Installing Network Licenses

Network licenses are designed for use in larger organisations and require installation of license management software (FLEXnet) on a nominated license server. Network licenses normally allow any user on a network to run the specified applications. There are two levels of network license: The license management software includes many additional features, for example allowing the software to be restricted to particular groups of users or specific machines, reserving some licenses from the concurrent pool and so on. These options are beyond the scope of this installation guide and the network administrator is referred to the FLEXnet end-user guide supplied with the software or obtainable from VSN International Ltd.

Note that other license choices may be made available for some sites, whereby single unrestricted licenses are made available for use on any machine. These do not require installation of FLEXnet on a license server and are considered to be Individual Licenses.

If you are upgrading from an earlier version of GenStat and currently use a FLEXlm license please read here before continuing.

This document is intended as a simple introduction for sites that use Microsoft Windows on their network servers and client workstations. It assumes you do not currently use FLEXnet for other software products. No previous knowledge of FLEXnet is required. Many other configurations are possible: for example a Unix-based license server with client PCs running Windows. Larger networks may already operate FLEXnet for other software products and will need merely to add additional information to their license file in order to run applications from VSN. You should refer to the FLEXnet documentation or contact VSN support ( for further information.

Full documentation for FLEXnet is provided on your application CD-ROM. It is located in the platform-specific folder under


A brief guide to installing FLEXnet on Unix license servers can be found in the file

and an up to date list of platforms that we currently support for installation of the FLEXnet license server can be obtained from VSN support.

FLEXnet Basics

One machine on the network must be nominated as the "license server". This will normally be a centrally administrated server, running a Microsoft Server operating system, but this is not essential. In fact, any PC running Windows 95 or later will be sufficient, although Windows NT, 2000, or XP are preferred. The license server must be a reliable machine that is always running during normal operating hours, as the licensed applications will not work elsewhere on the network if the server is not present.

The FLEXnet license management software will need to be installed on the license server. This will run constantly in background mode; on Windows NT and later systems it will operate as a system service. You will separately apply for a license key which will contain details of the software application (e.g. GenStat), version control, and number of licenses, as well as details of the license server it can run on. Once this key is installed, the application can be run on any PC on the network. When it starts up it will communicate with FLEXnet and request a license. FLEXnet keeps a record of how many licenses are in use at any time and will refuse requests once the specified limit is reached. When the system is busy, users will have to wait until someone terminates their use of the program, thus releasing a license.

For sites that license a number of applications from VSN International, the license file can contain keys for each application. The one license process will manage licenses for all the applications.

The application itself can be installed on any machine on the network. It can be installed in a public folder on the license server or other file server, on individual users PCs, or any combination of these options. Whichever machine it is run from, it will always contact the specified license server to check out a license.

Each step is numbered in the instructions that follow. Please keep to this sequence; if things go wrong please stop and ask for help from, quoting the step number and any other information you think is relevant.

Installing FLEXnet on a Server running Microsoft Windows

The first task is to install FLEXnet and set up the license key. This is most conveniently done using the InstallShield package on the application CD-ROM or downloaded from the VSN International website.


The FLEXnet End-User documentation (see Section 2.12) contains extensive help on troubleshooting common problems. The following examples illustrate problems commonly experienced by end users when setting up or running FLEXnet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Using GenStat with other license-managed software

If you already use FLEXnet for license management you can skip most of the installation steps above. However, you will need to copy VSN.exe and VSNLicenseSetup.exe to your server. These files are located in FLEXnet\bin\i86_n3. We recommend running VSNLicenseSetup.exe on your license server in order to generate a license request that can be sent to VSN Support. Having obtained the license key from VSN you will need to add the VENDOR and FEATURE lines to your existing license file and then perform a re-read. Further information can be found in the FLEXnet end user documentation. The appname.lic file will need to be installed as described in Step 6.

IMPORTANT NOTE: VSN applications are configured to use FLEXnet in the following way. On startup they will look for a license file in the following locations, in order:

  1. C:\Program Files\Common Files\VSN International\Licenses\appname.lic
  2. appdir\Bin\appname.lic
  3. appname_LICENSE_FILE environment variable
  4. VSN_LICENSE_FILE environment variable
  5. LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable
Each possibility is tried until a successful license checkout is obtained. This sequence permits a wide variety of schemes to be implemented according to the needs of any individual site.

Further help

Check the VSN International web site for further help and advice