[RLM] Communications error with license server (­17)

These warnings mean that Arnold can connect to the RLM license server, but Arnold cannot connect to the solidangle ISV server:

00:00:12 14MB WARNING | [rlm] * Communications error with license server (­17)
00:00:12 14MB WARNING | [rlm] * Connection refused at server (­111)

Usually the problem is that the solidangle ISV server is not running.

You can check the status of the solidangle ISV server with RLM Web Admin. I like the get the RLM diagnostics (Diagnostics > Run Diagnostics) from RLM Web Admin and review that.

In rare cases, the problem is something else, such as:

  • Some sort of network connection problem. For example, I recently had a case where we would get these warnings when we used the IP address of the license server in solidangle_LICENSE. But as soon as we switched to using the hostname, everything worked.
  • Another RLM instance is running and listening to port 5053, and that instance doesn’t have a solidangle ISV running. I heard about this second-hand, from a customer; I didn’t see it with my own eyes and I don’t know how it’s possible. You can have multiple RLM instances running, but each instance has to have a different port otherwise you get ” “Port 5053 in use, waiting…” messages and the second RLM won’t start.

[RLM] Reserving licenses

Reserving licenses is an RLM feature and is documented in the RLM User Guide (see “The ISV Options File” section).

You use the RESERVE keyword in the ISV options file (solidangle.opt) to reserve licenses for specific users, machine names, or IP addresses.

For example, this reserves 2 licenses for machines with the specified IP addresses:

INTERNET_GROUP renderfarm 
RESERVE 2 arnold group renderfarm 

This reserves five licenses for named users:

GROUP myusergroup steve stephen steven stevie stevo
RESERVE 5 arnold group myusergroup 

You can edit the ISV options in the RLM Web Admin page. You need to restart the ISV server after you change the options. Here’s a short video walkthrough (no audio).

[RLM] No ISV servers to start redux

The technical reason for a “No ISV servers to start” message is that that RLM could not read the ISV line from the license file.

So, for example, if you somehow save the license file as a binary file that looks like this:


then you’ll get No ISV servers to start, because obviously there’s no ISV line in that file.

Note: You’ll also see The hostname in the license file(s) may be incorrect, but that warning can always be safely ignored.

05/14 09:17 (rlm) 
05/14 09:17 (rlm) WARNING: No license file for this host (StephenBlair-PC)
05/14 09:17 (rlm)          The hostname in the license file(s)
05/14 09:17 (rlm)          may be incorrect
05/14 09:17 (rlm) 
05/14 09:17 (rlm) License files:
05/14 09:17 (rlm)     arnold_eval_90b11c647d93_20150514.lic
05/14 09:17 (rlm) 
05/14 09:17 (rlm) RLM License Server Version 11.2BL2

	Copyright (C) 2006-2014, Reprise Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

05/14 09:17 (rlm) License server started on StephenBlair-PC
05/14 09:17 (rlm) Server architecture: x64_w2
05/14 09:17 (rlm) License files:
05/14 09:17 (rlm)     arnold_eval_coffee0000_20150514.lic
05/14 09:17 (rlm) 
05/14 09:17 (rlm) Web server starting on port 5054
05/14 09:17 (rlm) Using TCP/IP port 5053
05/14 09:17 (rlm) ... adding UDP/IP port 5053
05/14 09:17 (rlm) (No ISV servers to start)

[RLM] No ISV servers to start

In RLM, an ISV server is a license server for a specific product. For Arnold, the ISV server is solidangle.


So if you see No ISV servers to start in your log:

05/07 15:52 (rlm) RLM License Server Version 11.2BL2

        Copyright (C) 2006-2014, Reprise Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

05/07 15:52 (rlm) License server started on StephenBlair-PC
05/07 15:52 (rlm) Server architecture: x64_w2
05/07 15:52 (rlm) License files:
05/07 15:52 (rlm)     arnold_eval_90b11c647d93_20150428.lic
05/07 15:52 (rlm)
05/07 15:52 (rlm) Web server starting on port 5054
05/07 15:52 (rlm) Using TCP/IP port 5053
05/07 15:52 (rlm) ... adding UDP/IP port 5053
05/07 15:52 (rlm) (No ISV servers to start)

That means there won’t be a solidangle ISV server running, and there won’t be any Arnold licenses available:

Here’s a couple of licenses that result in No ISV servers to start.

