What is a Subscription License?
A Subscription License is used to effect a licensing scheme whereby the customer is maintaining a regular payment schedule and the software should mirror this by extending the right to use the software until the end of the currently paid period (which is calculated relative to the commencement date of the contract).
During a given period, the activation of the license yields time-limited access to the software. At the end of that period, the license becomes inactive until a renewal (retrieval of an updated license pertaining to the new period) is completed.
Consider a 1 Month Subscription License issued on 01 Jan 201X: at the end of each monthly period the license is renewed until the end of the next period:
The key point to note is that, irrespective of when the license is activated/renewed, the Expiration Date is calculated relative to the Issue Date and NOT the Activation Date.
Subscription vs Time-Limited Licenses
Unlike a Subscription License, a Time-Limited license will expire after a predefined period calculated relative to the Activation Date, not the Issue Date. Additionally, a Time-Limited license is not renewable and would need to be reissued in order to effect any change to the Expiration Date.
The period of a Software Potential subscription license is denominated in calendar Months (entering 1 year 6 months translates to an 18 calendar month cycle).
At the end of each subscription period, unless Grace Days are set, the licensed software will immediately cease to function and will remain disabled until the license is successful renewed.
In order to smoothly handle delays or other issues with renewal processing, one should strongly consider applying a number of Grace Days to allow the software to remain functional pending the completion of renewal. Note that the Expiration Date still continues to be computed relative to the start of the contract (i.e. the customer does not gain any advantage as a result of a renewal being 'delayed').
By default Subscription Licenses are set to Auto-renew. This means all renewal requests against the Software Potential service will be automatically approved without any intervention by the Licensor. If you wish to explicitly manage the approval of renewal requests then one can disable auto-renewal by unchecking the Auto-Renew checkbox.
Each subscription license has a Start Date which indicates the date on which the first subscription period starts. All subsequent subscription periods will start on an anniversary of the Start Date.
By default the Start Date is set to the Issue Date, the date on which the license was issued. However, it is possible to set the Issue Date explicitly when issuing a license where a date other than the Issue Date is required e.g. to synchronize the subscription period with a date in an external system such as an order date in an ERP/CRM solution.
When a Subscription license is activated, its Expiration Date is set as an offset to the License Start Date.
By default the Start Date is set to the Issue Date (i.e. the date on which the license is created). This ensures the license is valid until the end of the current period, irrespective of when the activation takes place.
The following is an example of how the Expiry Date is set for a 1 Month Subscription License, depending on when the license is activated:
The key point is that the Expiry Date is always calculated from the Start Date, not the Activation Date. This ensures the subscriptions periods are not affected by when the license is activated, and can be synchronized with a commercial subscription maintained in an external system e.g. order or subscription management system.
Subscription License Renewal
At the end of the current subscription period (on Expiration Date plus Grace Days) the subscription license will expire unless renewed.
The runtime must create and submit a renewal request to the Software Potential Activation service; if renewals are permitted the Activation Service will generate and return an updated license file to be installed by the runtime.
While online and offline renewals mechanisms are supported, the use of subscription licenses in offline modes will require manual intervention by the user, similar to the manual activation process. This can be very onerous on the user if the subscription period is shorted than a quarter.
A subscription license can only be renewed when it is in the Grace Period i.e. after its Expiration Date has been reached. Any renewal attempt made before that date will not extend the subscription period.
Typically you want to be in position to approve/control attempted renewals of subscription licenses, to ensure that commercial conditions associated with the renewal have been met e.g. that the required subscription payment has been made by the customer.
Subscription licenses are Auto-renewable by default, i.e., any attempt to renew the license will be automatically approved without any intervention or controls.
If you wish to control renewals of a given license (e.g. approve each renewal based on receipt of a corresponding subscription payment) then you can turn off Auto-renewal for that license. This means you must explicitly approve each renewal of the given license either:
- Manually using the Software Potential license management UI or
- Programmatically via the License Management web service.
Controlling Renewals via Software Potential UI
When you view the details of a Subscription License that has Auto-renewal turned off, the date until which renewals are authorized is shown as the Renewal Authorized Until date. This date initially defaults to one period unit from the license Start Date.
Any renewal request made prior to this date will be fulfilled; any attempted renewal after this date will be refused.
To approve renewals for the selected license, you can adjust the Renewal Authorized Until date by the required number of periods. Clicking the "+" / "-" buttons increments/decrements the date by one subscription period.
In the case of above license extending the Renewal Authorized Until to Sept 14 ensures this license can be renewed for the next period once the current period expires.
You can re-enable Auto-renewal at any point by checking the Auto-Renew checkbox while viewing the license details.