A few months ago, Embarcadero has started selling a Delphi with a new license type, which is tied to the product and not to the version. This means you buy a licence and get both Delphi 2007 and Delphi 2010.

Beside traditional individual licenses and network licences for larger companies, Embarcadero has recently introduced a new license model, called ToolCloud, which is more flexible even for individuals and smaller companies. Here I'm trying to point to the main differences with classic individual licences.

Product License, Not Version Licence

ToolCloud licences of Delphi, C++Builder, and RAD Studio are for the product, not for a specific version. This means and a single user (or as many users as you have ToolCloud licences) can legally install and write applications with multiple version of Delphi (at the same level, Professional or Enterprise). This user can install and use Delphi 2010, but also Delphi 2009 and the pre-Unicode Delphi 2007 many developers still rely onto. All with a single licence (while in the past you had to buy specific licenses or upgrades, one for each individual version).

At the opposite, if you need a copy of Delphi 2007 for a pre-Unicode project, with a little extra price (about 25%) you can buy also Delphi 2010... or whatever is the current version.

Managing Licences

The ToolCloud license is managed by a server you install at your company (this server is free a free license manager you can get by Embarcadero) and it can be moved from one developer to another (with the first loosing his ability to run the IDE), in case of needs, without having to ask Embarcadero for a change in a named license. Of course, this becomes more relevant the larger is the pool of licences you have to manage. Embarcadero is expected to run public ToolCloud servers in the future, to manage the licenses for smaller companies.

InstantOn, but only in part

A third difference is that you don't need to do a full install of a version, but can use the InstantOn virtualization technique. For now this is true only for Delphi 2010 and is limited in case you have to install third party tools. In the future this mechanism might get more flexible, but in general you'll want to install the IDE if you use it for a considerable amount of your time. Still, having an immediate access to an older version to fix a bug in an old project, might be very nice.

I've used InstantOn with other Embarcadero products, and have to say it is a pleasure to have a ready to use application without installing it. However, given the complexity of the Delphi IDE and the extensive customizations most developers do, it might still take some time before the concept fully works with RAD Studio.

Licence Migration

Now if you already have a Delphi 2010 licence, you certainly don't want to buy a different one, right? This is only partially true, as ToolCloud licenses are sold also as upgrades from the latest version, so you can move from Delphi 2010 to ToolCloud Delphi 2010 with a reasonably low price (no, not a free upgrade, as you get two older versions included as well). Needless to say, you can upgrade a licence from Delphi 2009 to the ToolCloud Delphi 2010. Keep in mind, though, that ToolCloud licenses have an average 25% extra price, compared to a base license. This makes them of limited value if you already have all recent versions of Delphi (as you upgraded each and every year). But in case you are moving from, say Delphi 7, you can get both 2007 and 2010 with a single ToolCloud license.

Price Example

As an example (referring to the Euro list price), you can buy Delphi 2010 Enterprise New User license for 1,999.00 Eur, while the ToolCloud version costs 2,499 Eur (and gets you also Delphi 2007). By comparison, the Delphi 2007 product plus the Delphi 2010 upgrade (to have both) will cost 3,298.00.

Good Flexibility, Waiting for More

Having more options in terms of licensing is always good, and ToolCloud adds value to Delphi, although this is certainly not the right model for all developers. Now I hope we see also some restructuring of what goes in each SKU, with dbExpress solid into Professional and maybe a lower introductory SKU like we had in the past. We'll see if anything new comes with the new version of Delphi or we'll have to wait more.