Asigra Introduces a Recovery-Based Backup Licensing Model
While at VMworld, I attended a Tech Field Day presentation from Asigra, a cloud backup provider. Although the Tech Field Day crew has heard before about Asigra’s basic services, including the company’s agentless backup tools, this time around, Asigra wanted to bring us up to speed on their new licensing model they are implementing with their latest product release.
For traditional vendors, the licensing paradigm revolves around either the number of agents that are deployed or the amount of data being backed up. Both of these methods are focused on the input side of the backup and recovery equation, particularly when the primary focus is capacity-based. Asigra believes that this licensing model is fundamentally unfair for organizations that don’t do a lot of recovery. In Asigra’s mind, those company’s a being “punished” for backing up a lot of data even though they may rarely need to perform recoveries.
To bring what Asigra considers fairness to the discussion, the company has moved to a dual licensing model that focuses more on recovery than backup. Under the new licensing, Asigra now charges a lower flat per GB rate per month for the amount of data being backed up. In addition, the company charges for recovery on a sliding scale basis, basically making the conversation more about recovery than backup. If an organization recoveries the equivalent of 100% of their data each year, they will pay more than a company that recovers just 5% of their data.
Asigra likens this to other pricing changes that have leveled the playing field in recent years, such as:
- Music: Albums –> iTunes
- Telecom: Per minute –> Per second
- Car Insurance: Monthly premiums –> Pay as you drive
- Backup capacity –> Recovery
Asigra believes that using backup capacity as a licensing metric is becoming unsustainable due to the increasing growth in data volume, which requires customers to constantly seek lower pricing to meet growing backup needs. In general, it’s estimated that data volume is growing at 20%, potentially making ongoing cost increases pretty significant. In Asigra’s thinking, this lack of price differentiation between customers that recover just a little vs. those that recover a lot is fundamentally unfair, even if both are paying on a per GB basis.
Asigra’s new pricing model also attempts to provide customers with some ability to plan by providing an upper limit and a lower limit for how much the recovery license will cost. Further, in order to enable organizations to conduct disaster recovery drills, Asigra provides a lower cost for these purposes ($0.07/GB for DR drills).
Any time a company is willing to challenge the paradigm in an effort to level the playing field for customers, I’m always willing to listen. Obviously, Asigra can’t go into this endeavor with an expectation that they will lose money or significantly reduce current revenue. For those of you that have not heard of Asigra, it’s a company that backs up a wide variety of devices and applications, including the traditional Windows, SQL, Exchange, etc, but also includes backup for tools like GroupWise and mobile endpoints. It offers a lot for customers that have a variety of needs.
I am a bit skeptical regarding the new dual licensing model as I see potential for muddying the cost waters for organizations attempting to gauge ongoing costs. That said, because Asigra also provides comprehensive reporting as a part of the package, the new model could actually help customers better identify weak points in the organization that may be creating a need to do a lot of unnecessary restorations. As such, over time, it may be beneficial for organizations looking for any way possible to improve ongoing operations.
As with all change, time will tell how well Asigra’s new model is received by the market. It’s nice to see innovation in licensing, which is usually a pain point in a sales process, so perhaps this seemingly customer-friendly approach will work well and help Asigra customers truly lower costs.