Like every company, we regularly field questions about our products. We’re very happy to answer these. Part of my job is to answer the questions that start out as support requests. Sometimes a support request indicates to me that a customer needs a different solution from the product they currently use. If you’re using a Community Edition language (any one of the free language downloads that we offer to the public), how do you know when your needs have outgrown the product? Here’s the top four questions that catch my attention and the reasons why they do:
#1 – What’s the End-of-life for your product? People who ask this are attempting to plan for upgrades. Community Edition products upgrade several times a year. If you have to plan your upgrades, it’s very unlikely that you are going to be able to match this kind of schedule. If you’re also wondering if the product will be supported for a specified amount of time, you should be using Enterprise Edition. If you only need availability, you want the Business Edition.
#2 – How do I get an older version of the product? People ask this because they want a known quantity. Perhaps another vendor has specified a certain version. Perhaps they want to use a consistent version of the product across their entire install base. Perhaps they have a project that is working and just don’t want to mess with it. All of these are reasons for using Business Edition or Enterprise Edition rather than Community Edition.
#3 – How long before your product supports…? Community Edition releases and fixes are largely driven by the efforts of the Open Source Community. If you have a deadline for a fix or a pressing need for a feature, Enterprise Edition plus professional services may be the only way to avoid delays.
#4 – What’s the best module for…? This kind of question comes from users who know that there are lots of choices available, and investing in the wrong option can be costly. It’s also a request for support unrelated to how the product installs. Advice and advanced support are not part of what we offer with Community Edition. If the forums and mailing lists on the internet are not providing you with enough information, then a product with more support options than our Community Editions offer may be what you need.