Customer Care: Riverbed Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

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Flexible and Auto-Licensing

  1. What is the difference between flexible- and auto-licensing?
    • Auto: automatically contacts the Riverbed Licensing Portal, which then downloads and installs the licenses automatically
    • Flexible: a manual way to manage Steelhead appliance licenses, model configurations. You have on option to select which license model you want for you unit I received my appliance, but it is in status "Critical".  For more information, please refer to KB S13941
  2. How do I install my license keys?
    • Check to make sure you have a network connection.  The license keys should be downloaded/installed automatically by the appliances (in most cases) on the next scheduled auto-retrieval call.  You can also click on Fetch Updates Now from Administration > Maintenance> Licenses in the Management Console to initiate the auto-retrieval call.
    • If you are behind a firewall, you will need to visit the Licensing Portal to download and install your license keys.
    • If you are an existing Riverbed customer with a Support account, you can also visit the Support Portal to view/download your license keys.
  3. Why do I need to visit the Licensing Portal if I have network connection from my appliance?
    • In instances where you have different software levels of the same model (i.e. buying L/M/H of EX1160) on the same order, you will need to go to the Licensing Portal to map the specific serial number to the specific software level.  After the association/mapping has been done, the appliance can auto-install the license on the next scheduled auto-retrieval call.
    • You will only need to supply the serial number of one of the units on the sales order when you visit the Licensing Portal.  All other serial numbers of the same SKU on the same sales order will be listed in the Licensing Portal for you to easily perform the mapping.
    • As an example: you buy ten EXA-01160-B030 on one sales order with three LIC-EXA-1160-L, two LIC-EXA-1160-M, and five LIC-EXA-1160-H.  When you receive the appliances, you will need to find the serial number of one of the ten boxes to enter into the Licensing Portal.  Once the information for one of the boxes is entered, the Licensing Portal will display all ten boxes in the user interface (UI).
  4. Do I need to manually install all of my licenses for EX/CX/xx60 Cascade HW appliances?
    • CIFS, MAPI, and BASE licenses will continue to be pre-installed at the factory on the appliances.
    • MSPEC, GRANITE, SCPS, CAA (analytic), FLOW (Cascade Gateway) licenses can be auto-licensed/retrieved by the appliance once network connection is established.
  5. Will auto-licensing work if I use a web proxy?
    • Auto-licensing can be configured to work with your web proxy available in RiOS 7.0 and above.
  6. What happens if Auto-licensing fails?
    • An error message is displayed in the Management Console.  You can try fetching again by clicking on Fetch Updates Now from Administration > Maintenance > Licenses in the Management Console.
    • Navigate to the Licenses page and manually license your product.
    • Call Support or open a support case.
  7. Can I get my licenses via the Support portal?
    • Yes, if you are a current customer
  8. Can I still get licenses via email?
    • Yes you can do this at the Licensing Portal
  9. Are Eval license keys supported?
    • Yes, Eval appliances, once connected to the network, can auto-retrieve the license keys.  Eval license keys are not pre-generated at order fulfillment so that eval expiration "countdown" starts when keys are generated. 
    • The SteelHead primary interface requires internet access to complete activation.  See KB article S30770 for SteelHead NG-VCX activation.
  10. How do I get licenses if I am behind a firewall?
    • Via email - then copy to the machine
    • Download from the portal to an XML file and copy to SCC/CMC behind firewall (available in CMC 8.0 and above)
  11. When will auto-license by supported by the SCC/CMC?  How will it make it easier to maintain my SteelHead license keys?
    • CMC 8.0
    • CMC/SCC will auto-license the Steelheads that it manages by making the auto-licensing calls on behalf of the Steelheads.  Once the CMC receives the license keys returned for each of the Steelhead it manages, the CMC will automatically install those license keys on the Steelheads.
    • In the case of mixed-order (i.e. multiple software levels purchased on the same order for the same model), the user needs to visit the Licensing Portal to assign the specific software license to the specific hardware serial number prior to the auto-licensing calls.
  12. Which other products do not currently support auto-licensing?
    • xx50, CMC/SMC hardware appliances, Interceptor, Shark Appliances - license keys are factory installed
    • Granite Core - license keys will be emailed to the customer
  13. What if I have a large order and am behind a firewall?
    • For a small fee (charged per appliance) you can get license keys installed at the factory (Factory Licensing - LIC-FCT-INST) except VSEN-VSP.
  14. Can I disable auto-licensing?
    • Yes.  You can do so from command line with "no license autolicense enable."
  15. How can I request SSL license keys? Can my SSL keys be factory installed?
    • Riverbed recently reclassified the SSL encryption license to be classified the same way as the SteelHead appliance.  Effective June 3, 2016 Riverbed will no longer require an additional application process for SSL. SSL licenses will now be configured as a build time key.
Perpetual- vs. Subscription-based Licensing
  • Perpetual: Licenses are good for the lifetime of the product.  Appliances do not need to communicate with the Riverbed licensing server.
  • Subscripton: Licenses must be renewed on a yearly (or other time period) basic. The time frame depends on the product.

