June 8, 2009

Per-terabyte pricing

Software-only DBMS vendors sometimes price per terabyte of user data.  Vertica’s list price is $100K/TB. Greenplum’s list price is $70K/TB. In practice, both offer substantial discounts, especially at higher volumes.  In both cases, this means raw data, uncompressed, without counting indexes or temp space.

Client experience teaches me that this definition is easy to forget, so let me reemphasize the key point:

Per-terabyte pricing is based on a calculated figure.  Per-terabyte pricing is not based on the current disk space used by your database when managed by the DBMS you are replacing.

There’s at least one important difference in how Vertica and Greenplum calculate database size.  No matter how many times you copy the data, Vertica only charges you for it once.* But if you spin out data marts and recopy data into it — as Greenplum rightly encourages you to do — Greenplum wants to be paid for each copy.  Similarly, Vertica charges only for deployment, and not for test or development; I didn’t remember to ask what Greenplum’s policies are in those regards. (Edit: Greenplum says in a comment below that it doesn’t charge for test or development data either.)

*That policy is a great fit with Vertica’s performance recommendation that you should store columns in different sort orders, perhaps an average of two copies per column.


7 Responses to “Per-terabyte pricing”

  1. Rob Klopp on June 8th, 2009 12:38 pm

    Greenplum, like Vertica, does not charge for test or development systems.

  2. Michael McIntire on June 11th, 2009 12:38 pm

    I think the industry needs several new pricing models. The CPU or Data volume licensing models currently in place make a basic assumption that a particular volume of data is worth a set amount of value, and further, that the third party software company is entitled to a percentage of that value.

    The problem is, if you have an application which produces prodigious amounts of data at very low cost (see ANY web company for examples), the current pricing can and does exceed the value of the data per unit of licensing. Look no further than any large scale map/reduce or hadoop implementation for an example.

  3. Robt. David on June 12th, 2009 3:07 pm

    You wrote:
    “Software-only DBMS vendors sometimes price per terabyte of user data. Vertica’s list price is $100K/TB. Greenplum’s list price is $70K/TB.”

    Curt – do you have any idea how do these firms price out their product for ISVs/OEMs that embed their solutions (vs. end user implementations)? Thx.

  4. Curt Monash on June 12th, 2009 4:40 pm

    A lot cheaper. 🙂

    I don’t have more detail.

    But then, they have few enough OEMs each that each deal is surely negotiated separately.

  5. User data vs. raw disk space as a marketing metric | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on July 31st, 2009 11:49 am

    […] I favor user data as a metric […]

  6. Randolph on May 5th, 2011 3:04 am

    Curt, Are these charges comparable?
    i.e. Are they once off charges or annual ?
    If once off, what percentage do they charge for support?

  7. Curt Monash on May 5th, 2011 7:24 am


    Those are old figures now, but they were perpetual license figures, if I recall correctly.

    Oracle’s 22% maintenance figure has become widely popular.

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