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My question may sound simplistic but I am new, so please forgive me.

What I want to know, is a clear definition of a salesforce edition and a salesforce license. What is the difference here in terms of usage? When I buy salesforce for my organisation, do I have to buy 1 edition across my organisation, or can I say, depending on the needs of my organisation, purchase different editions, and still able to create a custom salesforce app that would be visible for all these editions?

In terms of cost, do different licenses in the same edition cost different?

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Licenses are associated with individual users and make functionality available. For example, a Salesforce license has access to the sales cloud functionality (Leads, Opportunities) that a platform license doesn't. There are also feature licenses that can be applied to a user to add functionality. For example, Mobile User is a feature license that allows a user with an existing license to use Salesforce Mobile. There are many other licenses available and it can get rather bewildering at times, especially as the license names change on occasion.

A Salesforce edition is the "type" (for want of a better work) of your Salesforce instance. The edition determines:

  1. What functionality is available - e.g. contact manager edition doesn't have opportunities
  2. The limits - of which there are many - the maximum number of custom objects, the maximum number of tabs, the maximum number of custom fields.

To add to this, some limits are a based on a combination of edition and user license. Data storage, for example, is 20Mb per licensed user on Enterprise Edition, but 120Mb per licensed user on Unlimited Edition.

With regard to different licenses per edition, yes there would be a different cost, but it would still be based on the edition. Thus you couldn't mix Enterprise and Unlimited licenses in Unlimited Edition. Every user must have a license appropriate for the edition, and these get more expensive as the capability of the edition increases.

If you are considering multiple editions of Salesforce in a single organisation, you can create a salesforce app and deploy it to each edition. If you need the same data across all editions you'd need to look at Salesforce 2 Salesforce to replicate the data, which brings a few challenges of its own. For multi-edition you'd need to consider:

  • Reporting - there won't be a single view of all the data available
  • Collaboration - as chatter is tied to a single edition, only users in that edition will be able to collaborate unless you set up multiple logins per user
  • Governance - if there is any common functionality you will have to replicate that across all editions
  • License costs - any users that need access to more than one edition will need a license for each

Multi-edition does have some advantages though:

  • Security and visibility - if you have complex requirements in this area it can be difficult to model and maintain in a single edition
  • Capacity and performance - the edition limits are multiplied by the number of editions, so you can have more custom applications, objects, tabs etc. Plus your data will be split across multiple editions which will scale better for large data volumes
  • Innovation - if you have complex customisations across a number of business units it can be difficult to make changes in a rapid fashion due to the need to test for all scenarios

The way I normally approach this is to start with a single edition and whenever a new business area comes on board, evaluate whether its better for them to share the existing edition or use one of their own.

  • Great answer, BB. I made a minor edit to clarify the statement about a single app being visible across all editions. – pchittum Nov 6 '12 at 12:27
  • Thank you very much for both of you. That is great. I understand this a lot better now. – canyoucatchme Nov 7 '12 at 0:40
  • Great detailed answer! – Chirag Mehta May 20 '15 at 11:49
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Please follow the following links from salesforce documents to understand the clear difference between what are licences and what are editions.

http://ap1.salesforce.com/help/doc/en/limits.htm

http://ap1.salesforce.com/help/doc/en/users_understanding_license_types.htm

Also Jeff in his blog speaks in detail about Licences

http://blog.jeffdouglas.com/2009/08/25/salesforce-com-licenses/

The salesforce edition decides the various components and features that will be available to you on purchase .

Example you may notice that enterprise and unlimited editions will provide you more components of platform and feature than Group edition.

Consider an example of feature of sharing rule.The Group edition or the personal edition wont provide the feature of sharing rules while enterprise and unlimited will provide these security features.

Now what are Licences?

A user license entitles a user to different functionality within Salesforce and determines which profiles and permission sets are available to the user.

Next to answer your last question Yes the Licences cost will vary depending on the edition.

A unlimited edition salesforce Licence might be costly than the salesforce Licence of the Group edition.

Please refer the following website to understand variation in pricing.

http://www.salesforce.com/crm/editions-pricing.jsp

  • Thank you very much for your additional information. I will look through them. – canyoucatchme Nov 7 '12 at 0:41

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