Licensing BC via SaaS vs. Perpetual: Which should you choose?

June 14, 2022
Business Central, Business Intelligence, Small Business, Technology
4 min read

This blog post is part-two of a series on Business Central hosting. If you haven’t already, catch up on our hosting and Tigunia vs. Microsoft blog posts.


In our previous blog post, we helped answer a very important question: should you host your Business Central data via the cloud or on-premises?

We introduced three hosting options: on-premises, cloud, and hybrid.

To get started, let’s review the first two options we discussed.


With on-premises hosting, you use your own physical servers and IT infrastructure to host and operate the ERP solution. You are responsible for your own server, and you own and manage your data at all stages. On-premises hosting still allows you to access that data from anywhere via the internet.



If you want to know your ongoing operating costs in advance, and not be surprised by sudden and unexpected costs, you can choose a cloud hosting solution. Essentially, you rent server space from an IT supplier, such as Tigunia, and the data lives on a server owned by that supplier. You can access this data from anywhere with an internet connection.


The decision-making process looks pretty simple so far. Cloud and on-premises solutions each have a relatively straightforward list of pros and cons. However, there’s something else that needs to be considered, and it may ultimately decided how you want to host.

The next thing to consider is your licensing model. Basically, there are two options: perpetual and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). Like your hosting options, the licensing options each has a list of pros and cons.

A perpetual license means that you have a license to own a product, such as a piece of software. The easiest way to think about this is to consider the recent changes to Microsoft Office. Think back to a time when you purchased Microsoft Office; you could order over the phone, and the software disc would arrive at your house, or you could eventually order online, and download the applications over the internet (or purchase a PC with applications pre-installed and purchase an activation code separately).

The applications lived on your computer hard drive. The applications never received updates beyond typical security or maintenance updates, and they’d never expire (typically). The applications existed as-is (perpetual).

Compare that to now, when you can pay a monthly subscription fee to have access to the latest and greatest that Microsoft Office has to offer (SaaS). You also won’t get stuck with older versions of the software, such as Microsoft Office 2010. In this case, you don’t actually own your copy of the software, and when you cancel your subscription, you lose your ability to use the applications. As long as your subscription continues, you’ll have access to the applications and any cloud data you have saved.

Likewise, these are your options for Business Central.


Perpetual licensing means you buy (and own) your edition of Business Central outright. This requires a larger up-front expense, but the software is yours to own as long as you wish. You have additional options regarding this license, as the license itself can be self-hosted or hosted with a third party.



SaaS licensing means you have a steady, monthly fee to use the software, and you always have access to the latest features. However, you don’t actually own the software, and if you wish to continue to use it, you’ll have to pay the monthly fee. This is a much lower barrier to entry, as the immediate expenses are minimal. You can choose to host the data with Microsoft or with another IT provider.


Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) refers to a comprehensive hosting and licensing option, meaning you get the application licensed to you and dedicated servers on which to host your application data.


Consider the Other Costs

As you can see, there are a variety of deployment options, from total ownership and control to a fully managed cloud solution. In between, you can outsource some or all your on-premises deployment to a private or public hosting provider so that they can manage the servers for you while you maintain full control of everything.

As you consider the advantages and disadvantages of your preferred hosting solution, make sure also consider the costs associated with each. There are one-time, monthly, and annual costs associated with things like deployment, hardware and processing capabilities, data storage, throughput, management, and more.


There’s a lot of information here, and even more to consider when choosing the appropriate Business Central hosting option. But that’s okay, because we’re here to help. Contact Tigunia today to explore your options further.