Does anyone have insight in to Vanilla Cloud vs Open Source?

Hi. i am new to all of this. After seeing Richard speak at Turingfest the company I work for, a small-ish B2B SaaS, is starting a community for our customers. we already have a really busy and active facebook group but it’s time to move up!
We have been through lots of demos and whatnot and finally made a decision to go for Vanilla then at the last second one of our devs suggested that we use the Open Source instead of Cloud. We have in-house devs so that part of the effort is not a problem to us but what I am trying to understand is what we would lack using Open Source instead of paying for the Cloud version. We are aware that the support is very different but is any specific functionality missing?
It’s a huge decision for us to make and we don’t want to get this wrong.
Thanks for any advice!

Hi @eleanor_freetobook,

I work at Vanilla, and have been using the open source and the cloud version for a long time (before I worked here). It really gets down to your objectives. The open source is a solid platform for a basic forum. If you need additional business integrations such as Salesforce, Github, Linkedin, ect then this is NOT something offered in the open source. I add as well, the search appliance we have on the cloud version is also something not included with the open source. You can roll your own, but it will be DIY. Otherwise you have the default search.

I know you mention support differences, but it’s also much more that you give up going alone - besides support. This is not to say open source can’t be used. I know for example LG used it for many years (and I believe still does), as do many many communities. Over 1 million downloads so far and counting :stuck_out_tongue:

Having written all that, I don’t know what your goals are - so it’s hard to give you the best advice. I am certainly happy to chat via DM if you don’t want to discuss in public. I just want to ensure you have the best fit.

All the best

hi Adrian, thanks for your reply. I actually think you have reinforced what we were thinking anyway…we had been poised to sign the contract when one of our devs piped up about the open source and that flung us in to confusion and indecision! We’d pretty much said to ourselves that the advanced search and the additional knowledge base were probably 50% of what we really need whereas gamification, ideation and all of that is less important but still part of what we decided we liked. Also… why tie up our own (expensive) devs when we could use them to develop our own product!?
I’m really excited to get going on this entire journey. Fingers crossed we’re doing the right thing but at the end of the day it’s not going to hurt us to have what we would consider the superior product!
Thanks again!

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So glad to help - and I have seen this play out too many times. Devs say they can build themselves and they can- but then they “finish” and then onto the next project leaving the community in the lurch.

I am so glad to have you aboard!

Have a super rest of your day :slightly_smiling_face:

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Can you provide by chance any community examples that are health-related and use Vanilla?

Oh, I’m racing to jump in before @Adrian just to be a show off :sweat_smile:

Ovdialogue with Ovarian Cancer Canada
Breast Cancer Network Australia

I’m sure there are many others.

Please, keep them coming!! is finally working to find a new, much needed platform for our large discussion forums. We are 20 years old, with an old platform custom built on Ruby on Rails done about 15 years ago. We have a huge amount of editorial content on our CMS (Contentful) and then the separate ‘silo’ of the community. Vaguely speaking, the new platform will need to provide advanced community features for members and admin alike, allow real-time options, and provide easy ways to integrate the editorial content. If you have any suggestions, please share!


Throwing confetti for you, Melissa. Congrats.