Farewell to the CrateDB Enterprise License: FAQ

2021-03-23, by Carlota Soto

1. In summary, what are the changes?

Starting with the release of CrateDB v4.5.0 and from now on, Crate.io will no longer implement its Enterprise License. Instead, all CrateDB features will be available in a single, open-source version licensed under Apache 2.0. This means that CrateDB is (and will continue to be) completely free if you run it on your own premises.

Now, you can upgrade to CrateDB v4.5.0 and get access to the Enterprise features:

In addition, CrateDB v4.5.0 is also enhanced with:

    • Further performance optimization
    • PostgreSQL Tool compatibility
    • Improved error messages
    • Deeper level SQL support

 CrateDB v4.5 is currently on testing, but the self-deploy version can already be downloaded here. And if you prefer to use CrateDB Cloud, you can sign up for a free trial.

2. Why is Crate.io making this change?

CrateDB started as an open-source project. Our database was built using open-source components from Elasticsearch, Lucene, and many others—so it was a thrill for us to contribute back to the community.

However, in 2019 we decided to try an open-core approach, a model that was being widely adopted in the industry at the time. In theory, it allowed us to open new revenue streams while still offering an open-source variant to the community. But after operating this model for two years, we realized it was not for us. To offer a feature-limited version of CrateDB as the open-source product faced us with continual contradictions in our development ethos, as we are open-source at heart.

We have decided to go back to fully open-source, and leave the open-core approach behind. This lets us get back to our roots, focusing all our development efforts on a single, open-source version of CrateDB available to anyone.

3. How will Crate.io build a successful business?

We know that the future is in the cloud. Daily, we see our customers' interests shift towards fully managed SaaS solutions, and we are confident that this trend reflects an industry change. This new landscape means that Crate.io can continue to build a successful SaaS business without abandoning the open-source values. 

For enterprise customers interested in an on-prem version of CrateDB with premium support, of course we will continue to offer it, including SLAs and project and incident management. The same is true for partners that want to embed CrateDB into their stacks, such as an IoT Platform or OEMs.

4. Is this decision ever going to change? I want to build an app with CrateDB in the backend, and I need to make sure that I won't be affected by future licensing changes.

This decision was taken after careful and deep consideration. It is long-term and has the full support of our board of directors and investors. This means that you can rely on Crate.io's commitment to open source.

5. Isn't Crate.io concerned about third parties (like cloud providers) potentially selling CrateDB as a service without contributing?

CrateDB wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the open-source community. We celebrate third parties using our software for their own projects and products, just as CrateDB has done with others.

When it comes to the possibility of other companies offering CrateDB as a service without significantly contributing back, we do not see this as a problem. Crate.io is the originator and main contributor to the product, and we're confident that we will offer the best support and assistance to our users now and in the future.

6. I was already using the open-source version of CrateDB. How does this change affect me?

If you upgrade to CrateDB v4.5.0, you'll get access to the Enterprise features:

7. Apart from the former Enterprise features, what other changes are coming with CrateDB v4.5.0?

As well as the above features, CrateDB v4.5.0 comes with improvements in the following areas:

  • Performance optimization
  • PostgreSQL Tool Compatibility (added regclass data type, pg_tablespace table)
  • Better error messages for cast errors for values of "object"
  • Added SQL support for "CREATE TABLE AS <ref-create-table-as>" statement

8. I am a CrateDB Enterprise user. How does this change affect me?

You will not see any changes. Your commercial agreement with Crate.io is still valid, including our SLAs, technical support, hotfixes, incident management, roadmap discussions, on-demand training, rich onboarding, and regular check-ins, and consultative support.

9. I am using CrateDB on-prem for my project, and I'm interested in getting support from Crate.io. Which are my options?

As we mentioned above, we continue to offer support to all those customers who want it. For more details, go to our website or request a meeting with us to discuss the levels of support available.

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