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Licensing System Overhaul


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Right, i'm a little bit pissy at the IPS licensing system at the moment :poke:
So here's the situation, if at any time you lose connectivity to the IPS Licensing server and your key goes awry it brings your whole website to its knees.  
The IPS Suite tries for 5 seconds (or precisely 5001 milliseconds) to connect to remoteservices.invisionpower.com, if it can't connect it then continues to processes the page.  So you would think worst case scenario it creates a 5 second page delay, no.  What actually happens from what I have observed is that once it decides you need to verify your license key it attempts to verify it on every page load.  The busier your website, the more clicks, the more requests trying to access the license server.  Our page loads went up to 30 seconds then timeouts as the website got busier towards the night.

So lets get to tonight's scenario, and why this setup needs to change:
1) I discover that our install is telling me our "license key is missing" and everything is running slowly.
2) Lodge a ticket with IPS, then decide to upgrade to "Priority Support @$220" hoping it would help escalate the resolution process.
3) IPS reply that our server must be blocking access to remoteservices.invisionpower.com and to trace route from the server.
4) We do the diagnostics and reply back that actually our IP is being dropped by Liquid Web, which is IPS's provider that hosts the License Server.
5) IPS reply that they don't have any blocks on our IP and it must be on our end.
6) Reply back showing clearly that it's being dropped by their provider Liquid Web.
7) IPS replies back that we can contact Liquid Web to see why this is happening as it's not on IPS's portion of the network that's blocking it.
8) Contact LiquidWeb, refuse to resolve the situation because i'm not their customer and it's up to IPS to lodge a ticket.
9) Tired of wasting time, sign up to Liquid Web and buy a VPS server which now makes me "their customer" and lodge a support ticket.
10) Liquid Web rectify the situation making the required network changes. 
11) Enjoy my new shiny Liquid Web VPS which I have no use for and will now cancel as I only purchased it to be able to lodge a ticket.

Fun night eh?  Now I can't fault IPS's support when it comes to their software.  The team has done a fantastic job with IPS 4 series, and when we've had issues they've done once again an amazing job at supporting us.  However, if they're going to run a licensing system that requires live connectivity, there has to be either some failsafes or workarounds in place.  Either a second presence for the licensing server or perhaps even a way to manually verify your license for an extended period of 7 days etc until connectivity is restored, otherwise if situations like this arise they may as well add a Liquid Web VPS to their "upgrade options."

Personally I worked out a way to resolve the situation, however the this issue was born of the way the current licensing system operates, if that can be reviewed or somehow improved then 1) to 11) becomes completely irrelevant and a pitfall of the past. 

A happy customer, loving the new IPS4 suite, appreciate the overall support IPS has provided me, just a bit pissy at the way the licensing works and the knock on effect   :tongue:

Hopefully this can be taken more as constructive criticism of the system rather than pointing at any individual.

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As I mentioned in your ticket, I'm truly sorry for the inconvenience and hardship you've experienced and even more so that we were both at the mercy of LiquidWeb. I find it unacceptable that you were forced to purchase a VPS from them to get basic support that impacted your accessibility to their network and the thousands of clients they have relationships with, including IPS. 

I do wish there was more we could have done for you. We were assured there was no block and with that clearly not being the case, the best (though obviously not the most ideal) situation was to put you in contact with them to avoid a "try this, what does this say" back and forth middleman situation. It's most unfortunate that you were left with no choice but to purchase something directly from them to even get them to speak to you and this is definitely something we will be addressing with our account reps there. 

For reference, this community and several other services are already transitioned to AWS. The license server and more will soon follow. 

Thank you for your incredible display of patience and commitment. I hope this is the last time we let you down, but do contact us with any further questions or concerns. 

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