What Is The Sitecore Consumption Model?

December 6, 2016

Blog | Strategy | What Is The Sitecore Consumption Model?
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Sitecore’s maturing vision and feature set brings about solutions to many issues that affected them in their infancy. In this post, we’re going to talk about one of them that has quietly been fixed, and how it can make a big impact for you, and your bottom line. Let’s just say Sitecore Consumption Model is a game changer.

Keeping up with the Times

Sitecore has traditionally been licensed on a “Perpetual” basis – once you own a license, you have it forever.  The ramifications of this are that you need to purchase a license for every server you install the software on. In the age of big iron and locally hosted data centers, this licensing model made a lot of sense.

These days, as more and more companies are moving their infrastructure into the cloud Sitecore is swiftly pivoting its product offerings to address this shift. A little over a year ago, Sitecore introduced a “Consumption” based licensing model which allows you to pay for what you use.  In short, what you pay is determined by the amount of visits to your site, not the numbers of servers the CMS is installed on.

Sitecore Perpetual vs. Consumption Model

There are pros and cons to each model, so they should be considered carefully when deciding which one is right for your company.  Here’s a quick overview of the key features of both models:


  • Licensed per server installation
  • Large up-front purchase
  • Your company owns the license forever
  • Annual maintenance for ongoing support and access to upgrades


  • Licensed based on the amount of visits your site receives
  • No large up-front purchase, but you don’t “own” a license
  • Can be paid for as-you-go
  • One fee covers usage, support, and maintenance

When presented with this overview and nothing else, we see that customers initially favor the Perpetual Model even when doing so isn’t in their favor.  This has been the traditional model for a long time, (it’s like buying vs. leasing a car) and many companies are familiar and comfortable with it. If you’re going to spend money on something, you want to have it forever, right?

The Consumption Model is newer and is oriented toward more flexible infrastructure needs, and is a natural fit for cloud. Under this model, your cost is based on the number of people who visit your site, much like a utility bill. If you stop paying for the software you must discontinue use of the software.  While this might seem initially daunting, the accountants in the audience might see it differently: the Sitecore license fees transform from Capital Expenses into Operating Expenses.

The Benefits of Sitecore Consumption Model

For us at GeekHive, the Consumption Model is a really compelling deal for some of our clients.  The Consumption Model also allows you to install Sitecore on an unlimited number of production servers without incurring any additional licensing costs, allowing you to scale up or down as needed and only paying for what you need. This can be a significant advantage in a number of situations:

  • Your site experiences significant fluctuations in traffic levels
  • You use cloud hosting and want to take advantage of the ability to easily scale a large number of inexpensive servers up and down based on demand to optimize your hosting costs
  • You don’t have particularly high traffic, but do need a high availability solution
  • You need to host your delivery servers in different data centers geographic regions for redundancy, regulatory, performance, or other reasons

If one or more of the above factors apply to you the Consumption Model may come out significantly less expensive than the corresponding Perpetual license, and you should explore both options with Sitecore and your development partner.

If you want to talk through which option might be best for you, we’re here to help. Contact us here.

Jay Oliver, Chief Technology Officer, GeekHive

Jay Oliver

Chief Technology Officer
  • .NET
  • Announcement
  • Sitecore
  • Strategy
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  • Technology Partners
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