I'm very excited to announce that today we are launching our Start-Up Program. This is something I have been working on for a while, and I'm glad we finally got it out. We are essentially giving away our products for free -- full use, including production -- to any individual or company with revenues of less than $5 million.
If you want some background on the program go to the GigaSpaces Start-Up Program home page. You may also want to check out the FAQs and the official announcement. [UPDATE: See post and discussion on TheServerSide.]
Now, here's the rationale behind this program:
Why it makes sense for developers and entrepreneurs
This one is kind of a no-brainer.
When starting a new company, entrepreneurs face a tough dilemma. On the one hand, they want to use a robust, scalable, highly-reliable and high-performance application platform, such as GigaSpaces XAP, but on the other hand they want to keep costs to a minimum. As cost is typically the over-riding factor, they often turn to low-cost (or free) software, which is not as robust as GigaSpaces. The Start-Up Program lets them benefit from the best of both worlds.
Furthermore, the way we structured the program, there really isn't any unpredictable point of payment. The company will decide if and when it wants to "graduate" to the commercial license with full 24/7 email, phone and web support, such as any regular paying customer. Until then (in other words, until the point where it makes business sense), they can just use the support forums for free.
From a technical perspective, there are two main points to keep in mind:
- GigaSpaces is about scalability. Start-ups are about scalability (at least, if they are successful). Scalability means a couple of things here. For one, you can just write your app on your laptop and when you want to test it in a distributed, resilient environment you can just do it with no code changes. See Nati Shalom's post on testability. The other aspect of scalability is of course when you go into production. As usage of your app increases, you simply scale it out on additional servers -- with no architecture or code changes.
- With GigaSpaces, there is no vendor lock-in. We use standard APIs. Specifically, with the OpenSpaces framework (which is open sourced and licensed under Apache), you basically write your application with POJOs and use the Spring Framework. You can also use plain C++ or C# objects, or standard J2EE APIs, such as JMS and JDBC. See also Nati's post: Avoiding Vendor lock-in in a non-standard environment.
Why it makes sense for GigaSpaces' non-startup customers
This one may not be as obvious. At the end of the day, though, it is in the best interest of all of our customers that there will be a robust community around the GigaSpaces products. This is exactly what the start-up program is trying to achieve, alongside other developer community initiatives we have and will be launching. These include our open source work around OpenSpaces and other projects, such as Spring, Mule, Hibernate, GridGain and Jini. It also includes things such as the GigaSpaces XAP Community Edition and many more projects that are in the works.
So it's about adoption, which will serve all of our customers.
Why it makes sense for GigaSpaces
Well, the previous section kind of gives you a clue about that. But also from a straight sales perspective, we see this as a marketing program that allows us to tap into a whole new segment of customers. We believe that this will eventually result in additional revenues to GigaSpaces. There is a basic assumption here: any start-up that will reach a point where their application generates significant revenues or adoption will want enterprise-style support and will pay for the license.
So please check out the program - and join!