Grey Matter's Software Licensing Showcase

Software Licensing

Grey Matter focuses on providing the best software and licensing advice to ensure our customers have the right software at the right price, correctly licensed.

Why Grey Matter?
  • Grey Matter has been advising customers on software licensing since 1983, and has a dedicated team of licensing specialists.
  • Some publisher licensing schemes can be complicated due to the desire to give customers flexibility and choice – always talk to us if you wish to license more than one copy of your chosen software, or you are adding additional licenses to those you have already purchased.
Glossary of Licensing Terms

Below we have listed some of the common licensing terms that you may come across. If you would like more detailed information on Microsoft licensing schemes, please refer to our Microsoft Licensing Showcase.


The right to install software on one or more computers or servers. The EULA determines how a licensee is entitled to use the software. There are various types of licenses, some of which include concurrent, perpetual and named-user.

Perpetual License

A perpetual licence is one which is owned by you indefinitely, as long as the terms of your licence agreement are met.

Subscription License or Term License

A software licensing model in which agreement terms apply for a specific period of time. Once the agreement term has expired, a new subscription license must be purchased or in some cases there is a subscription renewal option to continue using the software.

Concurrent Licensing, Concurrent Use or Concurrency

A license that allows a defined number of users to access a piece of software at the same time. Also known as a floating license. An example of this could be where you have 10 users but only 5 of them ever require access at any one time. When the 6th person tries to access the software it would not allow access unless 1 person logged out or another license was purchased. Note however not all software has this physical restriction and it is sometimes the administrators responsibility to ensure compliance.

CAL (Client Access License)

A licence granting client access to server software. Most publishers allow you to choose between per user or per device, or a mixture of the two.

Per Processor Licensing

A licence that is required for each processor in the server on which software is running.

Per Core Licensing

This is licensed based on the number of cores in a server, and in the case of Microsoft core licensing is subject to a minimum number of cores per processor, please see SQL Server 2014 Licensing.


Maintenance is purchased in addition to a software license, giving you the right to receive the newest version of the software program for a designated period of time. Sometimes known as ‘upgrade protection’.

Support and Maintenance

Support and maintenance is purchased in addition to a software license, giving you the right to receive the newest version of the software program for a designated period of time, and various technical support options direct from the publisher.


A co-termination (co-term) is the process of prorating maintenance, or support, on a customer's licenses so that all expiration dates will be the same for a particular publisher. Not all publishers allow co-terming on maintenance.

Virtualisation and Licensing

In computing, virtualisation means to create a virtual version of a device, or resource, such as a server, storage device, network or even an operating system. Running any software in a virtual environment is always subject to the EULA for that product and use rights vary from publisher to publisher as well as products within a publisher. Please contact us [link to contact us page] to verify the licensing terms for your chosen product if you wish to run it in a virtual environment.

Volume Licensing Agreement

A license agreement that makes purchasing multiple software licences efficient and economical. Discount levels are determined by the number of licenses acquired. VLAs usually allow continued buying at a specified discounted level for a period of time. Software is usually accessed through a portal where all downloads, licences and keys are stored for easier software management.

Full Packaged Product (FPP)

Physical, shrink-wrapped boxes of licensed product, typically a single license. Sometimes called a ‘retail’ license.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) License

OEMs provide software, such as a desktop operating system, preinstalled when you purchase a new computer. System Builders can purchase OEM licensing for Microsoft products. Note that an OEM license is not transferrable from the hardware it was originally purchased with, when the hardware is de-commissioned the software cannot be re-used.

Service Provider Licensing

Offers flexible procurement to service providers wanting to supply fast access to licences for their customers and allows customers to only pay for what they actually use, these are rented licences only and are never owned by the end user or provider.


A new version of a software program intended to replace the old version you own. Typically, upgrades are purchased at a discounted cost.

Competitive Upgrade

Migration from one software title to a competing title from another software publisher.

Cross Grade

Migration from one software title to another title from the same publisher.