Next Generation Virtual VCX Steelhead (NG-VCX) CLMF-based Licensing

  1. Next Generation Virtual VCX Steelhead (NG-VCX) run subscription-based licensing, starting with the RiOS 9.6.1 releaseThe Next Generation line of VCX models appear as VCX-10, VCX-20, etc, instead of VCX255U, VCX755H, etc. and rely on the Common Licensing Management Framework. They are not token based.  The Next Generation Models of Virtual SteelHead include:
    • VCX-030
  2. How to remediate duplicate NG-VCX serial numbers
  3. For more information on Next Generation Licenses installation and Support ID identification, please refer to S30770 and S30864.
  4. For more information on token- vs. CLMF-based licensing, please refer to KB S35748  (internal only)

EX & SteelFusion Edge (formerly known as Granite)

  1. Can I purchase EX and add on Granite later?
    • Yes, you can always configure your EX box and then order the Add-On Granite kit later.
  2. Can I purchase EX and eval Granite?
    • Yes, you can configure your EX box with Eval Granite (extra memory for Granite will be shipped with EXA-560)
  3. Can I upgrade from "G" (Granite dedicated) to L/M/H on EX systems?
    • Yes
  4. Can I upgrade from "G" (Granite dedicated) to VH on EX systems?
    • No - due to differences in "VH" hardware
  5. Can I order CX and add Granite?
    • No - due to hardware configurations

Token-based Licenses

  1. Which product lines are licensed via Tokens?
    • Virtual SteelHead (VSH, VCX)
    • Virtual Granite Core (VGC)
    • Virtual SMC (SMC-VRT, VSMC-VSP)
    • Virtual Shark (VSK)
    • Stingray (STM, SPX)
    • Stingray Aptimizer (SSX/SWX)
  2. Can tokens be auto-licensed?
    • Yes, on selected models. Auto-licensing support for tokens is now available for Virtual Steelhead products (VSH/VCX) with 8.0.2 release of RiOS. For all other virtual token products, token activation is still a 2-step process. We are working with all other Engineering teams to adopt auto-licensing for Tokens in future releases. 
  3. If my Virtual Machine (VM) changes (ie. disk crash, etc), how do I get another license key for my Virtual SteelHead instance? 
    • Starting RiOS 8.0.2 release and onward, you can use the same token to redeem against a different VM. When you move your VSH/VCX instance to a different VM, you can use the same token to generate a new activation code/license request key and redeem for a new set of license keys. However, there is a lifetime limit of 3 times allowed where you can re-use the same token to redeem against a different VM. Once you have reached the max number allowed, you will need to work with Support team to provide business justification for any further VM moves. Please note that this functionality is only available on Virtual Steelhead (VSH/VCX) products. 
  4. A customer is trying to active his/her token but is getting this error: "Appliance is unitialized due to a response from the Portal"

Solution: Make sure the token was ordered under the correct customer account that matches the Sales Order. If there is a mismatch, the Cloud Portal will respond with this error but it is not a technical issue.

Air-gapped Appliances
Air-gapping refers to appliances that do not have internet access or a proxy server cannot be configured, both to allow for communication back to the licensing server.
Perpetual licenses are typically used for such systems.


