Open Source Monitoring: GroundWork on Sale? Not Really

GroundWork, the provider of the open source based network management software, today announced the availability of GroundWork Monitor Starter Edition, designed for small deployments up to 250 monitored devices.

David Dennis, senior director of product marketing at Groundwork, in March told me that GroundWork  “productized” a cheaper ‘stealth’ product that was sold by their partners only, prior to this launch. The Starter Edition has now gained an official state, apparently answering to community edition users’ needs.

Is open source on sale? is Groundwork trying to upsell its community?

“Forty-five percent of surveyed GroundWork Monitor Community Edition users said they would be interested in a subscription offering at a lower price point,” says David Dennis in the press release, which frankly came at no surprise. More interesting in the business context is the fact that ¾ of downloaders have zero (40.5 %) or modest system management budget (34.1% of respondents declare that they have less than 10.000 $).

The question is not anymore if your community wants to trade time to save money or to trade money to save time, but more likely how much money they are able to invest, and for what.

Differences between different editions suggest that Starter edition sounds good for who wants to (really) save time using best-practice profiles, don’t need much support and can live without device discovery (that is ok only for a small number of devices). As far as I understand, Professional and Started edition targets don’t overlap, the risk of cannibalization is minimal.

Why did you launch the Starter edition?

First to provide an offering to people who have not made the switch from free to paid that meets their needs and budget. Second to establish a position at the lower end of the market where we were vulnerable to cheaper products.  The new Starter Edition is price competitive with products like Solarwinds and actually significantly undercuts some of our commercial open source peers.

Starter Edition will only be available until July 1st, for the time being. As formerly seen with other open core vendors the number and the type of available editions can change with time. Core value propositions should keep changing, as users’ and customers’ needs change. Time matters.

Information products (e.g. a fraction of the discovery database) are the next barrier. As far as GroundWork will keep innovating – let’s see what the upcoming version 6.0 will look like – they will be able to bring more and more value in the community edition, possibly selling just info-products to whoever can’t afford to become persistent customers but only occasional buyers.

The long tail of open source info-products is largely unexplored so far..