  • This license is missing a line break. The ISV line has to be on a separate line; otherwise RLM won’t recognize the ISV statement and won’t find the ISV server name.
    HOST localhost 0000coffee 5053 ISV solidangle port=66666
    LICENSE solidangle arnold 20161030 28-apr-2015 1 share=h
      min_timeout=120 start=28-apr-2015 issuer=Stephen customer=00340
      issued=28-apr-2015 _ck=fed6ff299c sig="60P0453GDCA9UJKPGJSGAGJK8YWFY
  • This license is a node-locked license, so there is no ISV line, and you don’t need a license server to use the license.
    LICENSE solidangle arnold 20150430 30-apr-2015 uncounted
      hostid=90b11c647d93 start=03-mar-2015 issuer=Stephen customer=00340
      issued=3-mar-2015 replace _ck=f9d7d6ce9c sig="60PG4512N1FRJ14HSNHACV

    How do I know it is a node-locked license? First, there’s no HOST or ISV lines, and second, it’s uncounted. Only node-locked licenses have the uncounted keyword.

[RLM] The case of the expired license

This case shows that if your license expires overnight, it may not be obvious that that is the problem the next morning. For example, in this case, the customer reported that:

  • The RLM license server was running.
  • The solidangle ISV server was running.
  • But clients were reporting watermarks and “No license for product (-1)” warnings in the Arnold log:
    00:00:02   815MB WARNING | [rlm] error checking out license for arnold (version 20150428):
    00:00:02   815MB WARNING | [rlm]  * No license for product (-1)
  • There were no errors in the ISV debug log in RLM Web Admin, just the Reread request by automatic@midnight entries (the RLM license server automatically rereads license files at midnight every day).

Although there were no errors in the log, a check of the ISV solidangle status page showed something wrong: where’s the License Pool Status???

And a quick look at the log files in the RLM folder revealed the problem:

05/02 00:00 (solidangle) ==== Reread request by automatic@midnight ====
05/02 00:00 (solidangle) Using options file solidangle.opt
05/02 00:00 (solidangle) Setting TIMEOUT for arnold to 120 secs.
05/02 00:00 (solidangle) 
05/02 00:00 (solidangle) Re-reading license files, supporting products:
05/02 00:00 (solidangle) (No valid non-expired licenses found)05/07 00:00 (solidangle) 
05/02 00:00 (solidangle) License files:
05/02 00:00 (solidangle)     arnold_eval_0000coffee_20150428.lic

Note that the license file name arnold_eval_0000coffee_20150428.lic includes the expiry date: 20150428

And you can always check the actual license file to see the expiry date on the license:

[RLM] [MacOSX] Setting solidangle_LICENSE on Yosemite

In Yosemite, Apple removed support for environment variables in launchd.conf, so you need to find another way to set global, system-wide environment variables. For example, if you want solidangle_LICENSE to be automatically set, you could use a launchd plist.

Here’s an example plist that uses launchctl to set the solidangle_LICENSE environment variable.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
 <plist version="1.0">

You’ll need to edit this plist and save it in /Library/LaunchDaemons. The file permissions and ownership should look like this:

-rw-r--r--@ 1 root wheel 661 Oct 22 13:52 com.solidangle.setenv.plist

Use sudo chmod to set the permissions, and sudo chown root:wheel to set the ownerships.
Then load the plist:
sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.solidangle.setenv.plist

And then restart your machine.


[RLM] Checking the license pool status

It’s always a good idea to confirm basic facts before moving on to more complicated testing, especially when it comes to licensing problems. For example, I’ve had several cases of “watermarks on the render farm” where it turned out the actual number of licenses was rather less than the expected number.

