Drupal and the enterprise

Drupal and the enterprise

Summary: Dries Buytaert wants Drupal to become mass market enterprise software. Trouble is, unless your name is Microsoft, those goals are contradictory.


Dries Buytaert wants his Drupal Community Management Service (CMS) to become mass market enterprise software.

Trouble is, unless your name is Microsoft, those goals are contradictory.

Oracle and IBM are enterprise players. They have scaled support for big corporate clients. Unfortunately as we found out in the case of Whitehouse.gov Drupal doesn't have that.

Apple is a mass market player. Their stuff is insanely simple to use. Drupal is trying to get easier with Drupal 7, but it's not there yet.

This leaves Drupal and Acquia, the company Buytaert founded to offer Drupal support, caught between the Moon and New York City. Wordpress is hammering it in the mass market, among people who just want to build blog sites, and Acquia's enterprise footprint remains minimal.

As an open source project that didn't gain ambitions toward commerce until well after its founding, Drupal doesn't even control its own support market.

This is something I'm reminded of whenever I write about Acquia, of which Buytaert is CTO, as being "the" Drupal support company. Because there are others, like Drupal Connect. And Four Kitchens. Or IT-Patrol, which is among those offering Drupal hosting.

For the software to move forward shouldn't its commercial players be on the same page?

One reason for Acquia's enterprise problem may be a shortage of cash flow. Drupal Gardens, which I was invited to beta test, is supposed to be the answer to that. Through it Acquia hopes to become a major Web host, a player in the cloud, where enterprises are moving. The public beta was announced this week at OSCON.

But again, OSCON is about open source, not about the mass market for Web hosting. It's a comfortable spot for Buytaert, but it's also not where the enterprise buyers with the big checkbooks are hanging out. By announcing at OSCON Buytaert may have been seen as aiming at the mass market, not the class market.

Acquia's team is filled with open source veterans, and that's good. But if it's going to be a player in the enterprise space, as it wishes to be, shouldn't it be filled with people who know that market?

This post may come off as nitpicking, even cruel or mean-spirited. It's not meant that way. The fact is I'm a big Drupal fan. I once ran a Drupal site, I think Acquia can become a great company, and I've long predicted it will outshine Wordpress because a CMS scales and blogs aren't designed to do that.

But corporate growing pains are difficult. Each stage of a company's evolution provides new challenges. And the investors a venture company brings to the party should be able to help clear those hurdles.

Several of the companies Acquia's main venture partner, NorthBridge, invests in are clearly enterprise plays. So are some of the companies helped by Sigma Partners, its other main venture investor. Many of these companies are of a similar size to Acquia.

All I'm saying is I think someone needs to take a meeting.

Topics: Software, Enterprise Software

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  • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

    Thanks for your comments Dana. <br><br>The hardest challenge faced by enterprises when addressing the social web opportunity, is the ability to quickly design and provision microsites. We've heard this repeatedly in the meetings that we have taken with our customers. We have almost 500 of them, the vast majority of whom are major enterprises, across a wide variety of verticals.<br><br>Drupal Gardens is ideally suited to meeting their pain points, by reducing the time it takes to deploy a microsite from months using traditional CMS systems, to hours or even minutes, especially if a branded template for the organization is already available.<br><br>I wrote about this in a blog earlier this year <a href="http://acquia.com/blog/tomerickson/enterprise-drupal-gardens" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://acquia.com/blog/tomerickson/enterprise-drupal-gardens</a><br><br>Personally, I am not from the open source world. I have spent my entire career in enterprise apps, as has all of the Acquia leadership team, save Dries and Barry Jaspan, our senior architect. <br><br>Perhaps the best meeting to have is one between us, so that you can get a better understanding of who we are.<br><br>Tom Erickson<br>CEO, Acquia
    • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

      @tom_eric Look forward to it. Consider this story a request for an interview.
      • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

