Acquia is a for-profit company, based on the free/open source content management system Drupal. When Acquia was founded, a little over three years ago, I remarked on its similarity to Automattic (which is based on WordPress).
Today, Acquia and Drupal founder Dries Buytaert posted about “the vision that we’ve been working towards for the last 3 years, and… how Acquia can help simplify your web strategy.” That’s based on the premise that “you” are (or are a member of) an organization with multiple websites. Since the sites differ in many ways (scale, rate of change, etc.), you find yourself with a variety of platforms.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a platform on which it was feasible to standardize? Acquia’s strategy is to provide that platform, in the form of Drupal and services to go with it.
That’s the big picture: Drupal as the Enterprise 2.0 platform (not a quote from Dries, but my summary of his post). One of the interesting parts of the picture is Drupal Gardens, which provides Drupal as a service. Dries contrasts Gardens with typical software as a service.
Almost all Software as a Service (SaaS) providers employ a proprietary model – they might allow you to export your data, but they usually don’t allow you to export the underlying code. Users of Drupal Gardens are able to export their Drupal Gardens site – the code, the theme and data…
We call this “Open SaaS” or Software as a Service done right based on Open Source principles.
I’ve been interested in the “open software as a service as a trap” issue for a while. So it’s good to see this issue addressed head on in an account of a vendor’s strategy.
Please feel free to leave comments on Acquia, its strategy, and related issues here. You don’t have to read Dries’ post first, but I recommend you do.