  • What is the RiOS support for new systems?
    • CX - RiOS 7.0.1 and 6.5.4 onwards
    • EX - RiOS 7.0.2 onwards
  • What upgrade paths are supported?
    • MSPEC upgrade paths:
      • CX: All upgrades are supported except to the CX755H and CX1555H
      • EX: All upgrades are supported except to EX1160VH and EX1260VH
    • Granite Memory Upgrades
      • 1260-2: Memory upgrade kit from 24GB to 32GB
      • 1260-4: Memory upgrade kit from 32GB to 64GB
      • Extra memory for EX560
  • Can you upgrade from CX to EX?
    • No, due to different hardware configurations
  • Can you upgrade from 2TB to 4TB for EX1260?
    • No
  • Is PFS supported?
    • No
  • NIC's
    • What is the maximum number of ports on EX systems?
      • Total: 4.  Either four included copper ports or 2/4 PCI Fiber ports (SX/LX)
    • Can I configure Fibre NIC's on EX560/760?
      • No
    • Can I use the xx50 NIC's in the new platforms?
      • Yes, only three NIC's carry over - 1GbE S X, LX, 100 Mb FX
    • When will 10GbE be available?
      • At a later date
  • Drives
    • Are the drives in the EX560/760 front swappable?
      • No HDD's are internal and can only be replaced by opening the top cover
      • The SDD cannot be replaced, system replaced on failure
    • What is the fault tolerance model for Storage?
      • RAID for disc drives and Fault Tolerant Segstore (FTS) on SSD's where applicable
  • Are Cold spares available?
    • Yes. When you order the appliance, configure it with the LBL-COLD-SPARE sku and the unit may be ordered without Support and Licenses. Cold Spare unit is an unit priced for the HW without Support and License keys and therefore there is no further discount given.
  • Are there B/W limits? Where can I find specification sheets?
  • Will the XX55/60 be available in the trade up program?
    • Yes
  • Are license upgrades available for CX7055?
    • License upgrades are not available.  If you would like to upgrade your CX7055, contact your sales representative.
  • Can I move the license keys between different HW appliances?
    • No. All Riverbed HW license keys are generated and therefore restricted for use on the specific serial number tied to the HW appliance.
  • Can I move the license keys between different VM for virtual products?
    • Once a token is redeemed, the license keys are tied to the VM. If you use VMotion to move VMs, the same license keys will work. However, if the underlying VM changes, you will need to work with Riverbed Support for an approved RMA.  A virtual RMA will issue a new token so that you can license another VM.
  • Can I move/re-allocate user pack licenses purchased for my SMC across different SMC instances?
    • No. The license keys for the user pack licenses are tied to the Virtual Serial Number of the Virtual SMC instance and therefore cannot be moved/re-allocated across instances. However, an enhancement made by the Riverbed Engineering team allows sharing of SMC licenses across different SMC instances configured as backup and failovers.
  • Can I move/re-allocate management pack licenses purchased for my CMC across different CMC instances?
    • Management license keys (CMC-SWA/HWA-MGT-10) are generated for specific serial number or virtual serial number of the CMC instance. Therefore, it is not possible to move/re-allocate management packs (CMC-SWA/HWA-MGT-10) from one instance to another. 

 Virtual SMC

  • What is the difference between VSMC-VSP and SMC-VRT-V100?
    • VSMC-VSP is Virtual SMC that can be installed on the Riverbed EX appliances that are running VSP. For customers that would like to install Virtual SMC on their own HW running VMWare ESX, SMC-VRT-V100 should be ordered.
  • What version of RiOS was shipped with VSP? Which Virtual SMC should I order?
    • RiOS version < 8.0.0 was shipped by Riverbed which had VSP (appliances shipped before mid-Dec2012/Jan2013. If an EX appliance is running VSP, you need to order VSMC-VSP.
  • What version of RiOS is shipped with ESX? Which Virtual SMC should I order?
    • RiOS version >= 8.0.0 is now shipped by Riverbed on all EX boxes which have ESX (appliances shipped after mid-Dec2012/Jan2013). If an EX appliance is running ESX, you need to order SMC-VRT-V100.
  • If I am a customer that ordered an EX appliance previously running VSP (before mid-Dec2012/Jan2013) and I upgraded to RiOS 8.0.0+, what should I do?
    • If you have purchased VSMC-VSP prior to the upgrade, your VSMC-VSP will continue to work after the RiOS upgrade.  During migration of the VM, check the option to preserve the UUID from the source VM.
    • If you do not have Virtual SMC on your EX appliance previously running VSP and you have since then upgraded to RiOS 8.0.0+ and if you would like to order Virtual SMC now, you need to order SMC-VRT-V100.

Licensing Summary for Appliances







Auto-Licensed from


Email of

License Key

User Must Manually



EXA-XX60, CXA-XX55 and configured options

Yes, with Factory

Licensing option

Yes Yes    
Cascade CAX-XX60 and configured options

Yes, with Factory

Licensing option

Yes Yes    

AddOn/Upgrade license keys on XX60 and xx55

Appliances (i.e. SCPS, Granite, CAA, etc.

N/A Yes Yes Yes  
SHA-xx50 Appliances Yes        

SHA-xx50 configured options

(i.e. RSP, SCPS, RAID, etc.)

      Yes Yes

AddOn/Upgrade license keys on SHA-xx50

Appliances (i.e. RSP, SCPS, RAID, etc.)

