Discover Deadline 8 and UBL

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Version 8.0


Some information in this blog entry is now out of date. Please refer to the Deadline 8 Usage Based Licensing documentation for the most up to date information!


With the launch of Deadline 8 and the introduction of Usage Based Licensing, we didn’t want to wait until Friday to show you how to use it! This guide will walk you through all the steps required to get set up with Usage Based Licensing (UBL).


Before you can purchase any UBL render time, you must first create a Thinkbox Marketplace account. Visit the Thinkbox Marketplace and click the Create Account link in the top-right corner. Specify your name and email address, and then click the Create button.

Within five minutes, you should receive an email confirming that your account was created, followed by a second email that confirms the creation of your Thinkbox Portal account (more on this below). The second email will also contain the URL for your Cloud License Server (CLS), and an Activation Code.

The URL and Activation Code will look like this (in the URL, XXXXXXXXXXXX would be replaced with your Cloud License Server ID):

Make sure to keep the URL and Activation Code on hand, as you will need this information to configure Deadline for UBL. If you lose this information, you can log into your Thinkbox Portal to retrieve it (see below).


As mentioned above, your Thinkbox Portal account is created automatically after you create your Thinkbox Marketplace account, and the information needed to log in is included in one of the emails you should have received (note that the login credentials for the Customer Portal and the Thinkbox Marketplace are separate).

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be able to view specific information using the navigation side-bar on the left, including: - Order History: This is the default page when you log in, and it shows you your previous order history. - Search Servers: View your UBL license server, and review the render time that has been mapped to them. - Create Server: Use this to create a Local License Server (LLS) if you plan on using it instead of a Cloud License Server (CLS). - Usage Report: View different graphs to show current and historical usage of your render time.

As mentioned above, you can use the Thinkbox Portal to retrieve your URL and Activation Code. In addition, you can use the Thinkbox Portal to help set up a Local License Server if you plan on using one instead of the Cloud License Server.

Note that the Home page currently shows an error message stating that No software is currently associated with your Customer Portal account. This is normal, because the actual Deadline product is not associated with the Thinkbox Portal, just the render time entitlements for UBL.

For more information on using the Thinkbox Portal, refer to the Get Help section on the navigation side-bar.


Before you can start using UBL, you must enter the URL and Activation Code in the Deadline Repository options. This can be done from the Deadline Monitor while in Super User Mode (use the Tools Menu to enter Super User Mode). Then select Configure Repository Options from the Tools menu, and select Usage Based Licensing from the list on the left.

Note that if you are using a LLS instead of a CLS, you can disable the Cloud License Server option, and an Activation Code is not required. In addition, the URL you use will look different. See the Local License Server documentation for more information.

After entering in the Usage Based Licensing information, click OK to save the settings.


NOTE: This step is only required if you are using Deadline UBL. You do not need to perform this step if you are only planning on using 3PL.

Now that Deadline is configured to use UBL, you need to configure the Deadline Worker applications.

License configuration can be done from the File menu in the Deadline Worker application, or from the Deadline Launcher menu on the machines that the Deadline Worker is running on. If the Deadline Worker is already running, restart it so that it can recognize the licensing change.

Note that if are also using traditional floating licenses for Deadline, you can keep some Deadline Workers configured to use UBL, and some configured to use your existing Deadline license server. You can also use Auto Configuration to configure which Deadline Workers you want to use UBL automatically.


NOTE: These steps are only required if you are using 3PL. You do not need to perform these steps if you are only planning on using Deadline UBL.

Before you can start using 3PL, you must do the following: - Request 3PL Certificates from Thinkbox Sales for the applications and/or plugins you will be rendering with. - Install and configure the Deadline License Forwarder application to use the 3PL Certificates. - Set up Deadline Limits to use 3PL, and configure your render jobs to use these Limits.


To use 3PL with Deadline, you will first need to obtain 3PL Certificates for each 3PL application or plugin you will be rendering with. These certificates ensure a secure connection with Thinkbox’s Cloud-hosted License Server Gateway. Please contact Thinkbox Sales to obtain the necessary certificate(s) before purchasing 3PL render time from the Thinkbox Marketplace.


The new License Forwarder application in Deadline 8 does exactly what it’s name implies. It forwards license requests for 3PL applications and plugins to Thinkbox’s Cloud-hosted License Server Gateway, and must be running on your network before you can start using 3PL render time. It must be configured to use the 3PL Certificates you obtained from Thinkbox Sales, and it must also have access to the Internet so that it can communicate with the License Server Gateway.

The License Forwarder can run on any machine, but because multiple machines will be connecting to it, we recommend a machine running Windows Server or Linux. See the Client System Requirements for more information. In addition, you should avoid running the Forwarder on a machine that is already hosting other floating licenses servers to avoid potential port conflicts.

To install the License Forwarder, simply run the Deadline Client installer. The Forwarder will be installed to Deadline’s bin directory, and is called deadlinelicenseforwarder.exe on Windows, and deadlinelicenseforwarder on Linux and Mac OS X. Before running the Forwarder though, you must first create a directory on the machine for your 3PL certificates (ie: C:\3PL_Certs), and place all the 3PL certificates that you received from Thinkbox Sales into this directory.

