As Couchbase increases its presence in the market, we have decided to modify the distribution and usage license of some of our free products.

This change is necessary in order to protect the community from over-deployment of unsupported and unpatched software. To our knowledge, this change will affect approximately 5% of clusters running Couchbase Community Edition.

The change is as follows:

Couchbase has modified the license restrictions to its Community Edition packages of Couchbase Server, Couchbase Sync Gateway and Couchbase Lite. The new restriction limits individual cluster sizes to five (5) cluster nodes and promotes cross data center replication (XDCR) to a commercial-only feature of Enterprise Edition. The license is applied to Couchbase Server Community Edition version 7.0 and higher, as well as Couchbase Sync Gateway and Couchbase Lite version 3.0 and higher.

The Community Edition of these products is a free binary packaging of Couchbase’s source code (also free, licensed under BSL 1.1). The Community Edition is free to use and deploy. These new restrictions limit the extent to which a deployment is allowed to scale without requiring subscription licenses of Couchbase Enterprise Edition.

The new license restrictions now limit use of Community Edition to departmental-scale deployments, eliminating the ability to create Community Edition clusters of unlimited size or scale geographically. In promoting XDCR to an Enterprise Edition feature, Couchbase is able to invest more aggressively in enhancing XDCR to support multi-cloud and cross-cloud replication, security and filtering, and other global capabilities without needing to maintain separate code lines for Community and Enterprise Edition packages.

A posting of the community edition license is posted on our website here:

Couchbase will continue to make its source code and appropriate products freely available to the community under their existing licenses.

What should Couchbase Community Edition users do?

If CE users have deployed Cross Datacenter Replication (XDCR) they should not upgrade to Couchbase Server 7 as the use of XDCR is no longer allowed with this new version, they should remain using version 6.6.

If CE users have deployed clusters larger than five (5) nodes, then they should not upgrade to Couchbase Server 7 unless they are able to bring their cluster node count into compliance, otherwise they should remain using version 6.6.

CE deployments that desire to use Couchbase Server 7 with XDCR or deploy clusters that are larger than five nodes are encouraged to upgrade to Couchbase Server 7 Enterprise Edition. They are encouraged to contact Couchbase Sales to understand their upgrade options.

In the future, Couchbase anticipates offering free cloud-based options, and CE users should attend the Couchbase Connect.ONLINE conference in October, 2021 for more details.


Posted by Scott Anderson

Scott brings more than 20 years of experience in finance, operations, product management, and general management to Couchbase. As SVP of Product Management and Business Operations, he is responsible for driving Couchbase’s product and solution strategy, product roadmap, pricing strategy, competitive strategy, documentation, and development advocacy. Most recently he was SVP and GM of a $1.5B business at Veritas, where he spent 15 years in various positions. Prior to then, he spent eight years at Oracle serving in various finance and business operations roles. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Finance from the University of the Pacific.


  1. This is an absolute slap in the face to all of us in Startups and open source that love Couchbase! I will be opensourcing an XDCR solution so that this limit becomes meaningless

  2. You’ve just killed Couchbase! Time to look for alternatives.

  3. By doing this license change, you basically killed the opportunity for a start-up to run the community edition in the initial phase. A 5 node cluster is almost the minimum to run any meaningful application on top of Couchbase.

    By eliminating XDCR you are blocking any multi-cloud or multi-region deployments for start-ups. So far, I’ve always opted for a small XDCR cluster in either another availability region or with another cloud provider as a hot-standby.

    So if “worst comes to worst” one could do a quick fail-over (without data loss). I personally would not run any mission critical application without the possibility for a fail-over.

    I have been a year-long advocator and supporter of Couchbase, but this decision makes me regret that I chose Couchbase as a database for my own start-up business.

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