What NI software licenses and subscriptions are available and/or required for Bloomy’s integrated test systems?
As NI officially rolled out a new software licensing model in 2022, this is to inform our customers of the choices available when sourcing systems from Bloomy containing NI software.
Effective January 2023 , NI’s software application development environments are only sold as annual subscriptions known as developer licenses. A developer license provides an unlimited ability to develop new applications on a single machine, receive regular software updates, access to NI technical support and online training . Under the annual subscription, customers pay lower upfront costs with higher overall recurring costs to maintain licensing over a span of multiple years. NI also bundles some of the commonly used software tools, such as NI Test Workflow Pro, for additional savings. If a software subscription is initiated but not renewed, the development environment will stop functioning and require a new license to launch again. This can be problematic in many deployed test system scenarios, which underscores the importance of selecting the correct licensing options.
In order to run an application without a software subscription and its recurring cost, NI now offers perpetual deployment licenses for TestStand and VeriStand. Deployment licenses allow you to run applications on a single machine, forever in perpetuity. TestStand has two deployment license options, base and debug. The TestStand base deployment license allows you to run any pre-developed TestStand test sequences using a pre-compiled operator interface (OI), such as the Simple OI that ships with TestStand, or Bloomy’s EFT Manufacturing OI. With the base deployment license, users are unable to modify any aspect of a sequence file. The TestStand debug deployment license, however, enables the ability to run sequence files in the TestStand Sequence Editor as well as any compiled OI, providing users with advanced execution capabilities such as single-stepping, breakpoints, and skipping steps. The debug license also allows users to edit test sequences on the machine in which they are deployed.
The deployment license for VeriStand is known as the NI VeriStand Operator License, which allows you to create, configure and/or deploy a project file using a preconfigured system definition file on the deployment machine. Creation or modification of the system definition files (including any changes to channels, mapping, aliases, models, hardware I/O, alarms, and communications) requires the VeriStand developer license.
LabVIEW application(s) may be compiled into executables that only require the LabVIEW run-time environment installed on the deployed machine(s) in order to execute. The LabVIEW run-time environment is free, and easy to deploy together with the executable as a package using NI Package Manager.
How do these license options affect Bloomy’s delivered systems?
First, this new model has no effect on software and systems purchased from Bloomy prior to 2022. Everything will continue to work according to the sales and licensing agreements that were in effect when these systems were originally purchased, and nothing is going to cause them to stop working. i.e. They are effectively grandfathered in.
In addition, Bloomy’s engineers carefully review the various options and present them to our customers, along with our specific recommendations during the proposal phase. Recall that NI is one of several suppliers that we use, and it’s our obligation to make the best recommendations for our customers.
Going forward, there are three main options under the new NI software licensing model: 1) purchase a developer license as a 1-year subscription that is annually renewed, 2) purchase a perpetual deployment license for TestStand and VeriStand, or 3) compile a LabVIEW executable and deploy it with the LabVIEW run-time environment.
When should I choose a developer license as a 1-year subscription?
- The delivered system(s) are development system(s) with ongoing functional changes expected
- Onsite engineering is available to develop new test functionality directly on the delivered system(s)
- Regular updates of the development software are desired
When should I choose a perpetual deployment license?
- The unit under test is mature and the test software functionality is not expected to change very much after delivery. (Alternatively, the test software may have been through a rigorous validation process and cannot change at all!)
- Most test software development is performed by Bloomy or customer offline, using separate, appropriately licensed, developer machines
- Program does not have operating expense (opex) funds allocated for annual software subscription renewals
When should I choose a LabVIEW executable and run-time environment?
- A stand-alone, compiled application with highly custom front-end and back-end requirements is desired.
- VeriStand and TestStand are not part of the test environment. i.e. the application is not an automated test system or a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) validation system.
- Applications may be deployed to a very large number of machines, at the lowest possible recurring cost.
For Bloomy’s turnkey automated test systems, it is our core strategy to empower our customers with the ability to self-maintain our systems after delivery. Therefore, we provide any custom source code and/or test sequences as deliverables with our systems. Our proposals provide both the developer and deployment licenses as either recommended or optional line items so that our customers can make informed decisions. An example of this is provided below.
|Item||Part Number||Unit Cost|
|Deployment Licenses (Perpetual)|
VeriStand Operator License
|TestStand Debug Deployment License|
Enables operators to execute previously developed test sequences, and make minor modifications to sequences
|TestStand Base Deployment License|
Enables operators to execute previously developed test sequences, but not make any modifications
|LabVIEW Runtime Engine||N/A||Free|
|Developer Licenses (1 Year Subscription)|
|VeriStand Developer License|
Enables developers to create new VeriStand projects as well as modify existing projects and system definition files
|NI TestStand Development System|
Enables developers to create and debug test sequences using the TestStand interactive development environment, as well as create deployable test system installers.
|NI Test Workflow Pro|
Enables developers to create new and modify existing TestStand sequences and LabVIEW source code. Includes TestStand developer license and LabVIEW professional developer license.
*These prices are as of 05/03/2023 and are subject to frequent changes. Please contact Bloomy for our specific recommendations as well as the latest prices.
**Note: when selecting NI TestStand or VeriStand licenses, generally only choose one of the indicated options.
Generally speaking, deployment licenses are more desirable for production test applications, whereas developer licenses are better suited for R&D and engineering applications. Some of our customers are already covered by a volume license agreement (VLA), or need their systems and services quoted in a particular manner, and we strive to accommodate our customers’ special requests. At Bloomy, we are happy to meet with you to understand your needs and ensure that we are providing the capabilities you need - without asking you to fund the things you don’t really need. Please contact us for further discussion.