdini 17.x.x
  4. Select Command Line Tools
  5. You now have access to sesictrl to run "sesictrl -f > file"

Linux:

  • In a terminal, change to the directory where you have installed Houdini.
  • You will then type, "source houdini_setup".
  • You now have access to sesictrl to run "sesictrl -f > file".

Mac:

/Library/Frameworks/Houdini.framework/Versions/17.x.x/Resources/houdini/sbin/sesictrl or

  1. Go to the Applications folder on the main system drive (Macintosh HD)
  2. Go to Houdini 17.x.x and double-click on the Houdini Shell.terminal program. This will source the Houdini environment for you. You now have access to sesictrl to run "sesictrl -f > file".

You may also refer to Common Licensing Problems.