I thought I would copy out and publish this – it’s actaully from a series of emails to a new client which took place last December. He decided to use Magento as he wanted to use the Synoptive product configurator. However, he didn’t know anything about Magento and being a very diligent and experienced project manager he didn’t just Google it, he phoned them up.
In his reply to me he said;
I have initiated discussions with Magento and hope to get more information this week. For the size of company we are Magento Go is the obvious and clear winner over Magento Enterprise.
Hmm….. Seems the Magento rep must have forgotten to mention Magento Community Edition, lol! We’ve all got to make a crust, I don’t blame them at all. However, for the benefit of anyone reading, here was my reply. Incidentally, I’d hate it if that great article by Mark Shust which I mention below ever got deleted for any reason…. such as the Big M deciding it didn’t like it too much.
Magento Go is an e-commerce SaaS (Software as a Service) offered by Magento in competition with providers like Shopify and 3DCart. It’s a total non-starter for stuff like this, it is what it is and you get what you’re given – there’s no scope for modifying and extending the system to accommodate the Synoptive configurator, never mind anything else.
Magento Enterprise edition is indeed very expensive, and for me very aptly named as it’s really only affordable for big Enterprises. You’ve missed out the most popular and widely used of these three brothers though -> Magento Community Edition. No surprises that Magento didn’t discuss it. It is the free version and it’s how Magento (or Varien as they were before they incorporated) made their name and got the profile they have. It’s also, to all intents and purposes, exactly the same as Magento Enterprise. Don’t take my word for it, here’s an article written in February of this year by a Magento developer;
What makes this article interesting isn’t so much the content but the contributions that come below in the comments. The first one is by a German guy called Vinai Kopp who is a very well respected member of the Magento community and is now Magento’s head of developer education. Further down a guy called Ben Marks is just chipping in with a joke, he is another Magento trainer. The important point is that these guys are not disagreeing with the whole premise.
Of course, Magento will push you towards the Enterprise version. And any Magento Partners will too, that’s all part of the deal, they only get to be a partner is they actively push the paid-for version of the product – they have to pay for the privilege of being a partner, they get a cut of the proceeds when they make a sale.
I have put together a list of the commercial modules you would need to augment the Community Edition so it had exactly the same functionality as Enterprise;
Full Page Caching / Page Caching
Varnish – (https://www.varnish-cache.org/) – FREE
Free module integrating Magento with Varnish;
Lightspeed Full Page Caching – $500
Brim Full Page Caching – $149
Addition to above – Brim Full Page Cache Warmer – $69
Catalogue Search (it’s down as Solr search on their list)
Magento’s inbuilt catalogue search is really poor. The Enterprise version has support for Apache Solr to improve it’s performance. Depending on your budget and server resources there are various different options available for community edition;
Solr Bridge – 450 Euros
Recreate the Enterprise functionality this way.
Better Store Search – $250
Aheadworks Advanced Search – $199
Advanced Sphinx Search – $100 (plus Sphinx which is free – http://sphinxsearch.com/)
Autogeneration of Coupon Codes
I’ve used this module before, it’s excellent;
Amasty Generate and Import Coupons – $99
Layered Navigation Pricing Enhancement
Another one of Amasty’s does a hell of a lot more than the Magento Enterprise answer to it, this is a brilliant module;
Amasty Imnproved Layered Navigation – $99
Enterprise Tiered Pricing
Blue Jalapeno’s Module – £40
CMS Page to Main Menu
Brand Ammo’s Pronav – $69.99
Worldwide Access to S3 – $69.99
Magestore – $129.00