Proprietary vs Open Source LIMS pricing

edited July 2021 in Bazaar

I had to investigate the cost of proprietary LIMS recently - all very closed, but vendor prices for US government departments as provided by the General Services Administration (GSA) and a few industry professionals provided some insights. I could not but post the findings to corporation made LinkedIn*:

In the big economies, with the help of some community professionals' insights, start-up on a proprietary LIMS seems to range between the equivalents of $60k and $120k. Difficult to work out what gets included, often Instrument interfaces are seen as add-ons, not free.

Using 10 users and a 5 year replacement cycle, 18% to 25% p.a. Maintenance, excluding User Support in some cases, the top-end I guestimate easily breaches $180k. Cheaper than 5 years ago, and good to see prices being more service orientated, but still no freedom to customise, to install on unlimited servers, for unlimited users etc.

Superfluous thus, Professional Open Source LIMS beats that by far, and since it is service based from the bottom up, hard to beat already.

POSS, Professional Open Source Software, is on better terms when it comes to customisation fees though, with every right too, proprietarily punted at $125 - $175 per hour.

*Since establishing the LinkedIn LIMS Circus, much less FOSS FUD is making the rounds on the LIMS groups, do join to give it more weight. Post provocatively.



  • edited July 2021

    Open Source LIMS prices then?

    Even more difficult to ascertain, as it depends completely on the services the lab requires, and number of users to be trained and assisted, their skills levels, capacity and zeal for learning. Even better If the lab has access to IT resources.

    Bika/Senaite can be installed anywhere, inhouse, at a server farm of your choice, or on the Bika Cloud. Bika Lab Systems offers the latter at  $425 setup, $250 per month. If your volumes grow too big to share a server, then migrate to where best suited. Ours are at

    You may also undertake installations yourself, though production platforms can be a mouthful at the beginning.

    Many professional service providers offer installations at cost, $2000 - $3000, to bring new users into the fold. Based in Cape Town, using favourable x-change and local professional rates, Bika Lab Systems is able to install and test both Production and Test/Training instances for $2250. The secondary instance is used for acceptance and upgrade testing, then for training and as e-learning sandbox for users to uninhibitedly test real life scenarios without interrupting production.

    [Edit, new paragraph] FOSS  LIMS, Free and Open Source, grants users full system ownership and free upgrade path, sans licence fees, vendor lock-in or fixed upgrade cycles. It can be used by unlimited users on unlimited servers

    Clients pay only for services consumed, and if you do not require much customisation, configuration, start-up assistance and training could be the biggest cost items. Over time, in-house skills grow strong, diminishing support requirements'. Bika Lab Systems favours prepaid support buckets, only used when necessary, rewarding hard-working labs consuming fewer hours of support.

    Allocating super-users to assist with configuration and testing significantly reduces training. Voluntary assistance remains available from users on the Bika and Senaite forums. Support can be optimised through effective use of Bika's online tracker - voicemail is dead - posting well researched questions gets support staff on cue fast.

    All of that said, sans customisations, a 10 user lab (2 samplers, 2 clerks, 5 analysts and 1 manager) can get up and running at $17,500, less if some tasks are taken on inhouse. Cherry-pick professional services from the standard IT bouquet:

    • Requirements Analysis · Functional Specification
    • Customisations · Testing · Release Curation
    • Installation · Server platform, back-ups and security
    • Data Migration
    • LIMS Configuration · Localisation · Branding
    • Start-up Assistance
    • Training
    • Project Management and Quality Assurance
    • Post-implementation maintenance, tech and user support

    Alas, the iron PM triangle remains valid.  Slow, Good and affordable is never a bad option

  • Same proprietary prices now confirmed for China, with another 35% premium for pharma

  • Detailed at The Current Price of LIMS:

    $15,000 - How much recent experience by Open Source LIMS service providers Bika Lab Systems and medium size laboratories found it to implement and support ISO 17025 ready Bika LIMS through year one

    Bigger labs have more users to train and support, and are likely to have more instruments for which interfaces will need to be coded, possibly other customisations too. Costs are service based - only hours really consumed are billed. Hard-working labs using fewer hours benefit

    $12,000 Implementation: Cloud installation - both Test and Production Servers; Configuration; Training; Acceptance Support; LIMS Analysis, Project Management and Admin

    $3000 Post Implementation, Year one: Hosting; Support. No licence fees, unlimited users

    Optional and if not available already, spreadsheet results importers for instruments, depending on complexity, $1500 - $2500

  • Please see page 3 and 4 of this brochure on how to navigate Open Source implementations most affordably

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