What is a Lease License?

A Lease License is a metric we at Sassafras Software created. It is meant to bridge the gap between the two most common license types, Node Lock and Concurrent Licenses (described in greater depth here), taking the positive aspects of both while eliminating the negative. The idea is that when a client uses a product, it requires a license – just like for a Floating license. However, once the product has been quit, the client still holds a license for a certain duration (the lease period). If they do not use the product again, the license is automatically revoked at the termination of the lease period.

The result is that peak demand is higher than for a Concurrent Use License but lower than for Node Lock. The Lease License measures habitual users of the product, but still reacts to users who stop needing a license altogether. Think of a Lease License with a 1 month lease as a measure of how many computers use the license over the course of any given month. This metric is sensitive not only to the number of computers using a product in the calendar month of October, but also the number of computers using the license from October 10 to November 10 … or the 18th to the 18th. By holding the license for a month after each quit, it is guaranteed that you cannot choose a one month time frame where more than the specified number of licenses have been used.

We implemented this license type in part because we thought it could make sense for our own product. Client computers within K2 can be set to Leased, and if they stop communicating with KeyServer, after a maximum lease of 1 month, they will automatically be set to Dormant, and will stop consuming a license for K2. Note that in our case we actually have some shorter lease durations depending on what type of activity occurs on the client, and what service the KeyServer provides for that client.

We also believe this would be a great license type for a lot of other software products. We have never come across licensing terms that match this concept precisely, but a lot of common licenses come close. Read more about how Lease Licensing is relevant to Microsoft, Adobe, and Bentley. Of these three examples, Bentley actually implements a license which is very very close to a Lease License. Read more about it in the full post about Bentley.

In the greater world of Software though, our Lease License hasn’t caught on. We certainly haven’t tried to champion it – we’re usually too busy implementing world-class Software Asset Management software. For all of our customers though, you have the power. Talk to software publishers about this model. Ask for it during contract negotiation. It makes too much sense to ignore. It is difficult or impossible to enforce without the technology to automate it, but the concept is easy and intuitive – and we have the technology! If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact us.

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