Avi Vantage License Management

Overview

Avi Vantage software requires a license to enable and utilize the available load balancing features. This article lists the Avi Vantage license types and describes how to obtain, add, and manage them.

The license types available prior to Avi Vantage 20.1.1 release are mentioned in the License Types section of License Types.

Starting with Avi Vantage release 20.1.1, the (Enterprise edition license) new license enforcement model enables product enhancement to incorporate unified licensing around Service Cores.
The Enterprise edition license is solely based on the Service Core.

Upon upgrade to Avi Vantage release 20.1.1, the licenses prior to Avi Vantage release 20.1.1 are converted to Service Core licenses.
Use the following table to understand how the various license types are converted to the Enterprise Edition licenses.

License prior to Avi Vantage 20.1.1 (1 unit) Corresponding Service Core License
Socket 5
Core 1
Host 1
25MB Bandwidth 0.4
200MB Bandwidth 0.7
1GB Bandwidth 4

Depending on the configuration of Avi Vantage, the appropriate number of Service Cores are used to license Service Engines.


The configuration depends on the following parameters, which are explained in the later sections of this article:

  • Bandwidth restriction
  • Per-app mode
  • Virtual Machines parameters
  • Bare-metal parameters
  • Cloud-specific configuration

The license is downloaded from the Avi web portal and is administered centrally by Avi Controller to all Service Engines. Avi Controller does not consume any license; but Service Engines consumes a license.


The new license edition enables the followings:

  • Aligns Avi Vantage with VMware price list
  • Simplifies commercial model
  • Provides flexibility – Same Service Core license can be used on any ecosystems and using any configurations.
  • Simplifies reporting and projection

Enterprise Edition License

Avi Vantage release 20.1.1 supports the Enterprise edition license only.

It is a fully-featured Avi Vantage license, which includes load balancing, GSLB, WAF, and all other features available on Avi Vantage.

Note: Starting with Avi Vantage release 20.1.1, the future-dated license is not supported.

Obtaining an Avi Vantage License

Avi Vantage licenses can be downloaded by authorized persons from the Avi Networks customer portal or obtained by contacting the Avi sales team. To activate a license, you must first add the license to the Avi Controller.

Adding a New License

You can add a new license using one of the following options:

Using VMware Serial Key

You can activate the license manually entering VMware serial key. licensing.png license-key.png

After adding a 25-character VMware serial key, the system will display information about the license, such as start date, expiry date, resource count, and so on, available in the Avi Controller’s license list.

Note:

Subscription based serial keys with more than 90 day validity may have trouble in being used on the Controllers running 18.2.10 or lower versions.

While the serial key gets added successfully, start date of such licenses appear to be in future. For instance, if the serial key is issued on 01-JAN-2021 for 1 year validity, expiry date will be correctly set to 31-DEC-2021 but the start date may show up as 01-OCT-2021. You need to upgrade to 18.2.11 or higher release for its fix.

You may have to reconfigure (by deleting the added but unusable serial key) such future dated serial keys after upgrade.

Using Avi Vantage License File

After obtaining a license from Avi Networks, you can activate the license by adding it to the Avi Controller.

  1. Log on to the web interface and navigate to Administration > Settings > Licensing.
    license-file
  2. Click on Upload from Computer and navigate to the file.
  3. After the license file is uploaded, the new license appears in the Avi Controller's license list. The system displays information about the license, including the start date and expiration date.

Divide or Combine Licenses

You can divide or combine VMware serial key licenses by following How to Divide or Combine License Keys guide.

Note: If you are using old Avi generated YAML based licenses, contact your account team or VMware support.

Various Parameters and Configuration Impacting License Consumption

The followings are the configuration and various parameters which impact Enterprise edition license allocation:

  • Bandwidth mode licensing
  • Per-App mode licensing
  • Bare-metal server licensing
  • Public cloud licensing
  • Azure cloud licensing

Bandwidth Mode Licensing

Bandwidth mode licensing is used to restrict the use of bandwidth on Service Engines. Using this licensing method, the number of datapath processes on Avi Service Engines is restricted. An Avi Service Engines no longer requires a separate bandwidth-based license to enable the bandwidth mode. When the bandwidth mode is enabled on the Service Engines, the bandwidth is consumed from the central pool of license, which is the capacity of the Service Core license.

