Couchbase Licensing and Support: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the definition of a Server? How many Enterprise Edition subscriptions do I need to buy for my cluster?  The definition of a Server is an instance of the software running on one operating system. As a result, you need to purchase as many Enterprise Edition subscriptions as you have physical commodity servers (if you are not running a hypervisor) or you have virtual machines (if you are running on hypervisors).  For example, if you are running Couchbase Server in six (6) virtual partitions on three (3) physical servers, you need to purchase six (6) subscriptions.  If you are running Couchbase Server directly on three (3) physical commodity servers, you need to purchase three (3) subscriptions. See also #2.

2. Can I have different support levels for each Server in my cluster? No, all Servers in your cluster must be at the same Enterprise Edition subscription level to receive support. For example, to receive 24x7 support, all Servers in your cluster must be licensed at the Enterprise Edition – Premium subscription level.

3. Do I need to purchase an Enterprise Edition subscription for development, QA, and preproduction test? Usually no, sometimes yes. Many customers are comfortable with forum support during development, QA, and pre-production testing. We encourage these customers to use the free enterprise version, Enterprise Edition – Free. This version provides only forum support but allows you to use the same Enterprise Edition of the software provided to paying customers, run on a production cluster of up to two (2) Servers, and run on an unlimited number of Servers for non-production purposes. For customers who want full technical support during development, QA, and/or pre-production testing, we encourage them to either buy one of the paid Enterprise Editions or purchase consulting services. 

4. Am I allowed to make a copy of the software for back-up or archival purposes? Yes. For every purchased Enterprise Subscription you are allowed to make one (1) copy for backup or archival purposes free of charge.

5. The number of nodes in my cluster expands during peak usage and then contracts during periods of lower usage. For how many Servers do I need to buy subscriptions to support this usage pattern? In a loose sense, when deciding on pricing, we tried to take into account the fact that many customer deployments would expand and contract. As a result, the standard policy is that you need to buy Enterprise Edition subscriptions for all Servers that are operating during peak usage. However, if you have a deployment that has wide swings from peaks to valleys, please contact sales at sales@couchbase.com to discuss alternative licensing approaches.  See also #2.

6. What is the duration of an Enterprise Subscription agreement? One year. For customers that buy many subscriptions and want to synchronize on a single annual renewal date, this can be arranged by contacting sales at sales@couchbase.com.  For customers interested in multi-year subscriptions, please contact sales as well.

7. How is the software provided as part of an Enterprise Subscription different than the Community Edition?  Is it identical to the open source version of Couchbase Server? The differences between the two editions are kept to a minimum where possible but there are important differences.  Couchbase, Inc. will take releases of open source from time-to-time, run extensive QA testing on these releases, make bug fixes as appropriate, and make an Enterprise Edition release. Special hot fixes needed by paying customers will also be made to the Enterprise Edition. These changes will eventually be committed back to the open-source code base. Likewise, any additions to the open-source project will not necessarily make it into the Enterprise Edition until Couchbase, Inc. has been able to certify and QA them.

Releases of the Enterprise Edition also have a longer support tail for older versions while the open source version focuses on improving the latest version.

The Community Edition of Couchbase Server is provided by Couchbase, Inc. as service to the community.  From time to time Couchbase, Inc. will take stable versions of open source and package it for download as the Community Edition.

8. What are “hot fixes”?  Who gets access to them? Are they contributed back to the open source? If a customer experiences a problem that requires an immediate bug fix and a Couchbase patch, a “hot fix” will be provided. Hot fixes are provided only to paying Enterprise Edition customers (i.e. Enterprise Edition – Free Edition customers do not receive hot fixes).

9. Can I upgrade from one Enterprise Edition subscription level to another? Yes, we would be happy to upgrade your Enterprise Edition subscription on a prorated basis for the remaining duration of your subscription.  Please contact sales at sales@couchbase.com.

10. How is forum support different than the commercial support provided as a part of an Enterprise Subscription agreement? Forum support is provided by the community. Couchbase, Inc.’s technical support personnel and engineers monitor the forums from time to time but Enterprise Edition paid customers are their top priority. Paid Enterprise Edition support is provided by technical support personnel and engineering based on the Service Level Agreement associated with the particular level of support (Standard, Premium) purchased. Custom service level agreements are also available.