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Article Title: AXIS User Based Software License Keys
Article Type: General System  
Article ID #: 1848
GGY Contacts: GGY Client Support (416-250-6777)
Last Modified: 02 May 16

Article Summary:

To make the utilization and management of AXIS license keys easier for users, GGY uses software license keys that are tied to the AXIS userís domain account.

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Article Detail:

AXIS uses software license keys that are associated with the AXIS user’s domain account. This allows users who work on multiple machines to easily move between machines in the same Active Directory (AD) domain (and with the same username), without registering the individual machine with our licensing system.

Support for these license keys is present from AXIS version (released August 14, 2009) and onward. Note that legacy key types (USB, parallel and old software keys) are supported in older versions only, and support for those legacy keys is completely removed from the June 2015 release of AXIS 2015.11.02 and later.


AXIS is licensed software that requires a key to operate. Legacy AXIS licenses consisted of a physical dongle or a software key tied to the hardware of a particular machine hosting the AXIS application. To make the use and management of AXIS keys easier for our users, we developed software license keys that are tied to the AXIS user’s domain account. This allows users who work on multiple machines to easily move between them without the inconvenience of moving a dongle, or requesting a software key for each system. 

After a license is first assigned to the user, the user must activate the license by starting AXIS and logging into their web account via AXIS. This associates their workstation login with their AXIS license. License activation lasts for a period of time, after which the user will need to renew the activation using his/her web account to continue to use AXIS. If activation renewal is not possible when the activation expires, AXIS can temporarily extend the activation period for seven days.

We have created a Self-Service Software Key Management Portal on the AXIS support website for key administrators. This portal allows key administrators to quickly view the status of their company’s AXIS keys, assign, revoke or reassign license keys, and monitor licensing activity (logs) and run reports. This can all be done without the need to contact AXIS Support. For more details on administration, refer to Knowledge Base article 1845.

The easiest way to understand the licensing process is to look at the licensing lifecycle – a new AXIS user starts at a company and needs to be assigned an AXIS key. Using the licensing portal, that process will proceed as follows:

AXIS License Lifecycle

  1. The key administrator logs into the administrative portal. A wizard allows the administrator to add a user and assign a license key.
  1. If the added user does not have a web account, the administrator provides user contact details, and an email is sent to user containing a verification link and a temporary password.
  2. If the user already has an active web account with the AXIS Support website, the user can proceed to step 3.
  1. The new user receives the email notification from axis@moodys.com, activates their web account, and sets a permanent password. This web account also gives them access to the client area and other restricted areas of the AXIS support website.
  2. The new user launches AXIS for the first time on a particular computer. AXIS detects that it needs a license and prompts the user to enter their own web account information. After the user enters their own account information, AXIS connects to the license server, confirms that this user has been assigned a key, and activates that copy of AXIS. The user can then use AXIS normally.
  1. If the user needs to enable AXIS on an additional computer (under the same domain credentials) they simply repeat step #3 on the other machine.
  2. If the user needs to associate a different version of AXIS with their license, the user also repeats step 3.
  1. Once the activation period is over (typically 1 quarter from the last activation), AXIS will request to contact the licensing server again.
  2. If the license key is later deactivated by the company administrator (or AXIS support staff), the key will no longer be valid at the end of the activation period.

Technical Details

The activation process involves AXIS (and AXIS EnterpriseLink) connecting back to the licensing server over a secure (SSL) connection to confirm that the user attempting to activate AXIS has a valid software key. This process can be done automatically if network security permits it, or manually if it does not. 

For automatic activation, the user provides his/her web account credentials, which are then passed back to the licensing server over an SSL connection. Subsequent activations do not require credentials, since the first activation request registers the system ID in our licensing server and associates it against the relevant license.

For manual activation, the user is presented with a dialog window with an encrypted activation request string that must be pasted into a browser window, which is sent back to the licensing server. The licensing server processes the activation instantaneously and provides the encrypted activation response string in the same browser window. This activation response string must then be pasted back into the original dialog window, and the user must click OK for AXIS to process the license activation.

During the activation process, the following information is encrypted and sent to the licensing server:

  • The user's web account username and password.
  • The user's Active Directory username, including their domain (domain\username)
  • An SHA-256 hash (non-reversible) of the username's unique domain SID

The software license does not expire – only the activation period does. The exception is temporary licenses, which do expire after a specified time period. Once a temporary license expires, the license returns to the license inventory for the company/division.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can we support older versions of AXIS?

If you need to support AXIS versions earlier than (released August 14, 2009), please have your company’s software key administrator contact Michael Pomerantz to arrange for a legacy license.

Does AXIS require users to use this software key system?

Yes. Support for all legacy licensing (USB, parallel, old MAC-address based software licenses) ended with AXIS 2015.11.02 (released June 2015). All later AXIS versions require this licensing system.

We anticipate that the new software key system's flexibility and ease of management will make many companies want to move existing users over to it and we will fully support that. We require all existing users to migrate and will be glad to assist.

Will the new licensing system work for home computers (that aren’t domain joined)?

Yes – if your company’s agreement with us grants certain users the right to use AXIS on their home computers, then you will be able to allow more than one set of Windows credentials to be attached to the user's AXIS key.  

In our company we have multiple departments that manage their own AXIS licenses separately, how will this system work for us?

The new system is flexible. We can set up multiple divisions within the portal for your company, each with separate administrators. Your company can also be set up with global license key administrators, who have access across all company divisions.

This should allow you to reflect your divisional structure, allow for backup administrators, and also provide the ability to review and report on keys across your entire company. 

We can also designate reviewers for each division, who would have access to reports on AXIS usage across specific divisions, or across the company as a whole.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Michael Pomerantz, Rob Sweezie or Victor Rubinstein.
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