N/A     Yes Yes
SMC Appliances Yes        
CMC Appliances Yes        
User Pack AddOn for SMC/CMC N/A     Yes Yes
Interceptor Appliances Yes        
Older Cascade Appliances Yes        
Shark Appliances (CSK-XXXX) Yes        
SHA-xx20 Appliances Yes        


  1. How long are my eval keys available?
    • Depending on the product, here are the duration periods for the eval license keys
      Product Eval Duration
      EX/CX 60 days
      xx60 Cascade 180 days
      Cloud Steelhead 45 days
      Cloud Steelhead Accelerator 45 days
      Xirrus WiFi 365 days
      Other software/virtual products (i.e. VSH, VSK, Virtual SMC, etc. 90 days
  2. Is internet access required?
    For EVAL licenses only, the SteelHead primary interface requires internet access to complete activation.  See KB article S30770 for SteelHead NG-VCX activation.
  3. Can I request an extension for my evaluations?
    • It depends on the product.  Some products can be extended by accessing the serial number through the Riverbed License Portal, and clicking Request Extension.  Your Riverbed sales representative can also assist with requesting evaluation extensions.
  4. Do I need to remove my old evaluation license key prior to installing the new evaluation extension license key?
    • It depends on the type of license key installed. All eval extension keys have a start date set to the expiration date of your old evaluation key. For most keys, you can install the new eval extension license key in addition to the old eval license key already on the appliance. After the old eval key expires, the new one will be preferred by the product. Removing the old evaluation key may cause Steelhead appliances to stop optimization.
    • The exceptions to this are VBASE, HPBASE, WWABASE, SMCVE and GCBASE.  To extend the evaluation you need to remove these licenses before installing the new one.
  5. How can I tell when my evaluation appliance is about to expire?
    • You can go to Configure > Maintenance > Licenses from the Steelhead management console to view all license keys installed on the appliance; expiration dates will be displayed.  Two weeks prior to your evaluation expiration, the health status of the Steelhead will be changed to "Healthy [Needs Attention]".  A License(s) Expiring alarm will also be triggered.
  6. How can I tell when my evaluation appliance has expired?
    • Depending on the feature that has expired, other alarms may trigger at the same time as the License(s) Expired alarm.  If it's the MSPEC or SH10BASE license that expired, the Appliance Unlicensed alarm will trigger and change the health to Critical - the health state is that of the most severe alarm.  For other features that have expired, the health status may change to "Degraded".  A License(s) Expired alarm will also be triggered.
  7. What happens to my appliance when my evaluation license keys expire?
    • Steelhead:
      • MSPEC on EX/CX Appliances - the sport process which is responsible for optimization will be stopped causing the optimization to be stopped immediately.  The Steelhead will perform a daily check to see if the primary license has expired.  If yes, it will go to bypass mode automatically.
      • CIFS/MAPI/BASE - these license keys are factory installed and do not expire.  However, once the MSPEC key expires, the Steelhead will go to bypass mode automatically.
      • Granite - the edge process stops and you lose your LUN (storage device).
    • Cascade
      • Gateway - the appliance will stop reporting flow information to the Profiler and go into Offline status.  The flow forwarding feature will also be disabled.  The appliance and user interface will be accessible, but the Cascade services will be stopped.
      • Sensor - the appliance will stop reporting flow information to the Profiler and go into Offline status.
      • Profiler - the appliance will stop processing and logging flow information.  This means it will stop running analytics, security heuristics, and rule based events. The appliance and user interface will be accessible, but the Cascade services will be stopped.  You will no longer be able to run reports, although all the collected data and saved reports will remain.  Adding a valid key will bring the appliance back into service, but there will be a gap in the data while the appliance was in the unlicensed state.
      • Analytics - all analytic and services policies will stop running.  The user will not be allowed to add any additional policies.  The Profiler will continue to log flow information and reports will be accessible.  Adding a valid key will resume running analytics and all them to be created again.


In the scenario below, the appliance will auto-retrieve all license keys and install automatically

Sales Order Number SKU Order Qty
SO123 EXA-01160-B010 10
  LIC-EXA-1160-L 10
  LIC-GRANITE-1160 10
  LIC-SCPS-006 10

In the scenario below, you will need to visit the Licensing Portal to map serial numbers to software license levels.  After you have completed the mapping/activation, the appliance can still auto-retrieve the license keys and install automatically.

Sales Order # SKU Order Qty
SO345 EXA-01160-B010 10
  LIC-EXA-1160-L 5
  LIC-EXA-1160-M 3
  LIC-EXA-1160-H 2

In the scenario below, you will need to visit the Licensing Portal to map/activate the EXA-01160-B010 boxes.  However, you do not need to map/activate EXA-01160-B020 because these boxes can only be licensed as VH.

Sales Order # SKU Order Qty
SO789 EXA-01160-B010 10
  EXA-01160-B020 4
  LIC-EXA-1160-L 5
  LIC-EXA-1160-M 3
  LIC-EXA-1160-H 2
  LIC-EXA-1160-VH 4
NOTICE: Riverbed® product names have changed. Please refer to the Product List for a complete list of product names.
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