Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Jim Kaskade, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Agile Computing: Article

Scalable Pricing in a Scalable World

Nati Shalom: Need scalability in the new dynamically-scalable world? Don’t forget pricing

Nati Shalom's GigaSpaces Blog

In most discussions about scalability, we often approach the topic as a pure technical/architecture challenge, and ignore cost issues. The problem is that when we truly scale our application, and want to benefit from economies of scale, we're going to end up with scale limitations, not because of technical issues, but because of the pricing and licensing models.

In most discussions about scalability, we often approach the topic as a pure technical/architecture challenge, and ignore cost issues. The problem is that when we truly scale our application, and want to benefit from economies of scale, we're going to end up with scale limitations, not because of technical issues, but because of the pricing and licensing models.

Scalable pricing

Scalable pricing means a pricing scheme that provides the benefits of economies of scale. Below are pricing models commonly used for software products and how they fit in the new dynamically-scalable world.

  • Free - while this certainly sounds like the best option (and may very well be) the customer needs to be aware of the following:
- The free license of a software product typically does not include support: not an option for most mission critical applications.
- When you do pay extra for support, you will typically be charged just like any other run-time license on a per CPU basis.
- Make sure that the company behind the product has a sustainable business model, otherwise there is a good chance that it will either die when its funding dries up or change its license model to monetize its user base. That's fine, but all it means is that it's not really a free offering in the long run, and you don't know what the pricing model will be exactly.
- In terms of total cost of ownership (TCO), free products are not necessarily the cheapest option. TCO is dependent on many factors, for example, dependency on other products (and their license costs), the need for integration and maintenance, etc. See my post, Economies of non scale, for more on the topic.
  • Subscription model - With a subscription model you pay a fixed periodical fee, typically on an annual basis for infrastructure software, and on a monthly basis for SaaS. Subscription pricing is suitable for on-demand scalability as it provides the flexibility to grow or reduce cost based on the annual use of the product.
  • Pay per use - this model is even more flexible then subscription model as it gives you higher granularity. Pay per use is provides in various forms where the usage can be a measure of CPU utilization or bandwidth utilization. Amazon for example charge per machine utilization for its EC2 services and data-utilization for its data services.
  • Perpetual license - This model is used to buy licenses in advance and pay for support separately (normally 15-20% on top of the per CPU license). This is the most commonly used model with commercial software products, however, due to the large initial investment required by this model, it doesn't fit well with on-demand environment.
  • Enterprise unlimited license - This model enables you to pay premium price in advance (based on potential future usage) and gives you the freedom to use the software without any limit. This model fits to environment where you anticipate that over a fairly short period of time the usage of the product will become wide and therefore the pay-per use or any of the other models mentioned above will become more expensive.

Which model to choose?

Each of the models has pros and cons and therefore the answer depends on your situation. Also, over time, as the situation changes, you will probably realize you need a different license model, and so it becomes equally important that the product you choose will give you the freedom to move from one model to another in the future.

GigaSpaces scalable pricing

With GigaSpaces we continuously look into ways to make our software license cost fit the on-demand world. For example, we launched a free Start-Up program that provides a totally FREE version of GigaSpaces for startups (hundreds of start-ups have already signed up for this program since we launched it last year). We also provide a Pay-Per-Use model for those running on Amazon EC2.

We felt that even though this is a fairly flexible pricing, we could do better. As of our 6.6 release, we added the option to buy our software at a yearly subscription price, and we also launched a new package called XAP Standard Edition, which is sold at a very low price of $9,500k per package (not CPU) where the package includes two servers, 4 GigaSpaces nodes and up to 50 clients or remote servers.

These changes were designed to address the needs of developers looking to start running their applications at a relatively low scale, who need the full functionality of the product, but cannot afford the full XAP price. Another principle that we kept when we designed this package is that moving from Standard to Premium edition wouldn't require any change in your architecture or code - which means that you could always scale to the premium edition just by changing the license key.
More details about the new pricing model is available here.


Nati Shalom was part of the star-studded lineup of speakers that spoke at SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Expo. Between them, they covered every aspect of the hottest IT topic for years, with not just Amazon but also IBM, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Intel, HP and a host of others all offering, using or developing high-end computing services typically described as “cloud computing” - through which massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided as a service using Internet technologies.

Forrester Research analyst James Staten calls cloud computing "classic disruptive innovation - where the mainstream dismisses the product and small companies have time to create a real differentiated value." But there are so many offerings just now that what infrastructure architects are looking for above all is a set of organizing principles they can use to guide them in choosing between them all.

Such principles. and a host of associated topics, were addressed in San Jose by a Top Speaker Faculty that included:

  • Dr Werner Vogels - VP & CTO, Amazon.com (Keynote)
  • Mike Feinberg - Senior Vice President, Cloud Infrastructure Group, EMC
  • Steve Herrod - CTO, VMware
  • David Bernstein - VP & GM of Network Applications Infrastructure, Cisco
  • Rob Weltman - Director of Grid Services, Yahoo!
  • Peter Nickolov - President CTO, 3tera
  • Kevin Haar - President & CEO, Appistry
  • Songnian Zhou - Co-Founder & CEO, Platform Computing
  • Patrick Harr - CEO, Nirvanix
  • Gerrit Huizenga - Cloud Solutions Architect, IBM
  • John Keagy - CEO & Co-Founder, GoGrid/ServePath
  • Sajai Krishnan - CEO, ParaScale
  • Reuven Cohen - Founder & Chief Technologist, Enomaly
  • Mike Eaton - CEO, Cloudworks
  • Jonathan Bryce - Founder at Mosso (Rackspace)
  • Nati Shalom - CTO, GigaSpaces
  • Don MacAskill - CEO & Chief Geek, SmugMug
  • Billy Marshall - Founder & CEO, rPath
  • Dr Thorsten von Eicken - CTO & Founder, RightScale
  • Jonathan Pyke - Chief Strategy Office, Cordys
  • Jason Stowe - Founder & CEO, Cycle Computing
  • David Young - Co-Founder & CEO, Joyent
  • Dave Durkee - Founder, CEO & Technical Director, ENKI
  • John Janakiraman - CTO, Skytap
  • Stuart Charlton - Chief Software Architect, Elastra
  • Lars Leckie, Principal, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
  • Dr Rich Wolski - Professor, U.C. Santa Barbara
  • Javier Soltero - Co-Founder & CEO of Hyperic
  • Omer Trajman - Director of Field Engineering, Vertica Systems
  • Rachel Chalmers - Senior Analyst, Enterprise Software, The 451 Group
  • Alan Williamson, Founder at Blog-City.com, Creator of BlueDragon

More Stories By Nati Shalom

Nati Shalom, Founder and CTO at GigaSpaces, is a thought leader in Cloud-Computing and Big-Data Technologies. Shalom was recently recognized as a Top Cloud Computing Blogger for CIO’s by The CIO Magazine and his blog listed as an excellent blog by *technical founders* by YCombinator. Shalom is also the founder of the IGTCloud, and is a frequent presenter at industry conferences.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...