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Assessing the Cost of Nuxeo versus Commercial Alternatives

When customers ask about the cost of Nuxeo I always answer in terms of value.  The primary reason for this is simple; I think that the value of an open source approach is by far the more important discussion and will underpin any discussion of cost (or investment). However, understanding cost is critical to making any investment!

The following table outlines the costs associated with Nuxeo versus traditional commercial solutions.  Arguably there are other categories which could be included the list. However, these are, I think, the items with the most cost impact.

 

Nuxeo

Commercial

Comments

License Fees

None

Server and/or user license fees. Adding more users or servers dramatically increases the costs.

Open Source – no initial fees, but more importantly no barriers to implementing more servers or adding additional users (inside or outside your company)

Maintenance Fees

None

Typically 20-25% of license fees. More users and servers increases annual maintenance costs as well

For commercial solutions maintenance fees are required just to get access to new releases of software.

Connect Subscription

Convenience features and access to online Studio development suite

None

The connect subscription is optional, but is required if annual support is required

Annual Support

Per Application irrespective of number of servers or users. Multiple levels of support are available with requisite Service Level commitments.

None in standard maintenance model

Nuxeo annual support is optional. In practice, commercial software often has additional premium support costs as well as those not covered by maintenance.

Development

Required to implement customer’s business requirements. The size and scope of this effort is tied directly to requirements. Simple customizations with Studio, more complex with Nuxeo IDE.

For true off the shelf software there may be no development required (or possible!).

Nuxeo-based solutions are built to suit your business requirements, rather than having to mold your requirements to a commercial solution. It’s typical for some level of integration development (at a minimum) with commercial solutions.

Configuration

Included in development

A separate step in commercial products to configure fields, content types, view, etc.

Configuration allows for some customization of Commercial solutions, but scope and flexibility are limited.

Initial Implementation

Tied to scope

Tied to scope

Assumed neutral in terms of cost, however, this is not always the case.

Server Updates (hot fixes)

With annual support the application of server hot fixes is (almost) trivial. Otherwise, manual updates are still possible, but require additional effort.

Included with annual maintenance, but the effort to install varies based on the vendor and the product.

 

Upgrades

There will be an ongoing cost to maintaining custom developed code.

There will be a cost to maintaining any custom-developed integrations.

Difficult to compare in the abstract, however, Nuxeo is architected in a way that promotes extension and redefinition of function while maintaining ease of upgrade.

 

The bottom line: a Nuxeo-based solution will likely yield a cost savings over a commercial alternative. In the worst case scenario the cost difference may be neutral. However, as I mentioned at the start, I think that the real benefit (value) of Nuxeo comes from its flexibility, extensibility, scalability, performance, standardization, build-to-purpose, rapid pace of development. While estimating cost is necessary, defining the value of Nuxeo to your organization is imperative!

I'm very interested to hear how others feel about this...

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Bruce,
I agree with your article.
I think that for small projects (I live in a Province with fewer than 200.000 people) the Connect suscrption is to high (I am working in some projects for very small companies with less than 10 users).
May be Nuxeo will introduce a new licensing schema, like Alfresco does with Alfresco Team
Regards

Ruben Bahntje
rbahntje@gmail.com
Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego
Argentina

Posted on 3/7/12 4:50 PM.

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Hi Ruben,

I have had that discussion with Nuxeo more than once. For smaller clients (<50 employees) the cost of the base Connect is too high. A nice alternative might be a fixed price of $5k - $6k per year which gets a customer a Studio license, hot fixes, and 5 support tickets.

Posted on 3/7/12 5:12 PM in reply to .

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