Gartner and Acquia's Raison d'Etre
by Tom Erickson
I was re-reading the October, 2008 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software last week. Gartner of course, is a key analyst for many enterprises evaluating IT strategies or making tactical decisions on software deployments. We've been speaking to them about the convergence of web content management and social software, something we call "social publishing". The study I was reading only evaluated part of Drupal's capabilities, the social ones, but it still fared well. The strengths were many, and is the case with all Gartner reports, the 'cautions' were also pointed out.
- Module quality is variable, and the use of modules beyond the core distribution requires careful evaluation and ongoing support provisions.
It occurred to me as I read this, that Acquia's principal focus, our raison d'etre is to address these issues. We agree that module quality is variable ... it always will be with the vast contributions and choices one has when a community as large as Drupal's exists. Of course, Acquia is all about the second part of this sentence, providing support for all Drupal modules and helping users evaluate modules in a couple of different ways. The Acquia Drupal distribution pre-selects key modules, helping to improve time to deployment and ensuring quality is high. But if you want to consider modules outside of Acquia Drupal, our advisory support service provides individualized mentoring and assistance, not only with selecting Drupal modules, but also implementing and administering them.
- The breadth of the platform functionality is an advantage when Drupal is deployed on its own, but it also contributes to deployment complexity.
A perpetual conundrum, the tradeoff in capability and complexity. Acquia has done several things to simplify Drupal deployment without sacrificing functionality. Our Drupal stack installers are very popular, enabling 'one-click' Drupal installations. As mentioned earlier, our Drupal support specialists provide as-needed advisory services. Recently we began offering Acquia Search, a SaaS based faceted search offering based on Apache Solr. Using Acquia Search is so straight forward, that @illepic recently tweeted "Trying to get Apache Solr running locally. Not so much luck. I think Acquia understands "Sell Simplicity" better than anyone."
Of course, others in the Drupal community are working to make Drupal easier to adopt as well. This is a primary focus area for Drupal 7 - changes that are driven by the broader community. Acquia is investing in that effort as well, as a major contributor.
Acquia's partner network, now at 100 organizations, also helps to reduce complexity and make implementation a breeze. Our partners have built thousands of Drupal sites and collectively represent some of the best web 2.0 minds out there.
It's nice to know that Gartner agrees that Drupal is very compelling for the enterprise, and that with Acquia helping to simplify and support Drupal, there's no reason not to check it out.