EMC has defended its recently announced massive price hikes, pointing out that they only affect the MozyPro online backup and recovery service for servers – not the desktop version – and saying that its previous single licensing was impractical.

Analysts say that the roughly tripled prices – due to come into effect from tomorrow – are necessary and reasonable. However, EMC still runs the risk of losing customers to rival vendors.

Doug Chandler from IDC said some disgruntled users may blame the new pricing scheme on EMC's acquisition of MozyPro developer Berkeley Data Systems last year. "If you were a Mozy customer for a while, you may see this as the other shoe dropping."

Roy Sanford, vice-president of EMC's software as-a-service business unit, said the MozyPro single licensing scheme was not practical for the scalability and application demands of a server.

The MozyPro server hosted service is already significantly different from the MozyHome and the MozyPro desktop offerings, he said. The high-end offerings support server operating systems and "in many cases server-level applications like Exchange and SQL [that] are much more robust applications than you would typically see on an individual PC," he added.

Chandler said that despite potential unrest among MozyPro users, EMC really had to boost prices to upgrade the service to meet corporate demands. "The reality is that any of these services are going to take a real amount of investment to [incorporate] the availability and service levels that businesses really need."

Earlier this year, EMC brought out the MozyEnterprise backup service, which includes acquired and EMC-built technologies, as part of an effort to compete with new offerings from storage rivals Symantec, IBM and Dell. All want to attract more large companies looking to evaluate hosted storage offerings.

Sanford said EMC has no plans to charge enterprise-level prices for home users or SME customers of the Mozy service.