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Concurrent User vs. Per Seat Licenses - The Analogy

Concurrent User Licensing Saves You Time, Money and Hassle

Che de Bruin's avatar

By: Che de Bruin

October 15, 2012 | Inside MicroPact

There are many ways to base software licenses. Two major licensing categories are user-based (number of users accessing the system) and metered (some unit of measure or cycle) and within each of these categories there are a myriad of sub-categories. When it comes to user based models, the question I am asked most often is:

What is the difference between Per Seat and Concurrent User Licenses?

For many years, I would fumble through a very technical, but accurate description of what both are and the differences, only to leave people with more questions. Finally one day I sat down and came up with the simplest and most accurate way of describing the two.

Per Seat License

Sample set of 100 Licenses

Imagine a classroom with 100 chairs, where the classroom represents the software and the chairs literally are the Per Seat users. The classroom, or software, can only hold 100 students, or users. If the 101st students comes along, they cannot register for that class because all the seats are taken. Until one of those chairs becomes available, no other student can register for, let alone attend that class.

Concurrent User Licensing Saves You Time, Money and Hassle

Concurrent User License

Sample set of 40 Licenses

Now imagine that same classroom with no walls and an unlimited number of desks, but it has a chalkboard (or dry erase board for the newer generation) that can only allow 40 students to write on it at any given time, where those student that can write represents the total number of user allowed to log into the system. When the next student comes up to write on that board, they have to wait until one of the other students is done in order for that next individual to start writing.

Never Worry About the Number of User Accounts in Your System

In general, concurrent user licensing is significantly less expensive than per seat licensing.  With concurrent user licensing, you essentially pay for the average number of users who are accessing the system at the same time, instead of paying a fee for every potential user of the system.  Concurrent user licensing allows you to pay based on how many people are using your software, not how many people might use the software.  And this is our incentive for making sure that MicroPact software is extremely useful, not shelfware.

What can you do when you don’t have to worry about Per Seat licensing costs?

  • Make software broadly available across your entire organization, including potential light or infrequent users
  • Retain legacy user accounts for historical reference. Nothing can be more frustrating than accessing data entered by a user that no longer exists in the system.
  • Provide accounts to executives and managers who want “dashboard” access to an application

For user-based software licenses, a big difference between MicroPact and many of our competitors is that we typically recommend and offer licenses based on concurrent users rather than on a per seat basis.

Because our “classrooms” don’t come with walls, administrators don’t have to waste time managing to a specific number of user accounts.

This is just one of the many things MicroPact does differently to serve you better. I’ll be back to blog more about other unique benefits of working with MicroPact in the near future.

About the Author

Che de Bruin is currently Director of Pre-Sales Engineering with MicroPact.


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