Licensing Crystal Reports for use in a Hosted ( SaaS) environment

Posted on 2009-05-19
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
We have an application that will be sold both as a licensed application and a hosted ( SaaS ) application. Business Objects has a Crystal Reports "Developer Advantage" program ( ) that "Royalty-free deployment of the Crystal Reports run-time report engine with any number of Web applications".

However, the language appears to be ambiguous ( ) says: Web applications for external use: External distribution of Web applications embedding these component engines is now available for single, fixed price with the new Crystal Reports 2008 Developer Advantage license. This offering covers you for any number of deployments that embed the Crystal Reports 2008 runtime engine. The option of purchasing individual copies of the Crystal Reports 2008 license for each deployment also exists.

A Business Objects Salesman is quoting us a price that is MUCH higher than Crystal Reports Developer Advantage.

The page has a "Tech Specs" tab that includes the text "Software as a service implementations are not covered by Developer Advantage, and require an OEM license.". That seems to be in conflict with the overview page that includes the language "One-time fee to embed the Crystal Reports 2008 runtime engine in any number of Web applications and share these applications with external users. ".

Can anyone point me to some Business Objects documentation that defines the terms and differentiates Web Applications with external users from SaaS? Is it simply that a fee is being charged?
Question by:jhutchinst2systems
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Expert Comment

ID: 24422119
You have most of the pages related to this issue.

I think the key is the phrase  (quoted from SAP page on Crystal Advantage licensing)

   "The Crystal Reports Developer Advantage offering provides a run-time license that allows you to embed the Crystal Reports run-time engine in applications shared outside your organization or in commercial applications."

If you are delivering an application that is installed on a client-machine so it needs nothing else then all you need to do is buy the license.

SaaS is an internal application that you have opened to non-internal users.  I believe you are covered by the Developers Advantage license.  

When sold as a licensed application the engine needs to be embedded in that apllication.   I believe this means that if the user needs a new report they will have to come to you to add it even if you don't develop the report.

This distribution issue has always been difficult with Crystal since they never really spell it out in plain language.

I believe that so long as the end user cannot use the engine except through your application then you are ok.


Accepted Solution

jhutchinst2systems earned 0 total points
ID: 24473480
While I tend to agreen with mlmcc's conclusion, I need to be able to point to something official to refute the Business Objects sales person's conclusion that we need an OEM license. I completely agree that this distribution issue has always been difficult with Crystal since they never really spell it out in plain language. I'm hoping that someone has managed to reach a repeatable, documented, official resolution with Business Objects.

Expert Comment

ID: 27609937
jhutchinst2systems, how did you resolve this questions about Crystal Reports licensing?  What license did you purchase for your SaaS application?  I have the exact same question, looking at Crystal for a SaaS application, and am wondering how you solved your situation last year.

Author Comment

ID: 27610921
We worked with a rep from SAP/Business Objects/Crystal to purchase socket-based licenses for "component based" Crystal Reports 2008. It wasn't cheap (but the details probably aren't appropriate to post here). At least at that time (July 2009), their model was based on the number of sockets AND cores (1x for each socket plus 0.5 for each core, so a quad-core was 2.5X the base license).

Note: The sales rep strongly encouraged us to use Crystal Reports Server instead of Component-Based Crystal Reports. Because our software was engineered for both SaaS and licensed use, it made (and makes) sense for us to continue with embedded. If you're writing your solution from scratch and are going to be exclusively SaaS, you should probably strongly consider using Crystal Reports Server instead.

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