Last year I was one of the beta testers for Acquia's Drupal distribution and the Acquia Network. I was evaluating Acquia's products and services for a potential intranet project at work. For this particular project, unfortunately, it looks as if Acquia or Drupal wasn't the right solution. Our regional folks wanted a solution similar to Microsoft's Sharepoint that is more integrated with Microsoft Office and heavily featured in document management. That's alright though because there are a number of smaller intranet projects at work where Drupal is the perfect solution and a lot of progress is being made in that direction.
Over the weekend, I decided to move CMS Report from Drupal 6 to Acquia Drupal. In December, I received a message that beta testers would be rolled over into "a Community subscription entitlement that extends through December 31st, 2009". Placing the Acquia subscription onto CMSReport.com not only will allow the site to receive the benefits of being on Acquia's network, but will also allow me to monitor the evolution of Acquia. Acquia is still a young company and likely will continue to expand on the products and services it offers.
I also like that Acquia can be considered a learning organization. I always have an uneasy feeling when a company claims their software offers a "total solution" for all my content management and social publishing needs. That's a nice goal, but I found it to be an unrealistic goal. Instead, I want to see solutions that are agile and adaptable to the ever changing needs of my users. That's why I like to see people like John Newton, Alfresco and Dries Buytaert, Acquia talk constantly about the continued need to offer their customers more than what they have offered in the past. Dries recently wrote about Acquia being up to the task of meeting their customers' needs.
The first thing you learn when selling in tough economic times is that you must figure out how to give customers exactly what they want and you must do it fast. It didn't take long for us to realize that people wanted more than Acquia Drupal: they wanted support for everything Drupal 6.x -- all modules, themes and custom code. The good news is that Acquia is a nimble company so the last weeks we worked on changing our support model to address customer demands. Starting tomorrow, we will support everything Drupal 6.x -- not just Acquia Drupal but all modules and themes available on drupal.org as well as custom code. I'm still a firm believer in Drupal distributions so Acquia Drupal still has a role as a packaged on-ramp for people getting started with Drupal. However, anyone will be able to connect any Drupal 6.x site to the Acquia Network -- helping us achieve our goal of helping people build and operate great websites with Drupal. Keep an eye on acquia.com if you want to learn more about these changes.
So we'll spend much of the year 2009 on the Aquia Drupal platform. I don't make this move without some hesitation. I've spent the past few years leaning solely on myself and the Drupal community to tackle any issues I had with Drupal. Having a "third party" involved to deal with those needs is something new and goes against a bit of my independent nature. But I think the benefits of going with Acquia for this site and me personally outweigh the beneifts of sticking with a straight Drupal.org solution. I'm looking forward to the Acquia experience.
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.