Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series

Commentary

David Hill
David Hill Network Computing Blogger

Shifting The Backup And Recovery Focus To Recovery

Asigra's new pricing model focuses on how much data needs to be recovered rather than how much storage is used. Could this be a game changer for the backup/recovery market?

Backup and recovery processes are--or should be--a staple in the data protection portfolio of every organization. Even though backup/recovery has been around for decades, changes in the IT environment--such as the explosion of data, which puts cost pressures on backups--are affecting backup and recovery choices. Moreover, the cloud (public, private or hybrid) beckons, technology choices are increasing, and everyone seems to offer backup in one way or another.

Although these are all important trends, backup/recovery software supplier Asigra argues that the emphasis needs to focus on recovery (reliability, completeness, accuracy, speed) rather than backup. While backup is a necessary step, says Asigra, it is not where the data protection value lies. A key element of the company’s strategy is a new pricing model, the Asigra Recovery License Model. All innovations do not have to be technical and, even if you are not an Asigra customer or partner, you need to know why this model could eventually affect the entire backup/recovery market.

More Insights

Webcasts

More >>

White Papers

More >>

Reports

More >>

Asigra In A Nutshell

Asigra is a 27-year-old privately held, Canadian-based software vendor with an exclusive focus on backup/recovery. Asigra claims to protect 1 million sites globally, and it has strategic alliances with Cisco, Huawei, IBM, NetApp and Parallels.

Among the niches that Asigra serves are remote and branch offices, desktops, virtual environments and mobile devices. For example, branch offices typically do not have sophisticated IT support, so even managing a single tape drive may be a challenge. Using Asigra’s agentless technology to back up over a network to a central, professionally managed location makes life easier for the branch office and ensures that backup processes are performed reliably and effectively.

The company’s technologies also can apply to the cloud. One managed service provider told me that he adopted Asigra a couple of years ago for his public cloud as the only technology he could find to provide multitenancy and other capabilities that he needed. Another example of where Asigra plays in the cloud is that it is the first--and so far only--backup solution included in IBM’s SmartCloud offering.

Asigra sells 100% through indirect sales channels. Its partners have a wide range of business models, from those who sell the Asigra backup/recovery software directly to businesses to others that bundle Asigra as a backup service on a public cloud where the software is only a small component of the overall product. This point is critical to understanding the impact of Asigra’s new, patent-pending licensing model.

Asigra’s New Pricing Model

The traditional pricing model for backup/recovery is by capacity--that is, by how much storage is used. Asigra invented this pricing model about 20 years ago, and, since then, it has been largely adopted by most players. The company developed this model because the previous standard method was to charge by the number of agents deployed, and Asigra uses an agentless architecture.

Asigra discovered that almost no customer recovers more than 25% of its data at any one time, with 5% being a more common quantity. Yet with the explosive growth in data, more and more information will be protected that will likely never need to be recovered. As a result, the real metric for service quality should be how well the recovery is performed (speed, accuracy, completeness, etc.). So the company defined the new Asigra Recovery License Model (RLM): Users pay a small fixed price to store the data but are charged variable additional costs based on how much data needs to be recovered.

Note that Asigra is not the first storage vendor to charge in this manner. For example, Amazon Glacier, which provides services for deep archiving of data, charges a low price for initially storing the data but what some consider a far higher cost for recovering the data.

[Too many IT pros take risks with backup, according to an InformationWeek survey. Read more in "IT Gambling With Backups."]

In developing the new pricing model, Asigra had to address two significant hurdles: 1) IT budgets tend to be fixed for a year, so pre-planning for expenses needs to be taken into account. Plus, asking for more money in the middle of the year is not a pleasant experience. 2.) The user may feel that his data is being held hostage in a sense, and he only gets it back if the price is met.

Asigra’s RLM addresses these points with a number of techniques, including a cap and floor, a one-time waiver, and upfront savings to mitigate disruptions to the customer’s planning processes. However, in the long run, inefficient customers will pay more. To help a customer plan, the company provides the Asigra Recovery Tracker, a software tool that measures recovery performance.

Now, the Recovery Tracker is a two-edged sword. Asigra’s customers have no choice but to install it to track recovery performance and report back to the company, but viewing it simply as an intrusive “tattletale” application seriously understates how much it helps users improve the operational efficiencies of their backup/recovery processes. Typically, “game changer” is an overused marketing term that causes the eyes to glaze over, but Recovery Tracker is truly a game changer that could lead to significantly improved IT operational efficiency.

Recovery Tracker provides data on the number of recoveries performed each year, the amount of data covered, sources of any data loss, and the reasons restores were necessary.

Meanwhile, analytical tools can provide information, such as total recovery by department, most recovered sources and top four reasons for data loss. The user now has information that can lead to actionable insights, such as what to do to reduce or eliminate the need for recoveries from a particular source. In turn, those actions should lead to changes in user behavior to improve efficiencies in the backup/restore environment.

NEXT: Asigra's Channel Partners Respond

 1 | 2  | Next Page »


Related Reading



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.