The software industry is constantly changing. One of the recent trends, particularly in CAD software, is a move to named-user licensing where each individual user has a license assigned to their individual email address. This has become the primary mode of delivery for vendors like Autodesk and Adobe, and covers popular products like Inventor, Fusion, AutoCAD, Illustrator and Photoshop.
Alternatively, shared network licensing, where licenses are temporarily pulled from a central pool as users log in and out of the software, is a great option for many medium and large design teams. The nature of using CAD software is that the amount of time an individual user spends inside SOLIDWORKS will vary depending on the phase of the project. Additionally, many users within a company might have a need to dip in and out of the CAD software to review designs. Network licensing allows these needs to be balanced out at a much cheaper cost than buying a single license for each necessary individual.
A project manager, for example, may need to review CAD files on a project for a couple of hours a day over a two week span but then may not engage with SOLIDWORKS for a couple of months after that. Network licensing is a flexible solution to empower this situation.
Autodesk recently announced that network licensing will no longer be available from them. This has understandably caused concern to many companies, as it is a popular and cost-effective way to use CAD software.
SOLIDWORKS Licensing Options
While many other vendors have removed or greatly restricted the availability of alternatives to named-user licensing, we in the SOLIDWORKS channel believe it is important to provide a variety of licensing options. This means that companies can choose the best option to get the most out of their software investment.
SOLIDWORKS network licensing has long been one of the best deals in the industry. There is a one-time flat fee to establish the network license and move any current standalone licenses to the pool, and then new licenses and subscriptions cost just a few percent more than a standalone license, where some vendors charge up to three times as much.
Of course, network licensing isn’t for everyone. SOLIDWORKS maintains a range of licensing options, from perpetual to term, and named-user, machine-locked and network-based licensing options. Check out our article, "Everything You Need to Know About SOLIDWORKS Licensing Options," for more info on those.
What About AutoCAD?
The recent announcement from Autodesk stating that network licensing is no longer available for AutoCAD has been a shock to many organizations. For many companies that have switched to 3D CAD, licenses of AutoCAD are retained to review important legacy drawings, send converted drawings to suppliers and collaborators, and prepare models for production. Under these modes, it is often used occasionally by a large group of users. Having to buy a license for each participating user, as per the new Autodesk policy, would consume more of the software budget than the value seen.
Draftsight represents a viable and cost-effective alternative to AutoCAD. It offers the majority of the same functionality of AutoCAD, and Draftsight Enterprise includes network licensing capability in both perpetual and term-based licenses. You can learn a lot more about Draftsight on our website.
The math is pretty simple. AutoCAD costs $1,690 per user, per year on a named-user plan, whereas Draftsight Enterprise costs $399 per user, and can be shared on a network license among your entire team. So, for the cost of one AutoCAD subscription that enables a single user, you can have four concurrent users running Draftsight simultaneously, with no limit to the number of users that can access the license. There is also no one-time fee to establish a Draftsight network license, but if you already have a SOLIDWORKS network license, it can be hosted from the same location.
If you prefer a perpetual license model, that’s available at $499 per license, with an annual maintenance cost of $299.
If you're interested in exploring your software licensing options, contact us at Hawk Ridge Systems and our team would love to have a conversation with you. Thanks for reading!