Autodesk Subscriptions in Plain English

May 09, 2014 3 min read

This year Autodesk changed some of the terminology they use to describe their product categories. You may have heard of Desktop Subscription, Maintenance Subscription and Cloud Services and may be wondering what they mean. So we thought that it would be helpful to clarify all that in plain English.

So, what are now the options to buy Autodesk software and related services?

Perpetual License

This is not a new term but it is important to keep in mind because it is generally the best option for you when purchasing Autodesk software. A perpetual license is exactly what it sounds like, it gives you permission to use the software indefinitely. It is the most common license type and is still available under the usual terms, you pay for it upfront and it never expires.

This is your best choice when:

Opt for a perpetual license any time you plan to use the software for years. Over multiple years it is less expensive than any of the alternatives.

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Maintenance Subscription 

This is the new name for what used to be called Subscription. It is a highly recommended option for Perpetual Licenses and it provides access to new versions of the software at no additional cost plus access to Cloud Services.

When do you want this?

Always! If you purchase a Perpetual License you should buy Maintenance Subscription.
If you do not purchase Maintenance Subscription with your Perpetual License, when the yearly release of the new version of the software becomes available, you will not be able to upgrade to it, and you will need to purchase the product again, paying the full price. This is why I highly recommend being on Maintenance; you need it to protect your investment in the software.

Desktop Subscription

Previously called Rental, it is the alternative to a Perpetual License and it allows you to use an Autodesk license for a limited time. It is available in one, three, and twelve month increments and it expires at the end of the rental period. During the rental period you will also receive all the benefits of Maintenance Subscription and Cloud Services.

This is your best choice when:

If you have a short term need for the software (e.g., you just hired short term staff) or you are not ready to commit to the product for the long term (e.g., you are a start-up that is trying to find its place in the market) then this is the best option for you. Small investment and no long term commitment.

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Cloud Services

It is included with Maintenance Subscription and it provides the new cloud based services that Autodesk offers, storage, data management, the ability to view files everywhere with any device, render in the cloud, and more. One more reason to add Maintenance Subscription to your Perpetual License.

When do you want this?

If you buy a Permanent License with Maintenance Subscription or a Desktop Subscription you will get Cloud Services as part of the package. So this does not need to be part of your decision criteria. This cool Autodesk cloud technology will be available to you either way.

Advanced Cloud Services

This is the advanced cloud functionalities package. It adds analysis, simulation, PLM, clash detection and more to the Cloud Services features. It is an additional product and it is not included in any subscription configuration.

When do you want this?

This is for users that routinely run computationally intensive simulations (e.g., finite element analysis, large assembly clash detection) and/or benefit from structured data management available in Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) products.

Now that I have covered all the basics, you still probably have questions about your particular situation and ROI. That is what my colleagues at Novedge are here for. Scott and Calvin will be happy to help you with any questions you might still have. You can call them at 866-362-8970 or you can reach them by emailing them here.

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