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Actian Zen Edge/Core v13 Licensing Primer

The licensing for the Zen Edge and Core database engine can get VERY confusing for certain configurations, so we have put together this description of how Actian licenses their product.

Please read this information carefully! Actian does NOT allow product returns on their software once it is delivered! If you order the wrong product, you may need to order the correct version and have no recourse for returns. Goldstar Software is the premier reseller in the United States, but we must still work within the rules provided by Actian. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us or Actian Corporation directly at 800-BTRIEVE *before* you place your order!

If you want to see the end user license agreement before purchase, you can find the license documents here.

Single Machine Licenses

With the exception of the MultiHost Licenses, each Zen Edge engine license may be installed on ONE computer only, so if you have two computers hosting database files, you'll need two licenses. If you have multiple users sharing access to the same set of database files, then you would apply one license (to go on the computer with the data) with a proper user count or size for your environment.

Definition of a "User"

In the Zen Edge engine license model, a "user" is considered a unique network address that is accessing the database engine. The number of concurrent users is limited by the engine and by its installed license. For example, if I have applications running on 3 workstations accessing the same database engine on a server, I need a minimum of 3 user licenses. If I have applications running on 8 workstations AND a service running on the database server that is also accessing the database, then I need a minimum of 9 user licenses applied to that engine.

The user count is concurrent -- this means that I can have 50 workstations installed and configured in my environment, but if I have only 10 that will access the database applications at the same time, then I only need a 10-User license applied. Any users attempting to access the database above the licensed maximium will get a Status 161 (Too Many Users) error code. It is up to the application to trap and report that error properly.

Note that Zen Edge has an internal limitation of only 10 concurrent users. As you can imagine, a server that is suitably small enough to run this platform simply won't have the performance needed to support a whole lot more than that. In fact, we expect it to be more likely that a typical use case will be 2-User license keys, allowing the IoT device to access the database directly on the same device, leaving another user session available to connect and retrieve the data from the Zen Edge database and send it up to a larger database engine (such as Zen Server or Vector) for further processing and analytics.

Deployment Licenses

Licenses for Actian Zen Edge are not purchased individually. Instead, the developer purchases a Deployment License in bulk quantities (100 Users and up). When you purchase a Deployment License, you get a special Deployment Activation Key that is entered on the Actian Deployment Portal. Once you enter your activation key on the Portal, you will be able to generate your own licenses for Zen Edge from within the portal, with licenses ranging from 1 to 10 concurrent users. (I have not yet seen exactly how the portal works for Zen Edge, but I'm told that it works similarly to the Workgroup Deployment licenses, so we have some learning to do here, too.) Once you generate your license key in the Portal, you can apply that key to the computer running the Zen Edge engine.

Zen Edge Platforms

The Zen Edge Engine is available for three distinct platforms:

  • Raspberry Pi (Raspbian Linux) on an ARM CPU
  • Windows IoT Core on an Intel CPU
  • Windows IoT Core on an ARM CPU

All licenses are platform-agnostic, which means that your license will work on ANY platform of Zen Edge v13 that you install.

Some time later in 2018, we expect the Zen Core embedded database library to also become available, allowing for an even smaller footprint (2MB instad of 40MB) for Android and iOS environments. Sign up for our mailing list with the green button at the left, or watch this space for updates as they become available!

User Count Increases

As the maximum user count is 10, we expect that a User Count Increase license can also be generated by the Deployment Portal to increase an existing base license. We may have to update this once we get a license key to play with.


As this is the first version of Zen Edge, there are no upgrades to consider at this time. We are leaving this sestion in here, though, in case it is applicable to future versions.

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