OCR SDKs and Virtualization

FlexiCapture Engine, FineReader Engine, Cloud OCR SDK
9.x, 10, 11
Licensing, Integration

Why Virtualization


  • Virtualization is becoming more and more popular because it makes administration more flexible and less hardware dependant.
  • Hardware is becoming cheaper: Having 16 cores or more and 64GB+ of RAM is now affordable!
  • Virtualization allows sharing hardware for several operating systems on high performance servers, so virtual machines can help to increase efficiency and power consumption.


  • Security
    • There are now more “break-in” points such as the hypervisor and virtual networking layer
    • A compromised VM image can also be propagated easily with virtualization technology.
  • Administration
    • While there are less physical machines to maintain there may be more machines in aggregate.
    • Such maintenance may require new skills and familiarity with software that administrators otherwise would not need.
  • License Management
    • Hardware simulation makes it a tough task to protect software, for example: 4 instances of Windows may also require also 4 separate licenses
    • “Simplified piracy” by duplicating or resetting the server
  • Performance experience may vary depending on the type of tasks
    • CPU intense tasks will show slower performance on virtualized environments
    • OCR uses 100% of CPU time!
  • Different IT administration experience needed
    • The system architecture has to be clearly defined and checked over to have a stable system

Virtualization & Licensing in different OCR SDK Versions


Version 10 & 11

  • From an ABBYY EU licensing/contract point of view Version 10/11 treats a virtual machine in the same way as physical machine: One machine = one license per running instance
  • Standalone software licences “include” VM support,
    • when the Version 10 license agreement between ABBYY and the SDK licensee was signed
    • Old contracts have to be updated, otherwise the VM option will not be added.
    • If an application with an ABBYY Runtime License is moved from one VM-Host to another, re-activation might required, to make sure that this works, deactivate it on the old host.
  • Network Licenses
    • “Only” the Network License Manager (NLM) has to be installed with a license - then this Windows service shares the license for all application instances in the network
    • The NLM does requires only low resources on the machine it is installed on.
      • The NLM on a physical machine can be used with a software license key
      • The NLM can be moved to another machine, when the software key is prior deactivated
      • The NLM on a virtual Machine has to be operated with a USB dongle
  • Network Licenses Manager Benefits
    • Network Licenses have no seat limit → so the processing can be scaled up at any time
    • The running instances of your software can run on a physical or virtual machine
    • Licenses with a page count have no CPU Core (and seat) limitation (V9 and newer)!
    • CPU Core network licenses can be distributed in the network (physical and/or virtual)
      (V10 Win only)

Version 9.0

  • From Version 9.0 of the SDKs the protection subsystem, is able to detect the installation on virtual machines. There are different ways to run OCR applications with ABBYY SDKs inside a VM:
    • USB License dongles can be used when they are “routed” to the VM.
  • Software licences can not be used on VMs by default, but
    • ABBYY can/will enable VM support, when the license contract with the developer contains the required VM clause
    • Software Licences still require initial activation, the re-activation might fail when the VM is moved.

Version 8.0 and earlier

  • ABBYY SDKs Version 8.0 (2005) and older SDKs brought to market before virtualization came up.
    • ABBYY Runtime Licenses ((Win) at that time were mostly shipped on USB License Dongles. When the dongle drivers are installed correctly and the VM is properly configured so that it is allowed to access the physical USB port, your applications with FineReader Engine inside should work
    • Software Licenses were not tested in virtual machines and on Cloud installations ;-)
    • Version 8.x is already out of sales and support.

See also:

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