        The hardest challenge <a href="http://www.selftestexams.com/LX0-101.html ">LX0-101 exam</a> faced by enterprises when addressing the social web opportunity, <a href="http://www.selftestexams.com/70-433.html">70-686 exam</a> is the ability to quickly design and provision microsites. We've heard this repeatedly in the meetings that we have taken with our customers. We have almost 500 of them, the vast majority of whom are major enterprises,<a href="http://www.selftestexams.com/E22-275.html">E22-275 exam</a> across a wide variety of verticals.
    • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

      open source project that didnt<a href="http://www.fermatelapioggia.net/"><font color="light&amp;height"> about it</font></a> is bank that <a href="http://www.cuentosdemascotas.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> attacked from the <a href="http://www.ilyasipeudendroitsconfortables.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">site support</font></a> from any soldier <a href="http://www.greengrrlsecoadventure.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> to the light <a href="http://godtoldmetokilltheenglish.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is great gain
  • FUD

    Very rarely have I read any articles that demonstrate such a profound lack of research or understanding about their topic, and instead seek solely to damage the reputation of something by using completely fabricated information.
    • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

      @SomeoneWhoKnowsBetter There are links to every point I'm making. If you know better, prove your case.
  • This blog has an identity crisis over being

    It seems like an excuse to hammer Drupal and by extension Acquia for not being IBM or Oracle, while trying to work their way into the enterprise. The reason Acquia is at OSCON is because that's where the developers are who make Drupal a platform with a huge developer community, which equals innovation that has got Drupal the mind share in the enterprise. <br><br>So you think Acquia should go "enterprise" when the very nature of what is enterprise is fading? They should not try to attract developers to it's platform which may drive "enterprise" customers. <br><br>Drupal and Acquia will be just fine without the "enterprise" label.
  • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

    I think this post is overly inflammatory for no good reason.

    "Dries Buytaert wants his Drupal Community Management Service (CMS) to become mass market enterprise software.

    Trouble is, unless your name is Microsoft, those goals are contradictory"
    Well it would depend entirely upon YOUR definition of "mass market enterprise software" now, wouldn't it? I would submit that the Drupal platform is mass market already - the largest Open Source CMS, with excellent installation and ease-of-use. Enterprise? Do Companies use it? Well duh! It is THE choice for such. Here in NZ the government is specifying Drupal for it's websites, the local councils are also, and many companies are also. Because it scales. Wordpress and Joomla have their place in small-scale sites and blogs, where you haven't got loads of users, and a huge diversity of content types. Drupal does what they do, but provides the "Enterprise" needs too, which is why it is excelling.

    Throwing Microsoft's name into the argument? Microsoft are a totally different beast that fails to innovate, but rather grows through dubious business practices which we are all familiar with. Nothing like Drupal ; so what has Microsoft got to do with your argument?

    So the highlighting of the "lack of support" on one hand, and then pointing out that there are numerous professional drupal companies...contradictory, no? And why should they all be on the same page? Are all "Microsoft" shops on the same page? No; they compete against each other, by providing points of difference. So too with Drupal and every other brand that is able to be resold or serviced.

    In summary, it would appear to me that there is a grudge borne here by Dana, that clouds reasoning.
    • RE: Drupal and the enterprise

      @onyxnz It would seem to me that while you won't allow Dana here to have any grudge here against Acquia it is perfectly fine for you to have one against Microsoft that is indeed clouding your reasoning as well.
  • Tag typo

    Hi Dana,

    A typo in your topic tag: Druys Baytaert
  • Why Drupal is not Enterprise (yet)

    The problem is that Drupal is not Enterprise-ready, not even for social publishing, for Enterprise Web Content Management it's missing all necessary features. Enterprise means having a tool, thats easy to support, easy to upgrade and that offers features for workflows, multi-site handling, digital asset management, translation workflows etc. all out of the box. Drupal has very little features out of the box and to build a working system you need hundreds of modules, with hundreds of dependencies, different authors, update-cycles etc. This makes Drupal impossible to manage in a big IT team. That's why it's good to be used in small non-critical environments but is increasingly failing in business-critical ones, unless there are many days of support agreements in place.
  • correction

    Hi Dana,

    my company offers Drupal development, training and staffing services. However, we do not offer Drupal support services.


    John Florez
    CEO, Drupal Connect
  • Drupal Developers

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    drupal developers