HashiCorp - Why go Enterprise?

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Author: John Jarvis


HashiCorp has spent many years developing a suite of open-source software (OSS) technologies that excel at enabling their users; the simplest means of securely implementing typical user workflows is at the heart of HashiCorp’s ethos. And the open source community has recognised this, eagerly adopting these tools, adding to them — in the case of community supported Terraform providers, for example — suggesting new features and supporting their peers in thriving message boards and channels.

This development continues: whether it’s adding new features (e.g., simplifying modular workflows in Terraform 0.13), migrating features from an Enterprise offering to the OSS version (e.g., enabling cloud-based auto-unseal in Vault OSS last year), or building completely new products (e.g., the recently-announced Boundary, for fine-grained, service-based remote access instead of the typical VPN, network-wide model), HashiCorp is active in the OSS community in every respect.

With all this on offer, why would a company look to license any of the Enterprise editions?

Enterprise solutions give you the ability to work effectively at scale. Typically, as usage of any of the tools in the suite increases, so too does complexity in the design and maintenance of the associated systems and processes. Enterprise offerings are tailored, as different modules of functionality. For example, read replicas in Vault provide for better performance across large estates. The Business Tier of Terraform Cloud gives you the ability to coordinate across both private and public data centres. Enterprise features are designed to simplify workflows at scale.

There is a hidden cost to running OSS in production environments: you need the right people with the right skills. While feature-rich, the OSS tools are not designed with complex upgrades across global estates in mind: backwards compatibility can be an issue, for example, as in the case of Terraform 0.13; and while HashiCorp provides plenty of excellent documentation in general — and around these sorts of issues specifically — navigating these situations is still non-trivial.

This is where HashiCorp’s vast and varied support options, or partnership with Somerford Associates, can be crucial. Whether it’s tiered service level agreements, Technical Account Managers on hand, or Professional Services designing a solution tailored to your organisation, the risks of significant incidents and outages in your production applications and services are significantly reduced with Enterprise editions, partnered with Somerford. HashiCorp are very familiar with the legal and regulatory frameworks across a variety of sectors, and their Enterprise tools are designed to simplify auditing and compliance monitoring, giving you additional advantages.

Below is a simplified table summarising the main advantages of moving from OSS to Enterprise for each part of the stack (correct as of 01/11/2020):

Enterprise (OSS features +)
Dynamic secrets, (Cloud) Auto-unseal, Encryption as a Service
Disaster Recovery, Namespaces, HMS Auto-unseal, Read (Performance) Replicas
Up to five (5) users (w. Terraform Cloud), remote state file management
SSO, Sentinel (Policy as Code), Cost Estimation, Additional concurrent runs (w. Terraform Cloud)
Service Discovery, Mesh Gateway, Health Checks
Automated backups & upgrades, Advanced federation, Redundancy Zones
Autoscaling, Namespaces, Service & Batch scheduling
Automated backups & upgrades, Redundancy Zones, Multi-Vault namespaces

Ultimately, HashiCorp Enterprise software gives you the best of both worlds: the ability to work quickly and securely at scale, while still taking advantage of many of the latest developments in the OSS community.

If you’d like to learn more about the Enterprise editions of Vault, Terraform, Consul and Nomad, stay tuned for future blog posts, or get in touch today!

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