To subscribe or not to subscribe, that is the question. Whether ’tis fiscally responsible in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and lost developers), or take a subscription against a sea of licenses. Ok, Ok, enough Hamlet, although that is the question here : Do you buy a license or a subscription?
If you have not heard the news, at our Connect() conference Microsoft announced that in addition to different ways to license Visual Studio (Standalone, MSDN, Volume, etc.) we now offer what we are calling Cloud Subscriptions. I for one am a big fan of this model. I have quite a few software packages that I have purchased on the subscription model. Personally, there are a number of things that are appealing to me.
- No huge upfront cost.
It is much better for my cash flow :) to be able to pay monthly as opposed to handing over one lump sum at time of purchase.
If I decide that I am not using it, I can cancel it.
As opposed to most licenses, when there is an update I get it automatically.
But lets talk specifically about the Visual Studio Cloud Subscriptions.
( for sake of brevity, I will talk about the Professional Version of Visual Studio. VS Enterprise follows the same guidelines with different price points)
Annual – If you purchase it for the whole year, your out of pocket costs are $539/yr which is less than half of the cost of the MSDN Subscription and only slightly more than the standalone license. This is a non-perpetual license which means as opposed to buying a standalone license, when your subscription ends you are no longer able to use the software(unless you renew ). But the benefit of getting the annual is that unlike the monthly, you get the full subscriber benefits.
Monthly – For the Professional version of Visual Studio, you will pay only $45/mo which renews monthly. This means that you can cancel at any time and if your needs change, you can adjust your subscriptions accordingly. If you keep this a full year, it ends up costing the same price as the annual subscription except you do not get the subscriber benefits.
Many of the developers I work with are in early stage start ups ( think, not much money) and as such, have a need to be able to spin up or spin down teams to fit their needs at any given time. Being able to have monthly subscriptions that they can adjust during the year as they grow or shrink is a huge benefit.
VSTS – An additional benefit of these subscriptions is that you are able to connect to any team using Visual Studio Team Services (Formerly Visual Studio Online) to collaborate and share source code.
So which one is right for you? Only you can decide that based on your current and future situation. What I really like is that now you have the flexibility to find the right one to fit your current needs without having to break the bank.
If you want more information you can find a simple exlination of purchasing options here :
Or a very detailed FAQ here: