Asigra Gets Flexible on PricingBy Pedro Pereira | Posted 2008-10-29 Email Print
Storage vendor Asigra is making its disaster backup and recovery software available for a monthly fee without upfront costs.
Recognizing that its backup and recovery technology isn't exactly cheap, storage vendor Asigra is no longer requiring channel partners to lay out tens of thousands of dollars up front for the software.
Instead, the vendor is licensing its Televaulting backup and recovery platform to partners on a month-to-month basis, with partners paying $500 monthly or more, depending on how many terabytes of storage capacity they use, says Asigra Executive Vice President Eran Farajun.
"They're actually buying the software, and they're actually using it for 30 days," Farajun says. "To date, we've always sold our software on a perpetual license basis."
Perpetual licenses are common in the software industry; they call for a one-time payment without requiring buyers to renew the license every year.
Asigra's motivation for the change is threefold, the company says—increase its appeal to MSPs, make the software more accessible to channel partners that lack the capital to pay $50,000 to $70,000 up front, and open more inroads into the small and midsize business space.
"I think it is good business," says Paul Myerson, senior channel analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, who was briefed by Asigra on the new pricing model. If positioned correctly, Myerson adds, the move will increase Asigra's SMB market share.
"Offering the community flexibility in regards to investment provides people the opportunity to leverage proven technology with a lower upfront cost while they get going," Myerson says. "I am a believer in acquiring footprint and watching it grow. Asigra just took some time coming to the same conclusion."
Farajun says while Asigra has some penetration in the SMB space, the high cost of entry for its software has naturally limited the depth of that penetration.
In addition, the company in recent years has noticed that subscription-based backup and recovery services have gained a lot of traction, he says.
Backup and recovery, in fact, are among the most popular services delivered remotely by MSPs, and managed services platform vendor Zenith Infotech has used backup and recovery as a focal point of its market approach. Other vendors, including EMC and Symantec, have their own remote backup and recovery initiatives.
Asigra gives partners the option of running the software at the partner's own data center or leveraging another Asigra partner's co-location center. Through either arrangement, says Farajun, the data resides at a partner facility, not the vendor's. And this, he says, is a salient point that he hopes will strike a chord with partners.
Vendors that offer hosting models calling for the vendors themselves to store customer data could easily cut the partner out of the process at some point if the vendors decide they want to deal with the customers directly, Farajun says.
This prospect, of course, is one of the biggest fears for channel companies that have embraced the SAAS (software as a service) model. SAAS can turn a partner into a mere agent for the software vendor, unless the partner succeeds in adding integration and ongoing maintenance services for the customer.
New York-based IT and consulting services company Bluewolf's approach to SAAS includes making available to partners an integration tool that allows them to take charge of integrating SAAS application with legacy software. As added insurance, Bluewolf recently added remote monitoring to the tool so that Bluewolf technicians can keep an eye on integration projects and intervene when problems arise.
Under the managed services model, partners retain control of the customer relationship and use the managed services software as a conduit for delivering the services remotely.
Farajun says the Asigra approach allows MSP partners to control their own destiny. Partners control the customer data and have the flexibility to add more capacity as the needs of their customers increase.
The more terabytes partners add, Farajun says, the more profitable they become, so they have an incentive to keep scaling up. Profit margins for partners of 40 or 50 percent are common, he says, adding that it's not uncommon for partners to hit the 60 percent mark as they get more scale.
Farajun says Asigra's new pricing model is straightforward and designed to ease adoption, deployment and management of the technology.