Fortunately, it’s easy to check the number of available licenses (aka the “license pool status”) with the RLM Web Admin page.

  1. In a web browser, open localhost:5054 (tip: you can open this page remotely too: just go to LICSERVER:5054, where LICSERVER is the name or IP address of the license server computer).
  2. Click Status.
  3. Click solidangle in the Server Status column of the ISV Servers table
  4. Check the count in the License Pool Status table

Click to enlarge

[RLM] [Windows] Putting the SolidAngle debug log into append mode

I like the log to be in append mode so it isn’t overwritten every time the license server restarts. This is especially handy for troubleshooting license server problems (otherwise, you lose information that might explain the problem when you restart the server).

You’ll need to Run as administrator when you open a command prompt for this.

First, add a plus sign (+) to the log file name (you can use sc qc to query the config and get the current binPath, or you could just look it up in the Services console).

sc config "RLM SolidAngle" binPath= "C:\Program Files\RLM\rlm.exe -dlog \"+C:\Program Files\RLM\solidangle.log\" -service"
[SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS

Then restart the service. You could also do this in the Services console.

C:\Windows\system32>sc stop "RLM SolidAngle"

        TYPE               : 10  WIN32_OWN_PROCESS
        STATE              : 1  STOPPED
        WIN32_EXIT_CODE    : 0  (0x0)
        SERVICE_EXIT_CODE  : 0  (0x0)
        CHECKPOINT         : 0x0
        WAIT_HINT          : 0x0

C:\Windows\system32>sc start "RLM SolidAngle"

        TYPE               : 10  WIN32_OWN_PROCESS
        STATE              : 2  START_PENDING
                                (NOT_STOPPABLE, NOT_PAUSABLE, IGNORES_SHUTDOWN)
        WIN32_EXIT_CODE    : 0  (0x0)
        SERVICE_EXIT_CODE  : 0  (0x0)
        CHECKPOINT         : 0x0
        WAIT_HINT          : 0x1388
        PID                : 9008
        FLAGS              :

And finally, check that it really started:

C:\Windows\system32>sc query “RLM SolidAngle”

        TYPE               : 10  WIN32_OWN_PROCESS
        STATE              : 4  RUNNING
                                (STOPPABLE, NOT_PAUSABLE, ACCEPTS_SHUTDOWN)
        WIN32_EXIT_CODE    : 0  (0x0)
        SERVICE_EXIT_CODE  : 0  (0x0)
        CHECKPOINT         : 0x0
        WAIT_HINT          : 0x0

[rlm] The curious case of the missing log entries

In this case, I got a debug log from a customer, but there weren’t any rlm entries in the log. As I’ve mentioned before, the Arnold log can include entries for licensing. At the Warning + Info level, you’ll get [rlm] log entries like these, if something goes wrong:

00:00:10   444MB WARNING | [rlm] could not connect to any license server


00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] wrong license version for arnold 20140305, found licenses for:
00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] arnold 20140206 (20 licenses)
00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] arnold 20140206 (20 licenses)
00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] please contact licensing@solidangle.com


00:00:03   749MB WARNING | [rlm] error checking out license for arnold (version 20140113):
00:00:03   749MB WARNING | [rlm]  * Communications error with license server (-17)
00:00:03   749MB WARNING | [rlm]  * Connection refused at server (-111)

And if you move the verbosity level up to Debug, then you’ll get some information about where Arnold is trying to get a license:

00:00:00   444MB         | [rlm] checking connection to license servers ...
00:00:05   444MB         | [rlm]  5055@LICSERVER1 ... DOWN
00:00:10   444MB         | [rlm]  5053@localhost ... DOWN

So why didn’t the customer’s log show any rlm entries? He was getting watermarks, so something must be wrong, right? Well, something was wrong: Skip License Check was enabled in the Render Settings.

No rlm log entries = Skip License Check