Account Billing Policies Based on Storage

Storage-Based Billing

Most Lexbe eDiscovery Platform (LEP) accounts are based on storage.  There are no user fees, case set-up or similar fees for using LEP.  Most LEP accounts are billed on a monthly basis, in arrears. For example, usage in the month of February would be reflected in an invoice dated the last day of February and sent out sometime early the following month (March in this example).

What is Included in Storage

Billing is based on all ESI in an account, rounded up to the next largest GB.  Storage includes uploaded and processed native, image, and other files, OCR text, system-created PDFs, briefcases, and productions, search index, and related database usage, for the highest GB usage in a calendar month. 

Storage is increased by the following:
  • The GB size of document ESI uploaded.
  • The GB size of PDFs created from document ESI (generally about the same as the originals, but can be larger in some instances or smaller if a higher percentage of Placeholder files are created).
  • The GB size of the search index, including text extracted from ESI and from the PDFs after OCR and included in the search index (capped at 35% of document ESI for billing purposes).  Discussed below.  
  • The GB size of the SQL database allocated to the case.
  • The GB size of Productions and Briefcases created.
Regular storage in an Account does not include TIFF images.  These are often part of TIFF load file uploads from other litigation databases.  LEP creates joined PDF of the single page TIFF images (based on the document break in standard load files), and re-OCRs the PDF created from the TIFFs.  The new document-based PDF is included in storage calculations, but the originating TIFFs are not.  This allows our storage to remain the same as if the TIFFs, but not the joined PDFs, were included in calculations.

Regular storage in an Account also does not include PSTs.  PSTs are email container files, and upon extraction create MSGs representing individual email files.  These are usually further processed to email bodies and attachments, which are maintained as parent-child relationships in the document database.

Regular storage in an Account also does not include ZIP and RAR container files, so long as they are the top-level of documents ingested/uploaded in LEP.  These top-level files are often not part of original ESI as used by document custodians, and instead are created as part of collection, transfer, or upload/ingestion.

TIFFs, PSTs, and top level ZIP and RAR container files are included in your LEP account and not deleted (in case you need access).  If you ever create a production or briefcase with any of these files the production or briefcase created would be included in billable storage in your account.  PSTs, ZIP and RAR uploaded to cases 2016 or before are not excluded from storage charges and should be deleted if desired.

Highest Usage Calculated
Billing is based on all ESI in an account (as calculated above), for the highest GB usage in the month. Deletions of ESI from an account during a month will not decrease that month’s usage (billed generally early the next month), but will reduce the subsequent month’s usage and resulting charges.

No Charge for Uploads/Ingestions or Processing
In LEP Flex and Subscription Plan Accounts, there is no billing charge for the amount of uploads/ingestions or automated processing directly, although this will increase the storage size of accounts.

Ways of Reducing Storage Costs
There are several ways of reducing storage costs in an LEP account.
  • Unneeded briefcases, productions, and ESI should be deleted by Customer to avoid unnecessary account charges. Deletions of ESI from an account during a month will not decrease that month’s usage (billed generally early the next month), but will reduce the subsequent month’s usage and resulting charges.
  • If a Flex Billing account, converting to a Subscription Plan (one year or greater commitments for specific capacity) can greatly reduce storage costs.
  • If a Lexbe Account is used for culling or data deduplication, completing the uploading/ingestion, deduplication, and culling within a calendar month can reduce the time that the account has larger ESI charges to a single calendar month.
  • If a larger case should be archived for a period of time we offer a service of case or account hibernation.  See Account Hibernation for more information.
Manage Account Storage

Manage account storage from the Account->Manage Cases page.



Account Billing Size

Select an account.  The Account Billing Size section contains the following information: 



One row per month. The current month as well as the three previous months.  There is no historical data available before 09/28/2014.

Current Case Size reflects the current amount of storage in each case. As long as no data has been deleted, it will match the maximum billing information. 

Billing

As discussed above, we bill at the end of a month for the highest usage during the current month. Both are tracked on the Account->Manage Cases page.  In the example above, the highest usage for January was 605.5 GBs.  Deletions in January will not affect the January bill (sent in early February).  The reduction would be reflected in the February bill (sent in early March).

Breakdown of Monthly Charges

Hover the mouse over a month to see a breakdown of maximum Documents, Search Index, Briefcases, and Productions. 


The numbers reflect the highest usage during the month, calculated as follows:

For each case in the account determine the maximum of Documents, Search Index, Briefcases, and Productions in GBs. For example, 535.9 GBs + 35.9 GBs + 19 GBs + 14.7 GBs = 605.5 GBs.
Add the maximum values together to get the maximum case size.
Sum all the cases in the account to get the maximum account size.
 
UploadDisplays upload Unexpanded and upload Expanded for the month.

Upload Unexpanded: This is the amount of data in GBs added before expansion (e.g. unzipping) and processing.  The number is adjusted to reflect the amount of data uploaded without compression. 
Upload Expanded: This is the amount of data in GBs added after processing.  It includes the initial ZIP or PST file. It does NOT include any TIFF files added through a TIFF production upload. It will only count the PDFs created from the TIFF uploads.

How to Allocate Billing within Cases

See Allocate Billing Within Cases for more information.  


Typical Container File Expansion

TIFF upload.  Minor expansion occurs since the Normalized PDF is only slightly larger than the TIFF (they include OCR text).

ZIp. Generally doubles since the Normalized PDFs are about the same size as the originals. 

PST. May expand as much as two to three times depending on the number of attachments. LEP ends up with MSG, Attachments, and Normalized PDFs.


Processing and PDF versions of Files Uploaded


As part of processing, LEP expands supported container files, including Outlook PSTs, Outlook MSGs,  ZIP files, and RAR files. The expansion increases the storage used for a case.

LEP automatically creates a Normalized PDF version of all supported file types uploaded in order to allow better document viewing, increased searchability, Bates stamping at the page level, redaction, document splitting, and other functions.  If the software cannot create a Normalized PDF, a placeholder page will be created, which can be Bates-stamped. See Placeholder File for more information. This process includes OCR of PDFs and other supported images when available.

The original file will be available under the Original tab of the Document Viewer and the Normalized PDF (a Text-Under-Image PDF or Text-Based PDF) will be available under the PDF and Page tabs.  The extracted or OCRed text will be available under the Text and Hits tabs.  

If the original PDF is already a searchable Text-Under-Image PDF or a text-based PDF, then no OCR will be done and the original uploaded PDF will be used for the Original, Text, and PDF tabs.

LEP uses whichever PDF viewer the user has installed and associated for inline viewing of PDFs. For many users this is Adobe Acrobat viewer.

Search Index

LEP's search index is generally about 35% of the size of the documents stored.  This can vary substantially, depending on the document type, and can approach 100% of the original document size in some cases.  The search index is compressed from extracted or OCRed text and allows fast search results. Document coding is generally a very small amount of storage.  In general, cases with documents originating from natives, particularly ones with lots of text, will have a higher percentage than documents originating as scanned or TIFF load files, from photos.  

For billing purposes, the maximum billable size of the search index in an account is capped at 35% of the document size stored. The index size on the bill may be lower than what is reflected in the account if there is a particularly large index relative to document size.

Cases Billed Separately
 
To request special billing arrangements (separate bills, direct client billing) or for questions regarding account plan and current usage, contact your sales consultant.