It is hard to believe, but FactoryTalk Activation is almost a decade old! It seems like just a few years have passed since we migrated our old EVRSI Floppy Disk Activations to FactoryTalk Activations, but time moves, and technology evolves, at an incredible pace. With that in mind, Rockwell has made enhancements to the latest version of the FactoryTalk Activation and a change to the activation method used by the latest versions of software.
When FactoryTalk Activation (FTA) was first released, it utilized the Flexera Activation as the activation method. The Flexera Activation could be associated to either:
Either way, when FTA came out using Flexera, most Rockwell Software packages continued to support both the old EVRSI (floppy disk) Activations and the new FTA Flexera Activations for many versions.
Since RSLogix 5000 is “Version Specific” and requires customers to maintain multiple versions of the software to support hardware with different firmware revisions, it tends to receive most of the focus whenever activation changes occur.
Here’s how activations break out for RSLogix/Studio 5000:
Customers were able to phase in support of FactoryTalk Activation with Flexera and most found that Windows Operating System support forced older “EVRSI Only” versions out of service prior to Rockwell removing support.
In 2018, Rockwell introduced a new and alternative method of activation for FactoryTalk Activation called CodeMeter. The CodeMeter activation method was introduced to add functionality that the Flexera method does not support. When this happened, CodeMeter and Flexera existed as interchangeable methods within FactoryTalk Activation and most of us did not notice or care which was being used or why.
The latest versions of Rockwell Software now use CodeMeter as the primary activation method, so what does that mean for you? Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences between CodeMeter and Flexera Activations.
Both CodeMeter and Flexera Activations are activated by using a Serial Number and a Product Key, so nothing has changed there.
Flexera Activations created a .lic file that is stored on either the computer hard drive or on the Flexera Dongle.
When using the Flexera Dongle:
CodeMeter Activations create a .wibu file that can be stored on the hard drive or be associated to a CodeMeter Dongle.
When used with a CodeMeter Dongle:
In the FactoryTalk Activation Manager, CodeMeter Activations
list the appropriate license version under Product Version (32.02.00 for Studio
5000.) Lastly, CodeMeter Dongles can be
used for both software activation and Source Protection (protecting intellectual
property within the controller) simultaneously.
There were originally two Dongles available for Flexera Activations, but the 9509-USBDONG was discontinued in May of 2019. The remaining Flexera Dongle is the 9509-USBDONG2. It includes 2GB of storage.
There are currently three CodeMeter Dongles available for Activations, Source Protection and Execution Protection for Rockwell’s latest ControlLogix and CompactLogix controllers.
All CodeMeter Dongles are based on High-Performance Security Crypto-Chip technology.
The following chart depicts FTA Flexera Activation/Dongle support outlined in green and FTA CodeMeter Activation/Dongle support outlined in orange for most Rockwell Software packages.
As you can see, Flexera Activations and Dongles are currently supported by all software versions. Flexera Dongle support requires FactoryTalk Activation Manager Version 4.03 or higher when using versions higher than the right, Flexera Only column. It is unknown as to whether future software releases will continue to support Flexera Activations and Dongles.
CodeMeter Activations and Dongles only support the software versions in the two columns to the left, CodeMeter (Compatible with Flexera) and Flexera (Compatible with CodeMeter). CodeMeter Activations and Dongles will not support any software version in the far-right column, Flexera Only. Knowing what versions of software you have to support will help guide you to the appropriate activation and dongle option.
This Activation Method change has also introduced a new challenge for customers purchasing an additional license of Studio 5000 who still need to support RSLogix 5000 Version 20.04 or lower. If you purchase a new perpetual license or an annual subscription license of Studio 5000, Rockwell only offers CodeMeter (Compatible with Flexera) activations.
This new CodeMeter Activation will not activate any version prior to RSLogix 5000 Version 20.05. Since ControlLogix and CompactLogix hardware can be upgraded by flashing the firmware, most customers should be able to migrate all systems to a minimum of Version 20.05. For those customers that cannot upgrade to a CodeMeter compatible version of software (such as a validated system), Rockwell has released a new RSLogix 5000 Legacy Subscription that will still offer the Flexera Activation Method necessary for these older, legacy systems.
Incidentally, if you need to Rehost your existing RSLogix 5000/Studio 5000 activation to move to a new computer the Activation Method change may affect you as well. During the activation process, Rockwell will default the activation to the latest software version. If you need to support versions prior to Version 20.05, you need to change the activation version to a Flexera Only version (Version 19.00 or lower.) If you accept the default of Version 32.00, you will download a CodeMeter Activation that will only work with RSLogix 5000 Version 20.05 or higher.
As FactoryTalk Activation continues to evolve, there are many new features and options available to you with the CodeMeter Activation Method. If you need assistance determining which activation method is required at your facility or if you want help upgrading firmware to CodeMeter supported versions, contact your Rumsey Account Manager or any of the Automation Systems Group team. For customers not using RSLogix 5000 Version 19 or earlier, FactoryTalk Activation with CodeMeter and CodeMeter Dongles can simplify the portability and disaster recovery of your Rockwell Software!