Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is software assurance worth while?

CodeGear released RAD Studio 2007 and has announced new pricing. This pricing and their faster release schedule has helped spark some discussion about software assurance (SA) and whether a subscription is worth the cost and risk.

SACalc is a simple application to compare the cost of purchasing Delphi upgrades against SA over time. The prices shown are for RAD Studio 2007. You can find prices for BDS 2006 and Delphi 2007 for Win32 on the shopping site. If you have pricing for older versions, including SA, I'd like to see that, too.

Buying Architect without SA, you pay $3299 up front and $2499 when an update is available, which means you will have spent a total of $5798 by the first upgrade.

Buying Architect with SA costs $4289 ($3299 + 990) up front and $990 annually, totaling $5279 after the first year. This is $519 less than if you were purchasing upgrades.

With 12 months between releases, SA costs less than purchasing upgrades in 8 months for the Architect SKU and 10 months for Enterprise. It takes longer to break even with Professional, at least partly because upgrade cost is proportionally lower compared to the other SKUs. In case someone doesn't like the monthly break down, I have also included the number of upgrades required before breaking even.

For existing customers, the results and savings are the same if you start with an upgrade instead of a new purchase.

So, is software assurance worth while? From a strictly financial point of view, if you intend to upgrade frequently, software assurance costs less. I think it's safe to call it a good deal.

If you find any problems with my assumptions or the code, please let me know.


I followed a suggestion and changed "Months" to read "Months between releases" to make its intention more clear.

I defaulted to 12 months between releases to match the SA period, which is renewed annually. If you take the average time between all previous releases of Delphi, it comes out to just under 14 months. This isn't a bad number to use for your calculations, but I'm not sure past performance is necessarily indicative of future releases. RAD Studio 2007 (Highlander) came out 6 months after Delphi 2007, and if the planned releases in CodeGear's road map are even close, the next couple (Tiburon and Commodore) will be 6-9 months apart. This only takes Delphi in to account, not C++.

Not that I think anyone should buy SA based on one or two releases. I think it works best in the long term. Hoping to get a single additional upgrade out of it is just gambling.

1 comment:

Roland Beenhakker said...

Well it should be worthwhile, however if features are dropped unannounced, then it depends.
For me it has been a waste of money, I tend to use Delphi Win32, Delphi.NET Winforms. I bought SA because of the fact that it would give me the studio with .NET 2.0. Now that winforms is dropped there is no need for me to get/install the complete Studio.