Which Claris FileMaker Licensing Option Should I Choose?

AVLA, VLA, ASLA, SLA, concurrency connections, etc. - what does all this mean and how does it affect how you use your FileMaker solution? 

We are often asked how to decipher the Claris FileMaker licensing options and terms. This could be an issue if you are unsure what you have or even worse, you may not be using the best license option to suit your needs. We are here to help. We can help you understand the various options, ensure you are set up on the right licensing structure, and make sure you have the best rate possible.    

Let’s review the different types of licensing.

AVLA (Annual Volume Licensing Agreement)

Consider this “Subscription” FileMaker Licensing 

This is simply an annual subscription that allows you to keep your FileMaker license current and receive upgrades each year from FileMaker. The AVLA option is preferred by many users since the cost is minimal compared to the upfront cost of a perpetual (VLA) license. As with any annual subscription, you will need to keep your subscription active and renew each year in order to retain access to the software.  

An AVLA license is an affordable way to get up and running with the FileMaker platform. 

  • Year 1 - AVLA initial subscription 
  • Year 2 and above - AVLA subscription renewal 

VLA (Volume Licensing Agreement) 

This is also known as "Perpetual" FileMaker Licensing

With this option, you pay a one-time fee to own the current version for FileMaker licensing. With the VLA license, you pay more upfront (approximately three times the cost of the annual AVLA subscription), but you will not need to renew a subscription each year.   

However, if you want to keep your version of FileMaker current each year, the VLA license offers you the option to sign up for the Maintenance program. Maintenance may seem like a confusing concept since it sounds like a subscription, the key difference is that you own the software and Maintenance lets you renew at a reduced price (lower than the AVLA subscription renewal) for up to 5 years. 

If you are planning on a long-term investment in the FileMaker platform, the VLA (perpetual) license is a great investment. You will pay more upfront, but the optional annual maintenance costs will keep you up to date and save you money over time.  

  • Year 1 - VLA initial purchase
  • Year 2-5 - VLA maintenance renewal option 

ASLA / SLA (Annual Site License Agreement / Site License Agreement) 

The FileMaker Site License - ASLA / SLA - are great options for when buying for a larger group of users. The site license is offered as an annual subscription or as a perpetual license with a minimum of 25 users. In order to qualify for this type of license, each employee from the organization would need to be counted as a “user” even if they aren’t going to use FileMaker. In some cases, a Site License may be less expensive than an ASLA or VLA depending on your user count. Another great benefit, the ASLA / SLA includes a minimum of 500 concurrent connections for free - which work on FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Go, and FileMaker WebDirect.  

Concurrency Connections  

Buckle up for this one…as this licensing option is sometimes harder for people to understand. Concurrency connections are more expensive than the cost of a “user” connection (any of the options above) and are designed for “anonymous” un-named users that don’t have a username login from the organization that is licensed to use it.    

This is mainly used for companies that plan to have various users access the FileMaker app through a WebDirect link or a hosted connection on FileMaker Server.  Please note, if you are using a concurrency connection for an iOS device with FileMaker Go and you already have a “user” named login account, you DO NOT need to use concurrency connections as in the past and can use the new “users licensing” offered with FileMaker licensing to save a lot of money. To recap, if you have a named user with a login and password for your FileMaker desktop solution, you DO NOT need a concurrency connection as it is now included in new versions of FileMaker.  

Side Note About FileMaker Licensing Keys  

If you are using FileMaker 17 or higher, you now have ONE license key for all your users and this same key will stay with you from now on!  This is a new feature from Claris that can be very helpful long term. 

Still Undecided? Let us help.

If you would like to learn more about the Claris FileMaker licensing options or get more clarification, give us a call at 760-510-1200 or email us at sales@productivecomputing.com. We will review the various options to ensure you are purchasing or renewing your licenses under their most cost-effective licensing program. Through our partnership with Claris, we can offer our clients Claris FileMaker licensing at a discount. Contact us today! 


Learn more about the Claris Platform licensing options.

Additional Resources

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