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The Case for Monthly Active Users

As a development company dedicated to the open source community, we strive to create code that can be used in perpetuity for Identity projects all over the world. Gluu readily subjects its code to evaluation by various certification bodies and maintains a strong understanding of our obligations to meet these certifications.

For the past 10 years Gluu has derived its revenue from Consulting and Support contracts and to a lesser degree from licensed software component that support the Gluu distribution. We serve government, financial and enterprise clients with this model all over the world. Regional, and industry differences in economies have necessitated us to vary our pricing models depending on the type of environment and the organization makeup.

This has tended to cause an imbalance of support requests and development needs. For instance, an education client may contact support dozens of times per year where a large enterprise may call only once. In addition, the development needs for a government deployment to meet or maintain compliance for a citizen facing application are less than a SaaS provider or publishing company managing social login for their website.

Some software development companies have adopted a per user or a per node pricing model that attempts to make larger identity databases pay more than smaller. This also has the tendency place an unfair tax on deployments where there are multiple identities and stymie their growth by effectively placing a tax on each user. This creates an imbalance as many identity systems may sit idle holding hundreds of thousands of users where smaller systems are pummeled with authentication requests from only a handful of users. Modern hybrid and cloud native platforms with autoscaling technology can easily run a system with millions of idle users with minimal processing whereas a smaller identity deployment that needs to meet high concurrency at the beginning of work days or at critical times may need to scale to several hundred nodes at moments notice. Why should these systems pay disproportionately?

It is time for a more modern approach to disperse the value of Gluu to each client we serve and share it to fund our efforts to develop leading software, and staff with responsive knowledgeable support. Gluu is not the only company to move to Monthly Active users. Both Google Identity and Amazon Cognito have adopted this model as it makes sense for Cloud computing to charge their client based on usage. So have other Gluu Cloud partners hosting MFA and Certificate Management solutions as well as Identity and Governance solutions. By adopting a similar pricing model Gluu can be sold as a part of an entire identity ecosystem and maintain uniform yearly costs.

Average Monthly active users (aMAU) is a measure of utilization and loyalty to an identity and access management system and if your organization can track increasing aMAU it reflects more use or engagement with your product and allow you to derive more revenue or value from the service. We are sure this approach will help all our community to consider our software and support and will help us to dispense with the need to provide special pricing for Education or Government or expect our Enterprise clients to pay a high price on an initial deployment. In addition we hope to support startup / Saas companies by allowing them to pay an initial low aMAU and as success is derived from increased revenues they can move to a higher tier keeping the same value, but taking advantage of a lower price tier.

Over the new few months, you can count on updates to our software that will help you to calculate aMAU directly from the OxAuth / Admin interface or by safely querying your logs. We will always be transparent about how the metrics are derived and allow you and your organization to decide. We suspect that you will realize the value from our License, Support and Maintenance program by helping to fund improvement of our products and by returning you access to enhancements from our development teams and access to knowledgeable responsive support.