Fivetran’s consumption-based model calculates usage based on the number of monthly active rows (MAR) across all connectors (sources) and destinations (targets). This article covers what MAR is and why we believe this is a better way for our customers to maximize the value of Fivetran.
What is a monthly active row?
A monthly active row (MAR) is a row that’s been added, updated or deleted in a data destination by one of our connectors. We only recognize a row as active once a month, not each time it’s updated. This means you’re not charged for multiple updates to a row in a single month. We always give customers their first historical sync completely free for any new connector or table. Then, we only charge for MAR.
With the use of MAR, Fivetran’s pricing model is uniquely designed to drive the most value for our customers for several reasons listed below.
Active rows and pipeline efficiency
Fivetran’s 300+ connectors are designed to efficiently capture changes in the data source and perform incremental upserts wherever possible. This ends up being 5 to 50 times less than the total synced rows that you’ll see from typical pipelines. This ultimately reduces the cost of managing a cloud destination since only necessary data is replicated — not every single row.
Total synced rows and update waste
Monthly active rows are not the same as what our customers see in their pipelines for total synced rows. This is because a typical pipeline will experience waste, which happens when a row that wasn't updated is repeatedly synced in a few ways:
- Multiple row updates: A single row, defined by a unique primary key, can be updated multiple times in a single month. Rows will undergo updates several times over the course of a month. Each update counts as a synced row. This generally occurs five times per month on average.
- Snapshot waste: This happens when a primary key that wasn't actually updated is synced (e.g., when you replicate a table using snapshots). Capturing updates is hard and many customers often resort to a snapshot approach, syncing all rows every time. This generally occurs 10 to 20 times per month on average.
Over the course of a month, or even years, you can see how much waste a typical data pipeline generates because it was never built to handle incremental changes effectively.
Calculating MAR vs. total synced rows
Now that we know the difference between MAR and total synced rows, we can finally calculate just how different they can be with the same amount of data. There are two components to consider when estimating MAR:
- Rows at rest: Rows at rest is the total number of primary keys in the data source
- Update rate: Update rate is the percentage percent of primary keys in the source that is updated or added at least once in a single month.
How to calculate MAR: Total rows at rest * Update rate percent = MAR
For example, a database with 10 million rows at rest with a 10 percent update rate sees the following MAR:
10,000,000 X 10 percent = 1 million MAR
What are typical update rates aka MAR?
There’s no one-size-fits-all. Every source and every business is different. Application sources typically see update rates of 10 to 20 percent, whereas databases typically see anywhere from five to 10 percent, though very old databases can be as low as one to two percent.
Below, we share some examples of customers with different total connectors, total volumes, MAR and estimated total cost of ownership if they built these pipelines themselves:
*These are rough approximations. You can estimate the total cost of ownership of building pipelines yourself in Fivetran’s “Ultimate guide to data integration” or contact email@example.com for a more accurate calculation.
Ultimately, Fivetran customers can replicate millions and millions of historical rows for free and only pay for changed rows — all at a fraction of the cost of building themselves.
“We have access to more sources and to richer data within the sources. For example, Fivetran imports history tables from HubSpot. That is millions of rows of historical data that we couldn’t explore as easily before. The alternative to Fivetran would be to hire approximately three data engineers to work full-time on our integrations.”
-Jakob Kristensen, Product Manager at Pleo
Get a free usage estimate
The most accurate way to estimate MAR is to connect your sources. If you’re new to Fivetran, you can try Fiveran completely free for 14 days. During your free trial, you’ll get a usage and pricing estimate based on the sources you connected during your trial in our new pricing calculator.