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Discussion on: I'm Vivek Saraswat, investor in Dev Tools + Infra startups @ Mayfield and former product leader @ Docker/VMware/AWS. AMA!

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Brian Bethencourt

Hey Vivek, thanks for doing this. How would you define "open core"?

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Vivek Saraswat Ask Me Anything

Hey Brian!

IMO, Open Core means that the core platform which the user runs is open-source, and then the vendor offers a proprietary commercial layer wrapping this which the customer can purchase with additional features to augment the functionality of the product (but without necessarily changing the core value proposition of the product). This is usually offered "On-Premises" (the customer downloads the bits and runs in their own environment, whether in the cloud or on their own servers) but it can be run as a "Managed SaaS" (see below)

Contrast to Open Crust, in which the core product itself is proprietary/commercial code, but open source integrations are offered to the product, usually in order to allow facilitate a stronger ecosystem by allowing 3rd party vendors to create these integrations.

Compare and Contrast to Managed SaaS, in which the open-source software is run as a fully managed service by the vendor on behalf of the customer. The service may or may not be Open Core--that is, it may include proprietary features which are not included in the open-source software itself.

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