In volleyball, spikes are a good thing; in prison breaks and network management, not so much.
And if your company is activating the license, you're most likely in emergency mode; therefore, Aventail is including its Platinum Assurance 24x7 customer service to try to resolve any problems quickly.
Aventail says companies will use Spike License Pack for two reasons: Peak-access periods like retail holidays or financial season deadlines; and for disaster recovery, where large numbers of users may need to access resources at a cold or hot backup site.
Experts point out that customers will often negotiate private arrangements with vendors for on-demand, short-term licenses. But the drawbacks are that licenses expire or don't get activated quickly enough to help.
"Many companies operate remote-access systems near capacity to save money, but doing so is a bad idea for disaster preparedness," writes John Girard, VP at the Gartner consultancy, in a research note. "All remote-access gateways should be designed with spare capacity, not only for emergencies, but also for better overall performance. If your remote-access program doesn't run like a well-oiled machine under normal circumstances, then it has no chance of weathering an emergency."
The Spike License Pack is available only on two of Aventail's VPN appliances -- the EX-1500, which supports 25 to 50 extra users; and the EX-2500, supporting 100 to 2,000 extra users. The EX-750 with its 25-user capacity, doesn't scale high enough to warrant a Spike License Pack offering.
The new licensing is unusual in the SSL VPN access space where many products are licensed on a per-device basis and not on a per-user basis. However, the cost savings for Aventail customers can be huge. For example, on an EX-1500 appliance licensed for 100 users with a 150-user Spike License Pack, the list prices are:
- 30-day duration at $1,488 for a single appliance or high-availability pair, or
- 90-day duration at $3,719 for a single appliance or HA pair.
The savings are sizeable when compared to a permanent upgrade of 150 additional users at $11,000 for a single appliance, or $17,600 for an HA pair. In addition, consider that Aventail's per-user pricing for 150 permanent licenses on a single appliance is roughly $73 per user, which, according to market research, is slightly below industry averages. The 30- and 90-day licenses are $9.92 per user and $24.79 per user, respectively.
Mike Fratto, Editor at Large, Dark Reading
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