Licensing SAP Business Objects

Licensing SAP Business Objects BO BI – Understanding Your Options.

How does SAP software licensing work again? Right: it is based on two licensing components: package licenses and named user licenses. SAP offers a down to earth, the easy understandable licensing model for SAP Business Objects BO BI. No more CPU’s – bye-bye cores! In general, if an individual uses SAP Business Objects BI (SAP BO BI) solutions in a display-only manner, a named user license is not required. In that case, only the package license is needed.

OK. Only a package license is required if display only is needed. But package licenses come with metrics. The package license for SAP BO BI is available through two metrics: “concurrent session” and “user”. These metrics are offered as options. You can decide which one (or both) to use.

“You have a certain flexibility when licensing SAP BO BI: you can choose the concurrent session metric, the user metric or a combination.”

SAP Business Objects

SAP BO BI license types

When talking about SAP BO BI licensing, a referral is often made to a parking lot with two types of parking spaces: the ones with a license plate and the ones without.

Parking spaces with a license plate can be compared to “user” licenses. The parking space is assigned to one car and only the car with the identical license plate is allowed to park there. No other car can use the spot. The parking space for that particular car is available 24/7.

The other parking spaces (without license plate attached) can be freely used by all other visitors. Only one rule applies: if the car park is full, no new car can enter (and it has to wait outside until another car leaves). This is exactly the way “concurrent sessions” work.

Concurrent Sessions

Easy and down to earth comprehensible: concurrent session (CS) licensing limits the system to a fixed number of concurrent sessions. If administrators set-up 1000 users in the Central Management Console (CMC) with connection type “concurrent session” but the system is limited to 250 user logins at the same time (250 CS), the next CS user (251rst) that attempts to log in, will receive an error message. Auch! You see, CS licenses do not guarantee access to a system. Of course, when a user logs off, another user is allowed to consume that license. When purchasing these licenses, you should estimate (based on historical data, if possible) the number of defined users that could log on to the system at the same time.

Three important remarks:

One single user can consume multiple sessions if he uses multiple access points at the same time (like the BI Launchpad, BI Mobile or Live Office).
CS licenses are specific to a single deployment. This means they can’t be shared across multiple deployments.

Depending on when you purchased your SAP BO solution, you may not have access to CSS. In that case, you’ll need a conversion to the new licensing model that supports CSS.

“Concurrent session licenses do not guarantee access to a system.”

User Licenses

Within user licensing, each individual must be set up in the CMC to access the software with connection type “named user”. In this case, the individual is licensed. This type of licenses guarantees access. Just to be clear: individuals whose connection is covered by user licenses do not consume concurrent session licenses. User licenses are not specific to a single deployment. This means they can be shared across multiple deployments.

Needing more than display only?

All right. No problem: it can happen that some individuals require additional rights beyond display only (think about your administrators or query builders). In that case, SAP offers three named user licenses that may be licensed in addition to the package license:

“SAP Business Expert User”
“SAP Business Analytics Professional User”
“SAP Business Intelligence (BI) Limited User”

Take away message

Choose the most appropriate metric or a mixture of both. Divide your user group into users who would need 24/7 access and those who only need it frequently. Estimate, based on historical data, to determine the usage levels at any one moment. Define your needs carefully. Do not forget to check your license key!

If you agree on a limited number of Concurrent Sessions and Users but your license key received from SAP says ‘unlimited’, you should operate by the contract, even if the system appears to allow you more. Do not over buy. You can always buy more, based on your ongoing assessment of usage and demand.