The License Forwarder is a console application, so to run it the first time, open a Command Prompt or a Terminal, change directories to the Deadline bin folder, and run it without arguments. For example:

(On Windows)
cd "C:\Program Files\Thinkbox\Deadline8\bin"

(On Linux)
cd /opt/Thinkbox/Deadline8/bin

(On Mac OS X)
cd /Applications/Thinkbox/Deadline8/Resources

The first time the License Forwarder starts up, it will check if it knows where the 3PL certificates are located. If it does not, it will prompt you for a path to the directory that contains them. Enter the path to the directory you created earlier (ie: C:\3PL_Certs).

If you need to change the location of the certificates folder, you can do so from the command line or by editing the system deadline.ini file on the machine.

Finally, if you want to start up the Deadline Forwarder automatically when the Deadline Launcher starts, you can add the following line to your system deadline.ini file:


Now, if you configure your Deadline Launcher to run as a service, the License Forwarder will run as a service as well!


3PL render time is consumed per minute and only while Deadline is rendering a task for a job that requires special Limits. Limits in Deadline have traditionally been used to support applications and plugins that use floating licenses. They enforce the maximum number of concurrent render jobs that use those applications and plugins, which prevents licensing errors from affecting productivity.

In Deadline 8, Limits can be configured to allow additional Deadline Workers to render these jobs, but these additional Workers will enter an Overage mode. While in Overage mode, the Deadline Workers will redirect license requests for the necessary applications and plugins to the Deadline Forwarder instead of your local license server. At the same time, the Deadline Workers will consume 3PL render time until the job has finished (or until the render time has been exhausted). Because Deadline only consumes 3PL when in Overage mode, your floating licenses will always be preferred!

More information on configuring Limits to use 3PL can be found in the Deadline 8 documentation. However, we have included a simple example below on how Krakatoa 3PL can be configured and used.

Once you have your 3PL Limit set up, you need to assign that Limit to any Deadline Jobs that use that 3PL product. 3PL usage will then happen automatically, provided that the License Forwarder is running and that the Deadline Workers can communicate with it.

3PL Example Using Krakatoa

Let’s say you have 2 floating licenses of Krakatoa, and 4 render nodes that are capable of rendering Krakatoa jobs. To ensure that you don’t run into Krakatoa licensing errors, you would create a krakatoa Limit and set it to 2. Then any job that requires the Krakatoa renderer would specify the krakaota Limit at submission time. This ensures that you won’t run out of licenses because no more than 2 instances of Krakatoa would be used on the farm at any given time.

If you would like all 4 render nodes to join the render, you can configure the krakatoa Limit to allow your other 2 render nodes to use 3PL. First, you will leave the existing Limit maximum at 2, since that is still your floating license count. Instead, you will set the Limit Overage to 2 so that your additional render nodes can pick up Krakatoa jobs. Finally, you need to enable the Use Usage Based Third Party Licensing option and select krakatoa as the License Application. After you press OK, you are now ready to consume Krakatoa 3PL!

When the additional 2 render nodes pick up your Krakatoa jobs, they will recognize that they are in Overage mode, and will consume Krakatoa 3PL render time instead of connecting to your local Krakatoa license server. Because Krakatoa 3PL will only be consumed in Overage mode, it ensures that Deadline always prefers your existing floating licenses before using 3PL render time!


Now that Deadline is configured, you are ready to purchase some render time! Simply visit the Thinkbox Marketplace, log in with your Marketplace account, and choose the Deadline on Demand or 3rd Party Licensing bundle(s) you wish to purchase. When you’re ready to purchase, please review your Cart first.

Note that there is an option at the bottom of the cart that indicates if you want to manually apply your purchase to your license server. You only need to enable this option if you are using a Local License Server.

You can now proceed to the Check Out page, where you can enter your billing information. Note that you can enter a Company name in your billing address. If you do, your Thinkbox Portal account name will be updated to reflect this after you complete the purchase process.

If you have any discount codes, be sure to enter them in before entering in your payment details and completing your order. Once your order has been processed, you should receive an email within five minutes confirming your purchase.

You are now set up to use UBL and 3PL! Just remember that for 3PL, your License Forwarder must be running (with the appropriate 3PL certificates in place), and your Deadline Jobs must be assigned 3PL Limits for the 3PL products you are using.


You can then log into your Thinkbox Portal at any time to review your order history and monitor the usage of your render time.

Note that when Deadline Workers check out render time for UBL/3PL, they do so in 5 minute increments, and will hold on to those minutes until they are used up (at which point they will request 5 more minutes). Keep this in mind when viewing your Usage Report in the Thinkbox Portal.

When the Deadline Worker exits, any unused minutes are then returned. Note that killing the Deadline Worker can result in a loss of minutes, since it won’t have a chance to return them. This loss cannot be reverted, so always make sure you close your Deadline Workers properly!


That’s everything you need to know to use UBL and 3PL in Deadline 8! If you have any questions, please visit the Usage Based Licensing page on the Deadline website, or contact Thinkbox Sales.