DrupalCon starts in Boston today and this afternoon at 2.30 pm EST, Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson (with Kieran Lal) will stand before the multitude to explain exactly what Acquia will offer, when services will kick off and what it all means to the Drupal project. VP of Marketing Jeff Whatcott took the time to brief us at CMSWire.com prior to the presentation and we bring you the skinny in advance of that presentation. Acquia's presentation looms large over DrupalCon: the future of the company is tied in so many ways to the future of the platform itself. Acquia's model has the potential to drive forward the Drupal project to ever greater success and to a greater degree of credibility for enterprise Web CMS users. Equally, the defection of the Grand Wizard Buytaert to the commercial realm may arouse suspicion of conflicts of interest; of putting Acquia before Drupal, of leeching dollars from bleary-eyed OSS coders toiling in their basements. Will Jay, Dries and the blameless Kieran Lal be tarred and feathered, run on a rail and dumped in the famous harbor? We can only hope so - it'd make for a classic YouTube clip, and make for an entertaining lunch-time spectable for the Coding Marathon. Disappointingly, the presentation is unlikely to invoke such fury. Attendees will want to hear of synergies, of their aims being supported alongside Acquia's. And they will. Because the executive summary of the Acquia project runs like this: Acquia needs a strong Drupal community. And the community needs the firm commercial hand of Acquia to drive the project toward greater levels of commercial adoption.

Drupal Before Acquia

Drupal consists of a core product with core CMS capabilities, user roles and permissions, foundation modules and system management. The core is extensible through modules which are developed by third-parties - the community. Drupal.org looks after distribution of Drupal core, maintains code submissions, track bugs and looks after update notifications.

What is Acquia?

A company set up by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert and Pingtel founder Jay Batson. The company will "provide value-added software products and services for ... Drupal" and Acquia’s mission is "to further accelerate and deepen Drupal adoption by advancing the core technology and offering products and network services that dramatically speed deployment and reduce risk." Acquia will be a subscription-based business. It will bundle Drupal core, with key modules and a packaged installer. It will offer Commercial-grade documentation, 'Solution Cookbooks' for different scenarios, and customer support. Automatic updates of these modules will also be enabled from Acquia's end.

Drupal After Acquia

1 "Carbon" The Drupal project structure remains the same: a core product with 3rd party contributed modules from the community (including members of Acquia). Selected modules are vetted and tested by Acquia to commercial specifications. If they are sound, they may be taken under the Acquia umbrella and offered as part of a commercial package. The first such commercial package is called "Carbon", and will consist of Drupal 6.x core with an expected 30 modules.

2 "Spokes" - Automatic Update Notifications Hitherto all module updates were managed via Drupal.org. Acquia will take over the update process for modules and products which comprise Acquia packages like Carbon, and are setting up a new process whereby their own servers will deliver module and product updates. Updates from the community are tested by Acquia. Vetted adequately, they are then pushed through to Carbon subscribers from network.acquia.com. Spokes Intelligent Update Notification Service incorporates the following: * Covers Carbon and dependent systems * Compatibility and security filtering, and prioritization * Personalized, context-aware alerts * Hourly monitoring and alerts

What you will get with the Acquia Subscription

* Supported Distribution - tested and filtered upgrades, bug fixes etc. * Network Services - update notification, with more network services to come * Technical Support Centre - electronic and phone support. Self-service knowledge base. A variety of SLAs to match customer requirements.


Development of Acquia infrastructure will continue over the first half of 2008, with the Carbon subscription package and the Spokes update network services being launched sometime in the second half of the year. Once Acquia get all that out of the way, the company will look toward developing solution-oriented packages, deepening network services from network.acquia.com and developing other products to complement Drupal. Hit on to visit DrupalCon.org, to visit Acquia, and to visit Drupal.org