More ADC Licensing Options with F5’s Flexible Consumption Models

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Alex Andrews
Published March 16, 2023

How many different licensing models does it take to support a successful organization? Some would say that several options are preferable to plan for optimal growth. When selecting and deploying IT solutions, organizations need a flexible range of consumption models to meet their ongoing requirements. Recently, there has been a move to offer a subscription-only model for Application Delivery Controller (ADC) offerings in the marketplace. While that might be advantageous to some buyers, F5 believes that the best way to serve our diverse portfolio of customers is to offer a breadth of licensing options to support all different types of customer networking and acquisition requirements.

In contrast to other ADC vendors in the market, F5 continues to offer a wide range of purchasing options to best meet the needs of each customer, including Perpetual Licensing, Term Subscriptions, our enterprise-wide agreement known as the Flex Consumption Program (FCP), and Utility (pay-as-you-go) selections. We have received feedback from our customers that they want a wide variety of licensing options through which they can consume F5 products and services, including but not limited to ADCs, and we are committed to enabling customers to purchase our services in ways that make the most sense for their businesses. In addition, F5 values our partners and resellers, and we are committed to notifying them of any changes to our solution options that will impact their F5 operations within a reasonable time frame.

F5's Licensing Options

  Perpetual Term Subscriptions Flex Consumption Program (FCP) Utility/PAYG
Commitment License use rights for full software cycle 1 to 3-year product-based commitment 3 to 5-year financial commitment No commitment required
Available Product Areas Deployable Software Deployable Software & SaaS/Managed Services Deployable Software & SaaS/Managed Services Deployable Software
Available Products
Maintenance & Support NOT included with the cost of licensing Included Included Included
CapEx/OpEx Typically counts as CapEx Typically counts as OpEx Typically counts as OpEx Typically counts as OpEx

Perpetual License

Perpetual Licensing grants the customer license use rights for the full software cycle, which is typically several years. Perpetual customers are often looking for cost optimization of run-rate operations (3+ years) and other known capacity needs, and/or are looking for a purchasing solution that fulfills CapEx depreciation requirements. Many customers who are pursuing longer deployment methodologies tend to prefer purchasing through Perpetual.

Term Subscription

A Term Subscription grants customers a license to use a specific product (or set of products) for a pre-specified time period ranging from 1 to 3 years. This buying program is a good fit for: any customer who wants to use a specific product, for a specific period of time, with a specific utilization rate; those with predictable software needs and usage commits of 1-3 years; as well as those making small steps toward architectural change (cloud migration, SW to HW, etc.). Term Subscription expenses are typically classified as OpEx for accounting purposes.

Flex Consumption Program

The Flex Consumption Program (FCP) is F5’s flagship buying program in the space, which grants customers access to a full suite of F5 products and services. FCP allows customers to:

  • Sign one agreement and gain access to all F5 offerings in the FCP portfolio—including Deployable Software, Hardware, SaaS, and Managed Services
  • Self-license F5 products on demand
  • Easily deploy and shift F5 security and application delivery solutions across clouds
  • Easily move from one product or service to another as business needs change
  • Get peace of mind with annual budget protection, more predictability, and lower upfront capital costs, while preventing retroactive billing

FCP is also a good option for customers who are looking to try additional products within the F5 portfolio. Customers sign one agreement and allocate two pools of money—one for Deployable Software (Schedule A) and one for SaaS & Managed Services (Schedule B). The customer can use their spend in each schedule toward any product or service in that schedule and can spin them up or down as needed. For example, a customer can use their money allocated to Schedule A to utilize any F5 deployable software product in the FCP portfolio.

FCP expenses are typically classified as OpEx for accounting purposes.


Our Cloud Service Provider Program (CSPP) offers annual, multi-year term, and utility (pay-as-you-go) options delivered through a public cloud marketplace such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. Customers can spin up any instance configuration available on their chosen public cloud marketplace and enjoy simplified procurement, flexible pricing models, concierge service, and customer success support.

CSPP is a good fit for customers who want:

  • Help meeting committed spend with cloud providers
  • Accelerated time to value
  • Simplified procurement through standardized contracts
  • Fast access to tools


At F5, we’ve designed our licensing structure to provide customers with maximum choices that best fit their business models and IT requirements. When it comes to ADC selection and deployment methodologies, whether across multi-cloud, in colocation, or on premises, F5 delivers adaptive app capabilities across our licensing portfolio that secure and deliver extraordinary digital experiences. Learn more about our product portfolio and licensing options at

Please reach out to your F5 account representative to determine which of our many flexible licensing options best fits your business needs.