Alfresco Community / Enterprise

July 12, 2013
blog author

Appno Blogger

Appnovation Coop

Alfresco is made available in 2 different flavors : Community & Enterprise. What are the differences between them, and what leads to using one over the other ? First of all, Community and Enterprise versions share the same code, and look the same for the final user. The differences are typically visible only to administrators. Most of the time any customization or add-on developed for one version is compatible with the other. Community is open-source and free to use, while Enterprise is not : You need to pay a license to be able to use it and access the source code. Overall, the most important difference is that Enterprise includes a Commercial Support. Community is dedicated to small to mid-size environments, while Enterprise is focuses on large environments. Thus, a lot of users start with a small Community instance, then, choose to switch to an Enterprise one, as their repository becomes more important. According to Jeff Potts (http://ecmarchitect.com/archives/2013/04/18/1800), there are 5 main decision drivers to consider for helping you to choose if making the switch to the version with Commercial support is right for you : - Mission criticality : The more mission critical a project is, the more you want to be sure to have support, if needed. - Switching Costs : In case of an issue, the more expensive a system is to switch, the more it makes sense to pay for support. A simple library can be switched easily, not a full ECM system. - Adoption : If a system is widely used, you have a better chance to find a solution to your problem on your own with help from the community resources, otherwise you would pay for support. - Complexity : The more complicated the stack, the more it makes sense to pay someone for deep expertise on it. - Cost of Self-Support : The comparison between the cost of internal support and vendor support is important to take into account. The fact that a company already has the right skilled resources or not is a major factor. Weighing each one of those criteria should help to make the right decision whether to pay for the vendor commercial support or not. Extra Modules Enterprise versions come with extra modules which are not included in the Community one. - Wider Database & Application server support : Community is tested to run on Tomcat with MySQL and PostgreSQL only, while Enterprise is fully supported and certified on a full stack of components including Commercials DB and AS, as well, like Oracle, MS SQL, WebSphere and Weblogic. (http://www.alfresco.com/services/subscription/supported-platforms) - Testing : Enterprise benefits from extensive QA testing for each released version, while Community passes a lighter set of QA tests. Fixes are made available for Enterprise when important issues need addressing, while Community users have to wait for the next release. - Clustering : Enterprise has different tools for setting Alfresco in a cluster, these are not available in Community. If you need to install Alfresco in a highly available environment, Enterprise is definitely the way to go. - JMX support : The JMX interface allows Administrators to access Alfresco via a standard JMX console with Enterprise only. This is a very useful tool for changing configuration at runtime and checking the system health. - Alfresco One : Hybrid synchronization between on-premise Alfresco repositories and Alfresco's cloud service. This service is provided with Enterprise only. - Administration console : Enterprise has more views and settings in the admin web GUI. These let you change some admin settings at runtime. With Community, you need to edit config files and restart the system to enable your changes. (Example : Workflow management, Email configuration, …). Although, this feature can sometimes be useful, it’s often preferred to set configuration through config files anyway. Other extra modules only available in Enterprise : - JodConnector : For optimized communication with OpenOffice - Transformation Server : a remote alternative to the embedded OpenOffice subsystem - Storage policies: The ability to manage the mapping of your content through different file stores Reference : https://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Enterprise_Edition