Rethinking DR: Asigra Focuses On Cost Of Restores, Not Backups

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Cloud data protection technology developer Asigra on Wednesday said it plans to disrupt the pricing model for disaster recovery by charging customers primarily for the amount of data restored and not for the amount of data backed up.

Under the new Asigra Recovery License Model, which was introduced Wednesday at the company's annual partner conference held this week in Toronto, customers pay a much lower cost than normal for backing up their data to the Asigra cloud while paying to restore data in the event of a disaster.

The Asigra Recovery License Model also provides for low-cost disaster recovery testing, and it provides solution providers with a wealth of information related to their customers' backup and recovery use, said Eran Farajun, executive vice president for Toronto-based Asigra.

[Related: Asigra Adds Cloud-To-Cloud Backup Of Google Apps ]

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"We are introducing recovery-based performance pricing," Farajun said. "We are decoupling the backup and recovery licensing. In backups today, you pay to recover 100 percent of a backup. But, no one recovers 100 percent of their data."

Under the Asigra Recovery License Model, customers pay $0.166 per GB per month to back data up, and on top of that pay for the cost of recovering data if needed, Farajun said.

The minimum cost for recovering data is $0.167 per GB per month if only 5 percent of data is recovered, while the maximum is $0.50 per GB per month if 25 percent or more of the data is recovered.

Farajun compared this to the industry standard of $0.66 per GB per month for business-class backup and recovery.

Historically, backup and restore have always been coupled together because everyone assumed that data that is backed up will be restored, said Tom Dugan, CEO of Recovery Networks, a Philadelphia-based MSP and Asigra partner.

"Asigra is decoupling the backup cost from the restore cost," Dugan said. "As the amount of data that is backed up continues to grow, the percentage, which is restored, is falling."

NEXT: Helping Customers Understand The Value Of Restores

In theory, only 10 to 20 percent of a customer's data is restored in a given year, Recovery Networks' Dugan said.

"If you graph the growth of data with this licensing model, the cost of restores is not growing at the same rate as the growth of backups," Dugan said. "For example, you may have 10 TB of data this year, and for whatever reason restore 1 TB. That's 10 percent of the data. Next year, you may have 15 TB of data, but still only restore 1 TB. The following year, you may have 20 TB of data, but only restore 1 TB, or 5 percent of the total."

Matthew Grosso, executive vice president and CTO of Data Storage Corp., a Garden City, N.Y.-based MSP and infrastructure services provider and Asigra partner, called the Asigra Recovery License Model a much-needed program because customers have trouble understanding the value of a cloud-based data protection offering like Asigra.

"Asigra has a very robust platform, and [it] is easy to manage," Grosso said. "You can have one operations technician easily manage 150 accounts. With other solutions, that technician might quit if you give him more than 30 accounts."

Grosso, who learned about the Asigra Recovery License Model at Asigra's partner conference, said he did the math and figured that, for smaller customers with no major disaster recovery incident, the cost for DR drops by up to two-thirds compared to other licensing models.

"Now I can say to a customer, I can get you on the very best platform, I can show you all the SLAs you need, and I can meet your price points," he said.

The pricing for the Asigra Recovery License Model starts out at the maximum, but falls over time as customers disaster recovery performance, measured by the company's new Asigra Recovery Tracker, improves, Asigra's Farajun said.

For instance, a customer backing up 10 TB of data might pay a total of $5,120 per month for the first six months on the program, which includes the $0.166 per GB backup fee plus $0.50 per GB recovery fee. However, with no recovery incidents during that six-month period, the total cost of having the data backed up and ready for recovery drops to $1,699 per month, which includes the $0.166 per GB backup fee and the $0.167 per GB recovery fee.

NEXT: Low-Cost DR Tests, Waiving The Cost Of Biggest Restore

The Asigra Recovery Tracker tracks the number of recoveries performed per year, the amount of data recovered, the source of the data loss, and the reason for the restore.

"This is Asigra's contribution to big data," Asigra's Farajun said. "Partners will gain information about which devices were used, which were not used, and how much they were used. This can be used to help customers make their environment more efficient so they recover less data. If they are more efficient, they recover less, and so they pay less."

The Asigra Recovery License Model also allows customers to schedule disaster recovery drills one month in advance at a cost of $0.07 per GB for as little or as much data as they desire, Farajun said. Most customers test 20 percent to 40 percent of their data, based on the company's surveys.

To help customers even further, Asigra only includes successful recoveries when recalculating the recovery cost, even if an unsuccessful recovery is caused by the customer's own hardware, Farajun said.

"We also have a waiver for the single largest recovery event in a 12-month period," he said. "At the end of the year, we look at the recoveries, look for a spike or one that is larger than the others, and don't count it in the cost."

Asigra has created a new model for backup and restore pricing and scheduled DR testing, Data Storage's Grosso said.

"Maybe 80 percent, 85 percent, 90 percent of customers have very small recovery of data needs on a yearly basis, unless it's schedule or a Hurricane Sandy comes through," he said. "But if a Sandy comes through, there's no impact on the cost. Asigra drops the restore with the highest amount of data."

Dugan said the Asigra Recovery License Model is like auto insurance in that, if there is no accident this year, the rate may fall next year. "But in a dire emergency, you want the benefit no matter what the cost is," he said.

Dugan expects that other cloud storage and backup providers will eventually adopt a licensing model similar to Asigra's new model.

"But Asigra has it now," he said. "It will take years for others to integrate this model."