Check Point’s New Multi-Core Pricing
I don’t normally announce changes to my employer’s pricelist on my personal blog. That being said, I actually had something to do with making this happen.
Unlike most vendors that sell firewall/security appliances, Check Point also sells a software-only version of their that can be installed on a variety of servers made by major hardware manufacturers like HP, Dell, IBM, and others. This allows you the flexibility to buy exactly the kind of hardware you need, yet still be able to provide enterprise-class security.
When the Software Blades pricing was announced last year, there was one other key change to the licensing terms: for open servers, you had to buy a license that covered the number of processor cores the system had. As part of Check Point’s tiered pricing strategy, the theory was a multi-core system represented a higher-end purchase, had a higher-end intent, and thus deserves a higher-end price.
This theory falls apart in a couple of key areas:
- Places where single (or even dual) core systems weren’t even available. Single-core systems are becoming more and more rare, even in the US. In other regions, they are impossible to get.
- Needing platforms with redundant disks or power supplies, which only comes on the higher end platforms.
As a result of customer feedback–feedback which I helped to gather–Check Point has made a change to their pricing and their policies with respect to multi-core open systems. There is one new item on the pricelist: SG203U. It’s essentially a two-core, 3-blade license (FW + VPN + IPS) that supports unlimited users. Talk to your Check Point sales rep or reseller for pricing, as that can change.
The more important change is that it is now possible to purchase a license that specifies less cores than are available in your system. In current releases of R70, we require the number of cores present to match the number of licensed cores, else errors are displayed. We explain in SK36750 how to get around this. Future versions will allow there to be less licensed cores than present physical cores.
Even with these changes, there are a few unhappy customers. Specifically, they were looking for single-core, unlimited user gateway licenses. However, the changes have generally been positively received by customers. I feel like I accomplished something, even though my role in the overall process was relatively small.
It does show that Check Point does listen to and respond to customer needs–something I clearly see in my day-to-day work, but I can’t easily demonstrate because of pesky things like non-disclosure agreements