Open Source ERP Heads into the Cloud


As the CEO of xTuple, Ned Lily will be the first to tell you that he's not sure exactly how much traction open source ERP applications are going to gain as a cloud computing service, but he aims to find out.


xTuple, which develops a suite of open source ERP applications on top of the open source PostgreSQL database, is making available the PostBooks implementation of its software on the EC2 cloud computing service from Amazon.


Lily says he expects that a cloud computing implementation will definitely make the company's software more accessible to a broader range of IT organizations. Thus far, the xTuple ERP software has been downloaded over 350,000 times, resulting in the creation of a true open source community where customers mutually support each other.


Lily describes the cloud computing implementation as a proof-of-concept project that the company at present is unsure how to charge for, given all the choices between offering just a flat monthly rate to metered pricing based on actual usage.


But Lily figures that the cloud computing edition will eventually drive a subset of those customers to want the commercial version of xTuple's software that has been optimized to support multiple locations and the needs of manufacturers. But in the meantime, Lily says he's happy to see if cloud computing will help expand the size of the overall xTuple community, even if that means somebody takes PostBooks to roll out their own ERP implementation in the cloud.


Version 3.5 of the xTuple ERP suite,which is required to run on the cloud, is scheduled to be available in April.