Portainer Community Edition vs Business Edition – What’s the Difference?

by Andrew Thomas, on March 8, 2021

So what's the difference between Portainer Community Edition (CE) and Business Edition (BE). Let's take a quick look at the main comparison points.

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

But what happens when those 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; 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.

Enter Portainer Business Edition.
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.

Specifically, in Portainer Business you'll find -

Identity & Access Management
Allows for more granularity and control over identity and access management.

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, where.

Quota Management
nforces quota management across all resources.

Security Governance
nables security governance such as single-sign-on, authentication and activity logins.

Rich Observability
rovides rich observability through integrations with external monitoring toolsets.

Cost Management
Provides insight into resources consumed per person/team/app and calculate proportional cost to run the application as a percentage of overall costs.

Disaster Recovery
rovides a ready means to DR enable Portainer itself.

In addition to the distinct feature differences, Business Edition also comes with a robust customer success/support program, with defined SLA’s, and more extensive product testing. From a support perspective, Portainer Business offers customers two options - 9x5 NBD support as standard and an optional 24x7 support package for critical environments.

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. As we’ve stated in this blog previously, our heart remains very much 'open source' and we will continue to invest in both the open source version of Portainer as well as 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.


Interested in running Portainer in a business environment?

Portainer Business is our fully featured, fully supported business product. It is used by some of the largest organizations in the world to deliver a powerful self-service container management experience for developers and IT teams. With more than 500,000 active users, Portainer is proven to be the simplest and most effective way of managing Docker, Swarm, and Kubernetes environments.


Topics:portainer businessportainer ceCompare