User vs. Gigabyte

User vs. Gigabyte Pricing Models and the Pros and Cons of Each: eDiscovery Trends

What can you expect to pay for eDiscovery software? Dr. Gavin Manes of Avansic breaks down user vs. gigabyte pricing models and the pros and cons of each!

In the post (Pricing: User vs. Gigabyte Models, available here) Gavin discusses how most of the industry uses one of two models for pricing, either user-based or per gigabyte, for eDiscovery software.

Gigabyte Fees: The most common method of billing in the eDiscovery world today is to charge per gigabyte of stored data. However, with the per-gigabyte pricing used by most vendors and software providers, monthly fees tend to vary widely. It is a good idea to get some sense of what a gigabyte means. Is it only the size of the natives? Does OCR text increase the size? How about productions? Does your billable gigabyte total go up every time you make a production?


User Fees: There is some thought that user fees aren’t very predictable either. Makes sense – the number of users accessing the tool could vary over time, particularly if it’s a large case. New law firm hires, turnover, additional attorneys added, or experts utilized could all change the access number which would mean a different monthly cost. But predictability is a multi-sided issue.

Gavin provides much more information about user vs. gigabyte pricing models and the pros and cons of each, depending on the specific needs and budget of the law firm. Check out his post here to find out what he says! It’s just one more click! 😉 You could be overpaying for eDiscovery software and not even realize it!

So, what do you think? What pricing approach do you prefer: gigabyte fees, user fees or something else? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.



  1. Ultimately, I think the preferable pricing option depends on the organizations specific circumstances at that time ie: number of users, data volume, and budget considerations. It’s important to evaluate the pricing structures between different vendors, and choose the one that aligns best with your current requirements, and cost objectives. Additionally, talk with your folks internally, and your vendor to explore custom pricing options.

  2. There is another pricing option that many will find more attractive. Instead of charging monthly per GB rent for the site (whether you use it or not), some vendors (at least one) are charging for hosting on an hourly basis. This is called Cloud Utility Pricing and offers substantial savings for most if not every site.

    You pay one hourly rate when the site is active (turned on). You pay another, greatly reduced rate when your site is offline (turned off). You can turn the site on and off manually or simply schedule its hours. If the site happens to be off and you need to use it, simply click the green button to turn it back on. The site can be rebuilt in less than five minutes.

    You can also use our “Cloud Energy Saver” utility to turn off the site automatically when not in use. savings can be as much as 70% over normal site rental costs. And, turning off the site is a great way to go green. With the server infrastructure shut down, we save energy otherwise used to keep all the servers running. Going green and saving money on hosting seems like a great option.

    I am not aware of any vendor that just charges for user fees (and not per GB rent). We don’t charge user fees in any event. You just pay for the computer resources you need when you need them.


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