With the Winter Release ’12 of Database.com comes the general availability of a “Light” user license. What is a Database.com Light license? For those new to Database.com, perhaps this question is best answered in the broader context of Database.com security.
When you configure a Database.com security policy, you’ll start by building user profiles. The available permissions you can configure for a profile depend on the user license you associate with the profile.
For example, system administrator profiles use the Database.com Admin license, the only type of license that provides access to powerful, system-level access controls. Non-administrator profiles use the Database.com User license or the Database.com Light license. Assuming you understand the mechanisms for controlling system and data access within Database.com, here’s a quick summary of the difference between these user licenses.
A standard Database.com User license is subject to all Database.com security controls, including authentication, profiles (system and object-level data access controls), and record sharing/row-level data access controls. When you want to leverage Database.com’s supported, scalable, fine-grained data access controls for record sharing, consider this type of user license for your app users.
A Database.com Light user license is subject to Database.com authentication and profiles, but not to record-level data sharing controls. When your app doesn’t require record-level data access controls, or your team is comfortable with building and maintaining such controls in the application itself, then consider lower-cost light users.
In summary, with the Database.com User license, you get a powerful set of organizational structures and security mechanisms ideal for the construction of enterprise applications that have stringent security requirements. With Database.com Light, you get lower cost for applications that may be less structured or more consumer oriented.