How Open Source Is
The Enterprise Differentiation Tightrope
Ryan Dawson Mauricio Salatino
“[W]e didn't open source it to get help from the community, to
make the product better. We open sourced as a freemium
strategy; to drive adoption.”
MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria
● Worked in banks...
● Switched to open source
● Also in paid-for enterprise
Mauricio Salatino - Salaboy
● 12 years in Open Source
● Worked in open source for a long time
● Experienced how confusing open core business model can be
● Open Source users and contributors
● Intro on Open Source Software
● Growth of Open Source
● Types of Stewardship/Management
● Types of funding for Stewardship
● Open Core
● Challenges of Open Core
What is Open Source?
Open source software is software with source code that
anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.
Reasons developers join OSS
● Collaboration instead of reinvention
○ Organically form around problems
○ Contribution to the whole developer community
○ Diverse environments
○ Merit based
● Career points
○ Interesting people/experts
○ Public profile
○ Learning for most experienced people
● “People hate their families”
Open Source in the Enterprise
Previously open source was perceived as immature, buggy and vulnerable.
Now they rely on it.
They prefer a commercially-friendly open source license, not copyleft.
Prefer to see a steward behind an OSS project.
The steward is whoever provides governance and sets the roadmap for the
project. This may be one party, several collaborating or even nobody.
Or there are foundations:
Apache, linux, CNCF, eclipse...
May be actors in the community that have roadmap influence.
Types of Stewardship
● In-house project goes open source e.g. netflix microservice components and
● OSS aimed at promoting an ecosystem e.g. google-led OSS in kubernetes
space. The incentive is to indirectly promote the platform.
● The OSS is offered free but a related paid-for option is available e.g. hosted
Stewardship and Monetisation
OSS might be developed with the intention to monetise e.g. MuleSoft.
Or it may be developed for a use-case and later monetised e.g. Kafka - developed
at LinkedIn and now offered by Confluent.
Sometimes companies monetise an existing open source e.g. WSO2
Whoever controls roadmap is best placed to monetise.
Open Core means optional paid-for add-on components under a restrictive license
e.g. JetBrains, nginx, Elasticsearch or MongoDB
OSS is provided as-is = not open core. Monetised services. Examples are
RedHat, WSO2 and Hortonworks
Open core is the most common
The Open Core Bargain
Open source users use the project for free.
The steward effectively gets their contributions (PRs and bug reports) for free.
These can feed into the paid version.
The dynamics can vary a lot.
Spectrum of Open Core
Joseph Jacks on
Open Core Licensing
Open source = permissive license e.g. Apache, MIT
Paid-for will likely fall under a Master Software License Agreement. This will
encompass some mix of:
- SLA-based support
- Access to enterprise/premium features
- Integration Services or Customer Success
- Premium materials
Features available only in premium and not in open source are enterprise
Can be add-on tools.
A commercial driver for offering this can be to persuade buyers that they are
getting tangible value for money.
Too much in enterprise and you’re not really open source. Engagement drops.
Not enough in enterprise = no money.
Transparency is important. Unexpected enterprise lock-in leaves users feeling
Pitching Enterprise Features
Enterprise features could be pitched at corporate users for:
Chimes well with a tiered pricing model.
Nginx-plus is differentiated from open source by:
- Built-in openid-connect
- Extra Metrics
- Sticky sessions and persistent sessions
- Bandwidth controls for MP4s
- And others
So focused around high availability, high use and monitoring
Basically docker EE is an orchestration platform with built-in:
- Image scanning
- LDAP integration
- RBAC features