Couchbase is doomed to stay as a niche DB due to the licensing

I like Couchbase. It’s an awesome database and it is nice to have a neat Web GUI out-of-the-box. N1QL is also awesome, and one of the reasons why I chose Couchbase for a recent production setup. However, I have come to the conclusion that Couchbase will never be able to catch MongoDB in the size of the community - and thus in the amount of tools and support - unless Couchbase Inc. change their licensing policy. The reason is, most of the database users are either individual developers running their web apps - probably using AWS - or small companies providing small-scale services for their clients. These people are not able to afford the $5,600 per node starting price (seriously, guys?) for the enterprise edition. By dividing Couchbase into CE and EE, Couchbase Inc. is basically saying that they don’t care about the bugs non-paying users suffer from. I believe that this kind of business model is harmful for the growth of the community, and also harmful for Couchbase Inc., as they have less potential paying users.

During these couple years that I’ve been watching the gradual improvement of Couchbase, I haven’t seen any growth in the amount of third-party services and tools. Take a look at MySQL/MariaDB and MongoDB. They have business models that encourage participation in the development of third-party tools and services and the database itself. I don’t see this happening in Couchbase.

Am I wrong? Would really like to hear some thoughts.


Hello Petri,

We appreciate your feedback and frankness. Developers and users are certainly very important to Couchbase. As a company we certainly need to focus on the business, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about the community. We most certainly do!

Your post made us look at our processes a bit, and looks like we missed posting some important releases out for the community edition. Now while the CE releases will typically be behind EE , we do intend to release them.

So thanks for your help on this one. We’ll try to be more judicious about it in the future.

Developer Advocacy team

Thank you for your response.

Figuring out optimal business model is always a challenge. As an “outsider”, I naturally don’t know the long term business goals of Couchbase Inc., but I thought I would share some of my ideas.

The main problem, in my opinion, with the current business model is the release of two different versions of the product. I believe I understand the reasons, but I don’t believe this to be a good business model - at least in long term.

Instead, I would suggest Couchbase Inc. to concentrate on maintaining only one database product line and then providing additional subscription-based services, plugins, modules, addons, tools, etc. with scalable pricing.

Also, I don’t see why Couchbase Inc. shouldn’t or couldn’t provide Couchbase DaaS (database-as-a-service). DaaS combined with integrations to popular PaaS’s (Heroku, etc…) could give a huge boost to both the business and the community.

Finally I still want to repeat my main point - keeping CE behind in features and bug fixes compared to EE is harmful for the growth of the community and thus harmful for the business of Couchbase Inc.