Stupid Licensing Practices

This is a rant so be forewarned …

We discovered an “interesting” kink in Backup Exec licensing this week.  I will admit that we had not been paying attention to the changes announced first by Symantec and then Veritas so I suppose we were partially asleep at the switch.  Nevertheless, the changes are significant and extremely maddening.

We have a number of smaller customer on BackupExec as it is the backup tool we use in NON-virtualized environments.  Traditionally, you bought the product along with the required agents (Exchange, SQL, server, etc) to cover the machines and services that you needed to backup.  Then, yearly, you would renew maintenance on the same product and agents.  Simple (well, sort of, Symantec never made things easy).

Now they have changed everything.  The concept of capacity based licensing has raised its ugly head and Veritas appears to be trying to shove everyone down that path.  In simplistic terms, they want you to pay by the amount of data you back up.  In other words, they are holding you hostage based on the amount of data you manage in your backups!  What a moronic move!

My gut feeling is that Symantec was bleeding money in the “backup” division so they spun it off and now Veritas is doing everything they can to prop up what appears to be a dying business.  You do that by bleeding your customer base dry.  That works when you have a captive market but, Veritas, you don’t!  There are many other backup vendors that users can turn to and, frankly, now is the time to do so.  There was a time when BackupExec was the gold standard for Windows Backup, in recent years it has become more of a gold standard for frustration.  I think there is going to be a backlash against Veritas over this move and their installed base is going to shrink even more.

Software vendors need to understand that you can only bleed your customers so far before the pain of staying with you outweighs the pain of going elsewhere.  It is moves such as this that have killed software  vendors in the past.  And don’t give me the line that this change in licensing is an “improvement” or an upgrade.  That is just fantasy on the part of someone in marketing and most customers will see it for exactly what it is – a cash grab by a company on the ropes.

Oh, and just to add the icing to the cake, motor on over to my colleague Stephanie Kahlam’s post on customer support from the new Veritas if you want another taste of the way Veritas views its customers.  All I can say is thank God there are other backup software vendors out there.