The Importance of Maintaining Your Quark License Administrator (QLA) Server

Because I work for a Quark Training Facility, I get to have lots of interaction with Quark License Administrator (QLA) Server, and I have a few helpful tips I would like to share. For those of you who may not know what a QLA Server is, it is a server that checks over your network to see how many copies of Quark you currently have running. So instead of installing Quark on just your machine, you can install Quark on as many machines as you like. The only catch is that you can only have Quark running on as many computers as the number of licenses you own. If you have ten licenses, then when the 11th person tries to open Quark, they get an error message that too many licenses are checked out. This approach to managing software licenses is a wise choice for a lot of companies because you only have to pay for the minimum number of copies that will be used at the same time.

The first thing to realize is that someone has to accept the job of being responsible for upgrades, and knowing how many licenses are currently checked out. When an upgrade occurs, that person needs to know the username and password your company used to register with Quark. When it came time to do upgrades to our server I couldn’t track this info down, so I just called Quark. I had my serial numbers handy and within three minutes they had reset my password and I was up and running. I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

When you install new licenses, my first recommendation is that you should be sitting at the server station, because the second you log in to Quark and download the new licensing file, it asks you to point to the old QLA licensing file, so that it can generate a new one for you with the correct number of licenses. If you’re not at the server station, and you download the file without pointing to the old one, you will have some extra work to do. That’s why I recommend sitting at the server when you download the file.

Here’s some hard-earned wisdom about placing the licensing file in the correct spot inside the QLA Server folder. I definitely recommend dragging out the old file and putting it somewhere safe – do not save over it. You know for a fact the old one works, and if anything should happen… Well, you know the rest: better to be safe than sorry. Should anything go wrong you can always put the old file back and you’re up and running again. Once the new file is installed, you will have all the new licenses you acquired.

Now on to the management of licensed copies. The first thing is, I wish Quark could be a little more flexible with the software licenses. How about just letting two extra licenses get activated, and then sending a warning email to the administrator telling them that too many licenses are checked out. I think the current system is too rigid. And here’s why…

In a teaching environment, sometimes, for one reason or another, Quark crashes. The program closes, and the license remains checked out. When that user tries to re-open Quark, if a license is available, it is checked out. But the problem is that that user now has two licenses checked out. Only when that user shuts down properly, and then logs in again, do they have just one license checked out. This can be problematic. If ten people have all ten licenses checked out, and one person crashes, someone else needs to shut down Quark so that the crashed user can log in, log out, then log back in. Only then can the other person check their license back out.

In an emergency, shut down the server! I recently ran into a situation where two people had crashed and logged back in. They now had four licenses out between them. I tried to call our office so I could get a license, but there was no reply. In emergency situations, I recommend shutting down the QLA server app on the server, and restarting it. None of the people who currently have Quark running will be kicked off, and the QLA server gets a fresh start. This way you can begin checking licenses out again.

And here’s one more bit of advice that may save you some serious headaches. We also have laptops we bring to client sites so that the client can work off our machines. If you install Quark and put in the right server information, this is not enough to ensure you will have a running copy of Quark when you arrive at the client. The laptop must have access to the server to be able to activate the license for the copy on that laptop. However, you cannot always count on your client having Internet access. Since this will be the first time Quark is launched on these machines, it will need to find the server. Also, since you will not be at your office to see how many licenses are currently checked out, I recommend launching Quark when you install it, and then safely quitting it before you bring the machines out of the building. This is because since it has already connected to the server, even if you don’t have Internet access to connect to the IP address of the sever, Quark will run from the emergency key, which will allow you to use the program for a limited amount of time.

I hope these bits of my QLA knowledge helps you, and if you have any other QLA info you’d like to share please feel free post your comments below.