There's a dirty little secret in the disaster recoveryindustry, according to Dave Simpson, who tracks the storage market for the 451Research Group. Usually, customers require less recovery than industry vendorsmake them believe, he says. But vendors charge customers based on how much datathey back up, when in reality it's rare for an organisation to require acomplete recovery of all its backed up data.

Disaster recovery and backup software maker Asigra introduced a new pricing system today that changes the traditional model bycharging customers based on how much information is actually recoveredannually, not just how much is backed up.

The new Recovery Licensing Model (RLM) which the company has a patent pending for introduces a performance-based pricing model for theDR industry, which other industries have already seen. Instead of buying musicalbums, iTunes now lets consumers buy individual songs; some auto insurers chargecustomers based on their driving habits using in-car monitors; cloud computinghas ushered in pay-by-the-hour virtual machines for rent.

Asigra's RLM pricing model works similarly: Customer paybased on the amount of data they recover. Customers with resilient,fault-tolerant systems that require less annually recoveries pay less thancustomers to have frequent recovery events. The pricing structure is capped at25% of backup costs and each customer's single largest annual recovery is waived.

Each customer is provided a Recovery Performance Score whichdictates their payment. If customers recover less than 5% of their data in ayear, they would pay $0.167 per GB per month; customers recovering 25% or moreof their data annually would pay up to $0.50 per GB per month, according to Asigra list prices. Asigra sells mostly through channel partners though.

"There is no value in back up, only in recovering," says Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Steve Duplessie. "By charging based on recovery versus what every else has always done - charge you for backup - they are aligning the cost with the actual value."

Simpson, the 451 researcher, says the model has the potential to be disruptive, if Asigra competitors like Symantec, IBM, BMC adopt the model as well; otherwise, it will be a market-differentiator for Asigra and its partners. For most customers, he believes it would likely save them money compared to the traditional model if they have a lot of data to back up and few large-scale recoveries.

Network World senior writer Brandon Butler coverscloud computingand social collaboration. He can be reached at[email protected]and found onTwitterat @BButlerNWW.