Were we just renting LabVIEW these few years? Now that we aren't playing the SSP on the developer suite do we lose access to those older versions?
If we were just renting LV then I assume the model should be different, such that you can't continue using it when you stop the SSP. But again, then usually you would not have to buy the product for the full price when starting the contract.
The way I understand the licensing model is this: you buy the software (with the right for perpetual use of this version), and with the SSP you pay for updates and support. When ending the SSP you can continue using any version of the licensed software up to the current version at the time when the SSP terminates (or do fresh installations thereof). But maybe I'm wrong.
To clarify, we can use the current Embedded Suite SN to install a previous LV version (i.e. 2012). But it doesn't allow us to install previous versions of toolkits/software which we only had licensed with the previous SSP.
As far as i know NI offers a renting model for licenses only for Diadem and they are called term licenses:
With a perpetual license you own the software and you can install the purchased and previous versions at any time.
But again, serial numbers may have a very individual history and the products they are working with can change over time due to a migration. So if something is unclear with a serial, please call NI and clarify what happened.