Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SugarCRM 101: Named vs. Concurrent Users

It is not uncommon to engage in conversations related to the manner in which SugarCRM licenses function. The topic usually surfaces while attempting to determine the specific license count one must purchase for a commercial implementation of SugarCRM, such as Professional, Corporate or Enterprise Edition. 

A proper user count ensures one is not paying for too many licenses, nor purchasing too few. But determining the proper user count is sometimes a bit tricky, given the various ways in which licenses function from vendor to vendor, or in the case of SugarCRM from one edition of the application to another.

Fortunately, there is nothing complicated about the subject and is easily explained with some simple real world usage examples, which is what we will be examining in this article.

First off, if you are intending on using SugarCRM Community Edition, there is no need to worry about user licenses. Community Edition can be used in conjunction with as many users as your hardware resources will permit. However, if you are considering a commercial edition of SugarCRM, including Professional, Corporate or Enterprise, you do need to take user licenses into consideration.

All the commercial editions of SugarCRM utilize user licenses which are said to be named licenses. This means that if one buys a 3 user license, one can only define 3 active users to access the system. For example, Angel, Mike and John could be the 3 named users that consume those licenses. 

Any of those 3 users is free to login from any workstation, but only a single workstation. That is, user John cannot login to SugarCRM from the computer at his desk and then walk across the office to the reception desk and also login from that workstation as John. John would need to login as a different user from the reception desk, at which point he would consume a second license and only permit 1 other user to login. Should John login as himself at the reception desk, his connection to SugarCRM established at his desktop computer will be severed. 

What if needed a fourth user to login? While it is possible to define a fourth active user within the system, you must purchase a fourth license in order to legally utilize it. SugarCRM will actually alert you to the fact of this licensing violation, and yes, the folks at SugarCRM Headquarters are made aware of the fact. Of course, the fourth license is only necessary if you anticipate your usage will be such that all four users will regularly access the system. 

A different scenario one might encounter is one where a fourth user needs to be added, but one of the three already existing users will no longer utilize SugarCRM. In those situations, it is not necessary to purchase a fourth license. Instead, one sets the retiring user to inactive and we define a new, active user for the fourth individual. 

This license model may differ from other models you may have encountered, namely, concurrent usage modules. Under such licensing models, the number of active users is not important, but instead, the number of simultaneously logged in users is of importance. Those of you that have used GoldMine should be familiar with the concept. Said model allows one to define any given number of users for any license size, for example, 20 active users for a 3 user license, but only 3 of them can ever be logged in at any given time. Which three is irrelevant. 

SugarCRM does not follow this principle, beyond ensuring that the same user is not connected from multiple computers.

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