pay-as-you-grow pricing

Contributor(s): Sarah Wilson

Pay-as-you-grow pricing in enterprise storage is a sales model that allows customers to purchase capacity incrementally as it is needed.

The pay-as-you-grow pricing model is used by some storage vendors in contrast to payment models that require customers to pay for capacity up front, even if most of it is unused. Pay-as-you-grow storage systems may ship with all the disk slots full, but customers pay to license capacity in increments. As they use all the capacity in their initial license, they buy an additional license to unlock more disk drives.

Pay-as-you-grow pricing is attractive to customers for several reasons:

  • The up-front cost of storage is smaller.
  • It can reduce Capex because customers avoid overprovisioning by purchasing capacity before it is used.
  • Scaling is often simple with vendors that offer pay-as-you-grow pricing because many allow addition capacity to be deployed without downtime.

Pay-as-you-grow storage is most often found in storage-area network arrays. Some arrays have expansion capabilities that allow customers to purchase fixed amounts of additional capacity for existing arrays. An example of this is Violin Memory's Flash Storage Platform (FSP) and Windows Flash Array (WFA) all-flash arrays. For instance, WFA customers can purchase software licenses for additional storage in 8.8 TB increments.

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Cloud storage uses a similar to pricing model as pay-as-you-grow because customers only pay public providers for the capacity in use.

This was last updated in March 2016

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How big of a factor is storage pricing in your storage system evaluation?
It's one of many factors. Price tells you what you pay, not for what you pay, so there are a lot of KPIs to consider. 
Our TechTarget Storage surveys consistently show that price is actually not the key consideration for a storage system purchase. On our most recent survey, when we asked for the main factor in the choice of a primary storage vendor price was cited by 25%--but Tech Support (26%) and Product Features (26%) were equally important. So, while everyone wants a bargain, most people aren't willing to sacrifice functionality or support.