Is the backup licensing model about to change?  While I was at VMworld in San Francisco, I took notice of all the different Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) options that are available, and I believe this service has reached its maturity. The number of options and services available seems to have taken a solid leap forward in the last few years. Most of the companies follow the same type of licensing model, in that the software is licensed by the number of agents that are deployed in the environment, the number of hosts, or the amount of data being backed up. Most of the companies, except for one particular company I talked to, followed this model.

Asigra has decided to shake things up and switch to what Asigra likes to call a fairer licensing model for their customers. In the words of Eran Frajun, Asigra’s EVP, the capacity-based or agent-based licensing model isn’t sustainable in the long run, and the sheer amount of data ingested by the backup infrastructure is simply growing too fast, adding to the cost of maintaining a healthy and valuable backup infrastructure.

Asigra has decided to focus their licensing model on what is really the most important part of the service, the recovery. Don’t get me wrong, in that the licensing model also takes into account the total amount of deduplicated backup capacity, but the recovery part of the model is based on the backup capacity and the amount of data that is actually restored during a year (or the measurement or restoration during the first six months of the contract). This measurement turns into the Recovery Performance Score.  This score will help bring a discount to the overall costs based on successful recovery. One important thing to add is that Asigra won’t charge you for single largest restore in an effort to filter the peek events. With just a few months’ notice you can purchase a Disaster Recovery test license that is relatively cheap and based again on the amount of data that is restored.

Asigra has a piece of software called the Asigra Recovery Tracker that will measure the number of actual successful recoveries per year and the amount of data recovered, while at the same time keeping track of the source of the data loss and the reason for the restore. This insight into the reasons for the data loss and the effectiveness of the restores helps the backup team to improve its service to its customers. TechTarget  posted a couple of examples that are worth taking a look at.

 Asigra provides an example of a company backing up 10 TB. Based on list price, its recovery license is 50 cents/GB (the maximum) for the first six months for $5,120, and its backup license is $0.166 per GB for $1,699 per month. That totals $6,819 per month for six months. If a company recovers only 5% of its data over those six months, its recovery costs drop to $0.167 per GB for the next six months. That comes to $1,710 for recovery — counting drills — plus the $1,699 backup license for a total of $3,409 per month.

A company that recovers 25% over the first six months would stay at the $6,819 per month rate for the second six months. Even the worst-case pricing is roughly the same as the current industry list price average of 66 cents per GB, Farajun said. He claimed the new pricing model will bring customers savings of around 40% immediately and 60% in the long term.

Backup Licensing: Asigra

I applaud Asigra for doing something different from the norm in an attempt to stand out from the crowd.  Will this new model take off with the other venders?  Time will tell on that, and I guess we will just have to see, but as mentioned above, the current growth of data being backed up leads to a model that just cannot be sustained for the long run.  The timing seems just right for the backup licensing models to change.

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Steve Beaver (159 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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