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Industrial IoT and Edge

Portainer is your solution to securely deploy software containers across your fleet of Edge devices.

Neil Cresswell, CEOSeptember 1, 20223 min read

Portainer CE vs Portainer BE – What’s the Difference?

So what's the difference between Portainer Community Edition (CE) and Business Edition (BE)? Let's take a quick look at the features exclusive to BE.

  • GitOps Automation - Trigger deployment updates of your apps to Docker and Kubernetes, from a Git repo via either push (your CI system tells Portainer there are changes) or pull (Portainer checks for the latest image).
  • Identity & Access Management - Allows for more granularity and control over identity and access management.
  • Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) and MicroK8s provisioning - Allows for the direct setup and provisioning of Kubernetes environments on KaaS providers such as Civo, Linode, DigitalOcean and more, as well as MicroK8s onto new servers, from within the Portainer UI.
  • External Authentication Systems - Radically simplifies the connection to external authentication systems.
  • Role-based Access Control (RBAC) - Enables role-based access control that defines who can do what, and where.
  • Quota Management - Enforces quota management across all resources.
  • Security Governance - Enables security governance such as single-sign-on, authentication, and activity logins.
  • Rich Observability - Provides rich observability through integrations with external monitoring toolsets.
  • Cost Management - Provides insight into resources consumed per person/team/app and calculates the proportional cost to run the application as a percentage of overall costs.
  • Disaster Recovery - Provides a ready means to DR enable Portainer itself.

Portainer Business Edition Support

In addition to the feature differences, Business Edition is also available with support.

  • Support is included when you purchase a Portainer Business license, with defined SLA’s; either 9x5 NBD support or 24x7 support for critical environments.
  • The Three Nodes Free license is supported by community forums only.

Portainer Community Edition (CE) is our open-source version

Portainer CE came first. It's our widely adopted, open-source product, that is known and loved by home lab users across the globe. You can install Portainer CE for free.

CE provides a general-purpose management toolset that allows individuals to deploy and manage container-native applications with a high degree of ease; a lower cost of operations; and without needing to exclusively invest in any single orchestrator, Kubernetes distribution, container runtime, or cloud provider.

Additionally, as with most open-source products, support for Portainer CE is provided by the community through forums.

The Case for Portainer Business

Often Portainer home lab users want to use Portainer in their work environment. CIO's, CISO's and CTO's have a relatively consistent view of what's required of an "enterprise" management toolset.

This includes ensuring it has critical security & governance capability, IT finance visibility, integrations with pre-existing IT management toolsets/operational processes, and DR/BCP. 
And of course, the IT executive will want to know how SLA-backed support is obtained for any mission-critical software application.

It's simply not possible to have the community edition of Portainer deliver a coherent experience that addresses the needs of hobbyists AND large enterprises; as each has vastly different needs. And as organizations seek to deploy Portainer in critical parts of their network, the need for formal support becomes important.

Portainer Business Edition has more features suited to business environments

Portainer Business Edition is a closed-source version of Portainer which has been designed to meet the needs of the enterprise. The “hobbyist” / single-user elements have been defocussed (and optionally totally disabled) and the enterprise features that the IT executive would expect to find in a business-grade product have been added.

Portainer Business Edition features at a glance



In Conclusion

Looking forwards, Business Edition will be further enriched with a host of additional features and functions we believe are of specific value to business users, including improved logging, better monitoring, and support for more orchestration platforms (we currently support Kubernetes, and Docker/Swarm). As we’ve stated in this blog previously, our heart remains very true to our 'open source' roots, and we will continue to invest in both the open source version of Portainer as well as the Business Edition.

We are acutely aware we would not have achieved the things we have without the amazing support of the open-source community and we remain committed to making container management simple for absolutely everyone. 

Try Portainer with 3 Nodes Free

If you're ready to get started with Portainer Business, 3 nodes free is a great place to begin. If you'd prefer to get in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you!



Neil Cresswell, CEO

Neil brings more than twenty years’ experience in advanced technology including virtualization, storage and containerization.


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