This year I had the pleasure and the honor to be invited again by Stephen Foskett at Tech Field Day Roundtables, hosted during the days of the VMworld US 2013 that just finished. I had the opportunity to meet three different vendors, and the first of them has been Asigra.
I should be honest, before this meeting I did not know anything about them, and for a guy working (also) in Data Protection, is a bit of a shame… Anyway, their presentation was not based on their technology, but instead on their new licensing model for their backup solution, or to better say it their recovery solution.
Asigra is a Canadian company from Toronto, founded in 1986. It has always been focused on backup solutions mainly for Service Providers, and still today it has only this product. To have a better idea about what they do, I suggest you first to have a break and watch this two videos:
The news the presented us at the roundtable was not about their new software version, but about a new and somehow intriguing licensing model.
Asigra explained us that, based on some research they made about the trending growth of data, their backups usually grow 3-4 times more than the primary data they are protecting. If for example a company has a growth of data in 5 years from 10 to 100 TB (10x), usually their backup sets will become 30-40 times bigger. Also from their studies, Asigra discovered that most companies recover less than 10% of their data annually.
Those two findings leaded Asigra to create a new licensing model, called Asigra Recovery License Model (RLM); the goal is to offer a more fair licensing, able to appraise restores more than backups. This first statement made me really interested: I’m saying since many years we should stop calling these software “backup solutions” and start to call them “restore solutions”, since the final goal of Data Protection is to restore data.
The new licensing decouples backup price, still counted per volume, from restore price. Asigra has a system to measure the restore activities, and the license is paid based on the amount of restores. There is first of all a upper limit, that is 25% of the backup volume, regardless the actual amount of restored data. Thanks to the “tracking” system a customer can arrange with Asigra a reduction of the licensing costs if the restored amount is lower than the paid amount.
There also some “gems”: what happens for example during a DR Drill, that is a Recovery Test, where amount of restored data can reach 100% of the backups? Price is going to sky-rocket? No, because since those are usually planned activities, customers can ask for a special license at a lower price dedicated for DR tests.
And there is even more: only the SUCCESSFUL restores are counted. Regardless the failed restore was caused by a broken tape, or a human error while creating backups, those are not counted. This is a totally customer-focused position, and coherent with the initial idea of offering a fair licensing. An unsuccessful restore leaves customers with no restored data, so why should they pay for them?
At the end, Asigra licensing is still based on volume, the difference is in the price for the restore part: for sure in environments with sporadic restores (and they are the vast majority) the price reduction could make this product a good choice.
I’m showing you a screenshot of their licensing model, I did not have the opportunity to compare it with their “old” licensing model, or against some competitor.
During a quick chat with Eran Farjun, Asigra Executive VP and our speaker during the Roundtable, I found out the customers’ feedback is totally positive; I also learnt the product is used for example is Italy by our largest telco Telecom Italia (and a couple more names, but I’m not sure I can tell who they are), in fact their logo is in the Asigra home page, like other well known brands like Porsche, Allianz or NFL.
Last, here you can see the full video of the roundtable.