Notes:

  • 1GB bandwidth mode is no longer available.
  • Per-App mode is not supported on SE Groups when the Bandwidth mode is enabled.
Bandwidth Mode Consumed License of Service Core Number of Datapath Process
25MB 0.4 1
200MB 0.7 2

Per-App Mode Licensing

In the Per-App mode licensing, only two virtual services are supported per SE. The followings are the key points regarding Per-app Mode licensing:

  • It is not supported for SEs enabled with the Bandwidth Mode.
  • It is not supported with the Azure Marketplace.
  • It cannot be used to host DNS Virtual Services (both standalone DNS and GSLB).
  • 0.25 Service Core license is required to license one core of load balancing license.
    • For an SE VM with eight physical core, two Service Core licenses are required for the load balancing.

Bare-Metal Server Licensing

The followings are the changes introduced to bare-metal SEs post an upgrade to Avi Vantage release 20.1.1 using the Enterprise edition license.

  • The socket license is no longer avaialble
  • When you upgrade a bare-metal server, one socket license gets converted to five Service Core licenses.
  • Bare-metal servers are also licensed in accordance with the Service Cores.
  • The number of Service Core license consumed by a bare-metal server depends on the followings:
    • the number of sockets associated with the bare-metal server
    • the number of core associated with each socket
  • Calculating Service Core license for various bare-metal servers based on their configuration:
    • For 16 cores, dual-socket, bare-metal server (16 cores on each socket):
      • For each socket, five licenses are required, as up to 20 cores, five Service Core licenses are required for one socket.
    • After the limit of 20 cores per socket, one Service Core license for every four additional cores is required.
      • For a bare-metal server configured with 24 cores, six Service Core licenses are required.
      • For a bare-metal server configured with 28 cores, seven Service Core licenses are required.
        • For a dual-socket, 28 cores bare-metal servers, 14 Service Core licenses are required.

Public Cloud Licensing

The following are the key points regarding the public cloud licensing for the Service Engines:

  • 1GB bandwidth SKU is no longer available.
  • Hyper-threaded vCPUs are not accounted for licensing regardless of the ecosystems.
  • Ability to define the custom number of datapath processes (number of cores used for load balancing). It allows cost-effective use of larger instances in a public cloud.
  • You can change bandwidth configuration in SE Group even when it has SE’s in it.
    • SE may have to be rebooted for bandwidth configuration to take effect.
  • The restrictions based on the instance flavor has been removed.

Azure Marketplace Licensing

TheEnterprise edition license impacts the Azure Marketplace licensing or Azure pay-as-you-go (Azure PAYG) licensing in the following ways:

  • 1GB bandwidth SKU is not supported
  • Supported license types are as follows:
    • 25MB bandwidth license
    • 200MB bandwidth license
  • Existing SEs on 1GB SKU will continue to be billed in accordance with the older SKU.
  • Post an upgrade to Avi Vantage release 20.1.1, the bandwidth restriction for the SEs is removed.
  • The new SEs creation with 1GB SKU is not supported.
  • Instance level restriction is removed. Any instance type can be used to deploy an Avi Controller.

For the PAYG licenses, the following are the recommended sizes for an Avi SE:

License Unit Maximum vCPU Allowed for Service Engine Recommended VM Sizes Other Allowed VM Sizes
25M 2 F2s_V2, DS2_v3 Any VM <= 2 vCPUs
200M 4 F4s_v2, DS4_v3 Any VM <= 4 vCPUs

Updating an Existing License

Updating an existing license follows the same process as adding a new license. When a license file has the same license ID (with an updated limit and/or expiration date), uploading this license file will update the existing entry in place.

Upgrading to License Edition for the Release 20.1.1

All the previously deployed licenses are converted to equivalent Service Core-based licenses when an Avi controller is upgraded. The followings are the points to consider while upgrading to Enterprise edition license:

  • The number of licenses consumed will be based on the number of SE_DPs running and NOT the number of cores on the SE
  • SEs associated with the Avi Controller prior to the upgrade will continue to work. After the upgrade, all previous license types will be migrated to Service Core licenses. The number of consumed Enterprise edition license is based on the number of SE_DPs running on the Service Engines, not on the number of cores on the SEs. Modification of the number of datapath processes for the SE is supported.
  • 1GB bandwidth license is no longer available.
  • The Enterprise edition license supports a 10% buffer over and above the licensed resources on the Avi Controller. This 10% buffer is relative to the Service Core license available on the Avi Controller. It is recommended to use the buffer allowance temporarily and for the emergency requirements like a scale-out event.
    • For an Avi Controller with 20 Service Core licenses, the effective Service Cores after adding the buffer allowance is 22 Service Cores (20 + 2).

