As children, we were taught to ask permission before doing certain things: “May I have a snack before dinner?” or “May I go ride my bike?” Similarly, the Axcient product is instrumented to ask “May I?” before performing certain functions. This “May I” request has to do with certain “entitlements,” which dictate the behavior of the Axcient backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery service.

What are Entitlements?

Entitlements are dimensions that can be automatically measured and enforced. Entitlements provide flexibility to change service capabilities without having to physically swap out an appliance. The Axcient service is tailored to fit each customer’s needs along three dimensions:

  1. Onsite (appliance) storage
  2. Offsite (cloud) storage
  3. Available features that are determined by a subscription package (Backup, Protect, Fortify, Fortify-X)

The entitlements for a service ID are specified by Axcient within the Remote Management Console (RMC) when the particular service is being provisioned. The appliance corresponding to the service ID automatically downloads the entitlements as the basis for measurement and enforcement.

How Does Enforcement Work?

The Axcient entitlement infrastructure was phased in over several appliance software releases. The 2.6 and 2.7 releases provided entitlement reporting, which identifies when actual usage exceeds an entitlement.

As of the 2.8 release, entitlements are enforced. If an appliance is running 2.8 or higher and is compliant with its entitlements, then everything should run as expected. However, if actual usage exceeds an entitlement, the appliance will fire a notification event and you can expect to see the following behavior:

  • Onsite Storage: Some appliances have more physical capacity than the model number indicates. For example, a “250” appliance actually has physical capacity of 1 TB, but the entitlement makes the appliance appear as though it has only 250 GB.

It’s possible to exceed the onsite storage entitlement, usually because a recently completed backup surpassed the logical storage limit or excess storage was being used prior to an upgrade to 2.8. If the onsite entitlement is exceeded, then backup jobs will no longer start unless the appliance is brought back into compliance. This can be accomplished either by pruning data you don’t need or contacting your Axcient account rep to increase the entitlement.

Note that exceeding the onsite storage entitlement will not cause data to be automatically deleted.

  • Offsite Storage: If the amount of offsite storage used exceeds the entitlement, a warning is issued by the appliance. Offsite backups will continue to run.
  • Available Features: Depending upon the package, certain features are disabled in the Unified Management Console (UMC). Specifically, features pertaining to image backup and restore are not accessible in the Backup or Protect packages, while granular mailbox protection features are not available in the Backup package.

If a backup job was created outside the bounds of the package entitlement, that backup will no longer run after the appliance is upgraded to 2.8 or higher. For example, a server image backup on an appliance that is entitled to Backup or Protect will no longer start after the appliance is upgraded to 2.8 or higher. To continue to run the backup, you would contact your Axcient account rep to change the package entitlement to Fortify.

As with the onsite storage entitlement, being out of compliance with the feature entitlement will not cause data to be deleted.

How Can I See My Entitlements?

You can view the entitlements for a service ID in two places. First is in the appliance details view in the RMC. The other is in the UMC, under System->Entitlements. Here you also have the ability to force an entitlement refresh if Axcient made changes on your behalf and the appliance hasn’t yet downloaded the new entitlements.

Entitlements give the flexibility to adjust the Axcient service for meeting customer needs without necessarily having to physically replace an appliance. Customers can simply place a change order and the rest will flow through automatically. If you have questions about how to do this, your Axcient account rep will be happy to help.