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Evolving ArangoDB’s Licensing Model for a Sustainable Future

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ArangoDB as a company is firmly grounded in Open Source. The first commit was made in October 2011, and today, we are very proud of having over 13,000 stargazers on GitHub. We believe that the ArangoDB community should be able to enjoy all of the benefits of using ArangoDB, and we have always offered a completely free community edition in addition to our paid enterprise offering.

With the evolving landscape of database technologies and the imperative need to ensure ArangoDB remains sustainable, innovative, and competitive, we’re introducing some changes to our licensing model. These alterations will help us continue our commitment to the community, fuel further development, and assist businesses in obtaining the best from our platform.
These alterations are based on changes in the broader database market.

Firstly, the source code will replace its existing Apache 2.0 license with the BSL 1.1 for future versions. This license will allow full usage of the ArangoDB source code for any purpose except for providing a managed service of ArangoDB. These changes will not impact 99.99% of those currently using the ArangoDB source code but will protect ArangoDB against larger companies from providing a competing service using our source code. After four years, this will revert to the Apache 2.0 license.

Secondly, we are making changes to our community edition with the prepackaged ArangoDB binaries available for free on our website. Where before this was governed by the same Apache 2.0 license as the source code, this will now be governed by a new ArangoDB Community License, which limits its use for commercial purposes and imposes a 100GB limit on dataset size within a single cluster. These changes allow us to enhance Community Edition with many of the features currently only available in Enterprise Edition, such as OneShard graphs providing built-in HA, HotBackups providing improved disaster recovery, and many security improvements while protecting our business interests.

While not all features will be available in the community edition immediately, our intention is for Community Edition to have the same feature set as Enterprise Edition, the only difference being the license governing each edition.

Our Enterprise Edition will continue to be governed by the existing ArangoDB Enterprise License, with commercial terms negotiated on a case-by-case basis with ArangoDB.

What should community users do?

The actual license changes will roll out over the next month or so, and there will be no immediate impact on any individuals; however, once the license changes are fully applied, there will be a few impacts:

  • If you are distributing ArangoDB’s open source code, or Community Edition as a managed service, you will be unable to use future versions of ArangoDB. Again, we expect the change to the BSL to impact less than 0.01% of our community.
  • If you are using Community Edition for any commercial purpose (including distributing to your end users), then you will not be able to upgrade to versions of ArangoDB governed by the ArangoDB Community License (the upcoming ArangoDB 3.12 release and onwards)
  • If you are using Community Edition and storing in aggregate of 100GB of data in a single cluster, then you will not be able to upgrade to versions of ArangoDB governed by the ArangoDB Community License (the upcoming ArangoDB 3.12 release and onwards)

If any of these apply to you and you want to avoid future disruption, we encourage you to contact us so that we can work with you to find an appropriate solution.

In summary:

  • Our commitment to open-source ideals remains unshaken. Adjusting our model is essential to ensure ArangoDB’s longevity and to provide you with the cutting-edge features you expect from us.
  • These changes testify to our belief in offering even more power to our community users, bringing Enterprise-level features to the Community Edition.
  • We continue to uphold our vision of an inclusive, collaborative, and innovative community. This change ensures we can keep investing in our products and you, our valued community.

Edit – this blog was updated on 12th October to clarify which future versions of ArangoDB will be impacted by these license changes.

Matt Carabine

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