What Sitecore licensing model is best for your business?
An organisation’s requirements dictate the Sitecore licensing options. Firstly, you must determine what your objectives are in your digital strategy and what you need Sitecore to do to help you achieve them.
Sitecore licensing structure
The licencing structure is designed to tailor the best fit for your business. This is done through a layered approach of license type, band and then tiers. Since the release of Sitecore 8.1, the following options were introduced to the Sitecore licensing model:
xManagement: This is aimed at businesses who aren’t quite ready for all the features of the Sitecore Experience Platform and only need a CMS facility. They can get onto Sitecore at an earlier stage in their digital maturity or when they’re restricted by budget.
xPlatform: This is for organisations that are dedicated to their digital transformation and require the benefits of a wider Sitecore features portfolio, such as Sitecore analytics, Sitecore Cortex and Sitecore Personalisation.
xCommerce: This band is for organisations looking to deliver great shopping experiences. Features benefit lifetime customer relationship management and enhancing user engagement.
Once you’ve chosen which of these fits your organisation, your licensing is tailored further using a five-tiered model.
Sitecore licensing tiers
Tiers take account of the number of production and non-production environments you need. In the past, Sitecore licences limited the number of servers that can be built into a production or non-production environment.
Before Sitecore 8 this worked really well. However, the architectural changes that started in 8 and have accelerated through 9 mean that even a small PaaS Sitecore installation can contain more than 10 “servers”.
To address this, Consumption licencing now deals in “environments”. Your production environment, under load, can scale horizontally to as many servers as it needs to without the risk of being in breach of licence. So to assess the correct tier for your needs, you need to consider how many production and non-production installations you need.
You may need more than one production environment depending on the nature of your business or how you wish to deal with resilience or risk mitigation during deployment. Essentially you need to consider how many separate content stores you need as this is probably the most simple way to understand what constitutes an “environment”.
Non-production environments include:
- CI / CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery)
The tiered Sitecore licencing also takes into account the number of users that’ll be using your Sitecore installation at the same time. Each tier comes with an entry number of server installations and users. Additional installation licenses and concurrent user permissions can be bought, up to each tier’s limit.
Organisations can also choose print and commerce add-ons for both xManagement and xPlatform. Plus an email add-on for xPlatform only.
Licensing for cloud hosting
Organisations that are in the process of purchasing Sitecore or have recently done so will likely have a consumption-based licence. This is great news for cloud hosting options, that range from IaaS to PaaS solutions.
Consumption licenses are a popular choice for organisations that prefer to budget as an annual expense or have unpredictable traffic patterns as the nature of the licence with the cloud has excellent scalability potential.
A perpetual license, which is deployed on-premises is also available but doesn’t have the scalability or flexibility capabilities that come with a cloud hosted solution. This Sitecore licensing is more suited to organisations that approach software purchases as a capital investment or up-front cost.
How much does Sitecore licensing cost?
Sitecore licensing fees are based on a few different aspects. These can include:
- the number of Sitecore user accounts needed
- the volume of website traffic
- how many environments the organisation requires the license for
Ongoing Sitecore licensing costs are then a percentage of the initial fee (payable to Sitecore) that’s paid annually. As each Sitecore project has its own add-on product requirements and the level of Sitecore support is widely varied for different organisations, Sitecore pricing reflects this. If you’d like a more detailed estimate, contact us today.
Traditional Sitecore licensing models
Organisations that prefer to budget for a platform as a capital investment or an up-front cost might be better suited to a perpetual license. This license is deployed on premise and is licensed by the number of Sitecore instances.
Organisations that don’t need the horizontal scalability capabilities that are available from a cloud hosted solution, could consider this Sitecore licensing model. If you like to know more about this model or if you can upgrade your perpetual license, get in contact to discuss your current situation and next steps.
The right Sitecore licensing for your organisation
There’s a lot to consider in any digital transformation project and speaking to an experienced Sitecore partner is advisable to make sure you make the best choice. We’re a Sitecore Platinum Partner and work exclusively with Sitecore.
Contact us if you’d like to talk through your licensing options in more detail with one of our specialists, we’re happy to help.