Acumatica vs NetSuite Part 2: Deployment, Licensing and Scalability

Now that you have a foundational understanding of the price of Acumatica and NetSuite after reading part 1, we can start exploring the differences between the two business management solutions when it comes to deployment, licensing and scalability.

These days it’s not as simple as choosing a business management solution that will be on-premise or in the cloud. There are a range of options for how your solution can be deployed that impact where your data is stored and licensing options that effect total cost of ownership (TCO), as well as both amount and frequency of fees. Finding the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is just as much about the software itself, as it is about its ability to accommodate your needs in terms of deployment, licensing and scalability.

Licensing & Deployment

NetSuite is licensed exclusively through SaaS subscription. The benefit of subscription pricing is that it minimizes the upfront costs associated with implementing your ERP, breaking the cost of ownership into smaller, periodic amounts. On the other hand, that also means you’ll be responsible for paying recurring subscription fees for the duration that you have the ERP. Since the only license offered by NetSuite is SaaS subscription, the solution can only be deployed in public cloud, which means that businesses cannot deploy the solution on-premise using their own servers or through private cloud.

The major benefit of public cloud deployment is that you don’t have the costs involved with IT support and management for on-premise and hybrid ERPs, but for many businesses that benefit is outweighed by the limitations surrounding lack of control over where data is stored, which in NetSuite’s case is in their own data centers in the United States. Some Canadian businesses may not feel comfortable having their data stored in the USA due to privacy laws and others may not even be able to store their data in the USA due to restrictions and regulations set for your industry. Furthermore, NetSuite uses their own data servers, not industry leading providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure, and there is a history of these data centers being unreliable, such as a 7-hour outage in July 2018.


Unlike NetSuite, Acumatica offers both subscription (with recurring fees) and perpetual (one-time cost to outright own the software) licensing. We already outlined the benefits of subscription licensing while discussing NetSuite, but the benefit of a perpetual license is that you have the opportunity to minimize recurring costs and own the software–as long as you’re prepared for the larger up-front costs you’ll be faced with during implementation. Acumatica offers three distinct licensing options which in turn give businesses using Acumatica an option that NetSuite doesn’t: a choice for how you want to deploy your ERP solution.

Acumatica offers two subscription licenses: SaaS and Private Cloud. The SaaS Subscription is exclusively deployed in public cloud and as such is similar to NetSuite’s SaaS Subscription, but since Acumatica is hosted on Amazon Web Services (which is one of the biggest and most reliable providers) it is definitely more reliable. Although the data is still stored in the USA, downtime is minimal and you benefit from disaster recovery backup services, 24/7 access, consistent monitoring for issues, software updates and more.

Alternatively, Acumatica offers a Private Cloud Subscription which empowers businesses to host the solution on their own servers or with a hosting provider of their choosing. This subscription gives businesses managing sensitive data, or Canadian businesses in industries that require their data to stay within Canada, the ability to benefit from a robust cloud solution while maintaining control over where their data is stored.

Lastly, Acumatica’s Private Perpetual License offers the same freedom as the Private Cloud Subscription with the only difference being that businesses are opting to buy the software outright so they don’t have to pay recurring subscription fees.


In terms of features, the scalability of these solutions are relatively equal. They both offer a base solution dependent on your size and needs, with the ability to add new modules and applications as your business grows and your solution requirements expand. While the solutions themselves offer equal ability to scale, the parameters surrounding users can easily effect a business’s ability to expand the solution as they grow. Since businesses using NetSuite have to pay for individual licenses for each additional user, you may find yourself avoiding adding users as a means to lower costs. This can result in employees working less effectively and prevent the solution from being used to its full capacity. Businesses using Acumatica have the ability to add unlimited users, which helps ensure that your ERP solution remains the central unit for processes, tasks and data management.

In terms of functionality, NetSuite and Acumatica offer many of the same benefits. They’re both incredibly robust and reliable solutions that can be strong vehicles for business growth. However the restrictions with NetSuite surrounding licensing and deployment make it an impossible option for many businesses. Acumatica offers numerous options and a great deal of flexibility when it comes to deployment and licensing which make it a more appealing cloud solution for many businesses, especially Canadian businesses. While both solutions are highly scalable, NetSuite’s additional costs often post roadblocks to adequately scaling the solution as your business grows.

Read Acumatica vs NetSuite Part 3 to see how the solution compare in terms of verticals, customization, data and reporting.