It’s always been my philosophy that we should make it as easy as possible for our prospects to write us checks. Sounds flippant, but I believe it is sound business philosophy.
It’s been interesting to me to see how customers have wanted to buy infrastructure software, and how it has changed over the years.
Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, most network management vendors charged for their software per interface or per port, and we did as well. Around 2004 and 2005, we started receiving requests for device-based pricing, since it was difficult for end users to know just how many interfaces they had (but they knew how many devices were in inventory). So we acquiesced, and converted to device based pricing. To do this, you need to make assumptions about the average number of ports per networking device (or interfaces per Bladeserver, etc.).
A couple of years later, users observed that “all devices are not equal”, and that some devices might have only 4 ports, where others might have 128, yet the network management price was the same. Sigh. Simplicity conflicts with accuracy. No one wants to get into the effort of “x devices of size a at cost m, y devices of size b at cost n, etc.” – that’s the old CPU-class database pricing that frustrated all of us back in the 80s and 90s.
As a result, we offer both device and object-based pricing. Users are welcome to take advantage of us. If you have a majority of dense devices with hundreds of ports, device-based pricing is probably the way to go; if you have lots of thin devices, or don’t need to manage all the ports on a device, then object-based pricing is probably the way to go.
And just to make that check writing easier, if you’d prefer a subscription to the software rather than a traditional enterprise license (capitalize the software), we can do that too – for devices or for objects. 8 pricing choices. And if you subscribe, we can do a post-quarter true-up model – use now / pay later.
I’m trying to think of more.