Impacts on Service Engine group

For Service Engine groups, all the existing Enterprise_18 edition licenses are migrated to the Enterprise edition license. All the existing license types are migrated to the Service Core licenses except for pay-as-you-go (Azure market place).

1GB bandwidth is set to unlimited, and the corresponding number of SE_DPs is set to 4. The 25MB bandwidth and 200MB bandwidth licenses are not migrated.

Impacts on Cloud object(s)

  • All the existing Enterprise_18 license edition are migrated to Enterprise edition license.
  • All the existing license types are migrated to Service Cores except for pay-as-you-go (the Azure marketplace).

Additional Information
The default licensing tier for the Avi Controller cluster is updated to Enterprise.

Migration of Service Engines Using 1GB Bandwidth

One unit of 1GB bandwidth license is converted to four units of Service Core licenses.

The followings are applicable to the Service Engine groups on which the Service Engines (with 1GB bandwidth license) were running.

  • The bandwidth mode is set to unlimited.
  • Bandwidth restriction is removed.
  • Service Engine is set to consume only four Service Core licenses as the value of the max_se_dp setting on the SE Group is set to 4. The number of cores used for load balancing is set to four; therefore, a maximum of four Service Core licenses are used.
  • 1GB license is no longer available.

Additional Configuration Options

Limiting Number of Cores Used by SEs

The number of Service Cores used for the load balancing can be customized by using the max_num_se_dps option on the SE group. Customization of the number cores for the load balancing feature enables the use of larger VM sizes, but with fewer cores for load balancing.

The use of a customized core has the following benefits:

  • Saving on the licensing costs.
  • Useful in the cases where a larger VM is required for better packet per second (PPS) or VIP/VS density.

SE creates one datapath process per core. To restrict the number of cores used for load balancing, set the max_num_se_dps setting to the desired value on the SE Group. The default value of max_num_se_dps is zero, which indicates all cores on the VM would be used for load-balancing.

Notes:

  • The configuration of the max_num_se_dps parameter is supported on all the ecosystems. The number of Service Core licenses assigned to the SE depends on the number of SE_DPs running. By default, an eight-core SE will consume 8 Service Core licenses, but if max_num_se_dps is set to 4, then even on an eight-core SE VM, only four Service Core licenses are consumed.
  • For a SE group with the 1GB bandwidth limit, upon migration, the bandwidth limit is set to unlimited. The value of the max_num_se_dps attribute is set to 4. For all the other SE Groups, the value of max_num_se_dps is set to 0.
  • Hyper-threaded cores are not accounted for licensing on all the ecosystems. For more information on Service Engine groups, refer to Service Engine Group guide.

Checking License Usage

To check license usage information, navigate to Administration > Settings > Licensing. The system displays the license limits and current usage. The below example shows that 500 out of 2262 Enterprise Licenses are in use on the Avi Controller. license-usuage.png

Reaching the License Limit

When a license limit is reached, you can neither create nor register new Avi SEs with the Avi Controller. However, you can use the existing Service Engines for existing or new virtual services.

In the case of container cloud environments, after the license limit has been reached, you cannot create new SEs even if you add new hosts to the cluster. Any new tasks or containers created on new container hosts may have degraded access to the existing load-balanced applications since SEs are not present on those hosts.

License Expiration

If multiple licenses are attached to Avi Vantage, and one of the licenses expire, the system immediately prevents the capacity from exceeding the total resources allotted by the remaining valid licenses.

When all applied licenses expire, Avi Vantage returns to an unlicensed state. In the unlicensed state,

  • There is no impact to existing virtual services.
  • You cannot create new Service Engines.
  • No configuration is lost.
  • The system defaults to the free, perpetual limits.
  • As soon as a valid license is reapplied, the system will immediately be able to utilize the total resources allocated by the new license.

License Expiry Events

Avi Vantage automatically generates a LICENSE_EXPIRED event once every day, starting one month before expiry.

The events are included in the events table. Navigate to Operations > Events. Search for license_expiry, and then click on + sign at the right of the row to reveal the details of the particular event.

licene-expiry1.png

License Expiry Alerts

Optionally, you can configure Avi Vantage to generate license-expiration alerts. Based on the alert configuration, the alerts are triggered by license expiration events and are defined as you prefer, namely, emails, Syslog messages, SNMP traps, and/or ControlScript executions.