I recently wrote an article explaining why open-core companies are not incentivized to develop a truly excellent open-source offering.
While Plural currently operates under the services model and not a SaaS model, we potentially opened ourselves up to some of the criticism that we levied. In turn, I thought this would be a great opportunity to transparently address how we are planning on monetizing Plural.
Throughout this post, I’ll state our core values and show how each of them informs our various monetization strategies.
Our product is entirely built around helping people host and configure things themselves, not providing a black box. When you sign up for a Plural account and deploy your first Kubernetes cluster, you’ll notice that the internals are completely exposed. Because we’ve architected the Plural configuration to live in a GitHub repository on your account, control will always be in your hands. Regardless of what infrastructure is running, you'll always be able to eject from the Plural platform and keep your applications and configuration.
Monetization plan: Any paid features we build out will be optional add-ons to the current experience and user interface. The pricing structure for self-serve enterprise features will be crafted in such a way to never require payment for standard OSS use cases.
Support agreements are healthy
Support agreements are mutually beneficial for the users and creators of open-source projects and Plural is no exception. Feature requests or bug reports made by companies we support will immediately improve the project when we address them. We want to provide our years of infrastructure experience directly to our users and don’t mind being hands-on.
Monetization plan: We will seek out support agreements with companies that want help with managing, maintaining, and scaling their Plural installations.
Vendor partnerships are ideal
Because we are helping people deploy other open-source projects, we partner with the companies behind them to improve our offering on Plural and to enhance the support experience. Our position allows us to help vendors offer a powerful, scalable, and configurable alternative for users who need or want to self-host. We understand some individuals want a SaaS product and others want to self-host. This creates room for a mutually beneficial relationship with vendors.
Monetization plan: We plan on creating revenue-share agreements with companies that maintain the open-source applications on our marketplace. This will manifest as a straightforward commission on Plural support agreements for referred customers.
We’re looking for win-win scenarios
We want to charge people for Plural when they’re offering our services directly to make money, as that benefits everyone involved. This will manifest in different ways and we’re planning on being hands-on with how we first implement this.
Monetization plan: We want to partner with data consultancies or teams with existing Kubernetes clusters to offer easy pathways to providing streamlined application delivery. Once we build out the functionality for bringing an existing Kubernetes cluster to Plural, we may charge for it, as it will require far more hand-holding and custom features.
Will Plural ever have a SaaS offering?
Currently, the answer is no.
However, if we ever have a SaaS offering, it won’t be separated from our current open-source platform. Currently, during the setup of a Plural installation, you are prompted to choose between using your own cloud or a demo that we pay for. Theoretically, this SaaS would manifest as a third option to use our infrastructure if that is your preference. This is currently not a high priority on our roadmap, as our focus is on helping users to self-host.
Monetization plan: We don’t plan on it currently, but we may offer hosted infrastructure as an alternative to self-hosting.
If you have any further questions about how we plan to monetize, head over to our community Discord and ask us questions in the #feedback channel. We’ll be glad to help clarify any doubts.
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