Tucking content services neatly away in into lower logical layers has been a theme over the last six months. This time its open source Enterprise CMS vendor Alfresco chiming in. Following a similar announcement from EMC in November, Alfresco has today released Enterprise Edition v1.4 of the Alfresco embedded Enterprise Content Management system.The company intends the offering to be an enterprise content services platform which application developers can OEM as part of their larger applications. Having been available since October of 2005, Alfresco's embeddable solution is arguably one of the first to market.
Well known Enterprise CMS vendor, EMC, also recently released an embeddable version of their ECM offering. Back in November EMC's Lubor Ptacek was quoted as saying that “Today, virtually every application vendor needs to embed a content repository and content functionality as part of their application.”
Alfresco's executive team -- formed originally by ex-members of Documentum and Interwoven -- seem to agree. They argue that previously application vendors have had to manage the high cost, of either developing their own repository or using an expensive offering from an Enterprise CMS vendor.
John Newton, Alfresco's CTO states that "[Alfresco] was designed from the beginning to be embeddable and fits as easily into enterprise applications as small devices."
Key factors supporting his point include:
* Simple packaging -- Embedded Alfresco is delivered as a Java WAR file that is less than 40 MB and can be run in a range of Java app servers.
* Simple deployment -- Embedded Alfresco can either run in the same JVM as the parent application, or be accessed remotely.
* Standards support -- The product utilizes a standards-based JSR-170 repository and boasts an OpenDocument Format (ODF) Virtual File System.
* Full ECM functionality -- all Alfresco versions (OEM, Enterprise, and Community) currently have the same Enterprise CMS feature set.
Alfresco's offerings are all based 100% on their open source code base. However, their OEM licensing implicates their "Enterprise Network" version of Alfresco, which though based on the free code, is what they call "low cost" and is very much a commercial offering. Much like other commercial open source models, Alfresco Enterprise Network blends a mixture of professional services, software updates, and other enterprise support. Interested parties can dig deeper into the details here.