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Thoughts on Simultaneous User Pricing

For those of you who think simultaneous users is a good model for pricing,
how do you go about calculating how many simultaneous users you need to
license initially? Maybe it's because I do consortial negotiating on
behalf of 45 libraries, but I have a hard time figuring out how to
estimate how many simultaneous users will be enough. 

We've had a consortial gateway contract with UnCover for a number of
years. We started out at 45 simultaneous users, and worried that we were
underestimating the demand. After a number of years we've worked down to
30 simultaneous users, and that number seems to work. 

Also, with simultaneous users, if you plan to be able to accomodate
seasonal peak loads, then the rest of the time you may be paying for a
fair amount of simultaneous uses that are rarely used.  For example, for
about eight months of the year we rarely need half of the 30 UnCover
simultaneous users. But when students/faculty get into the busy parts of
the semester, we are glad we have licensed the 30. Has anyone ever
negotiated a license that has the number of simultaneous users on a
sliding scale, depending on the time of year? 

Finally, I am wondering what increasing use of the Web and client/server
models might mean to the concept of simultaneous users? Depending on
whether a system offers stateful or stateless connections, how meaningful
will the simultaneous user model be in a technical sense? 

Bernie Sloan

Bernie Sloan                                     
Senior Library Information Systems Consultant
University Office for Planning & Budgeting
University of Illinois
(217) 333-4895 
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