Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DM Solutions Announces Formal Open Source GIS Support Program

DMSG announced DMSG Premiere, what it describes as "our industry's first international commercial support service for open source web mapping technologies." The offering is aimed at users, developers and IT managers - be they new to open source geospatial technology, currently using open source, or existing DMSG clients.

The new program includes support for all the projects for which DMSG is known, including MapServer, MapGuide Open Source, ka-Map and Chameleon. "We believe this allows more of the benefits of the open source development process to flow through to our customers," says Dave McIlhagga, president of DMSG. He notes that this model is different than Autodesk's MapGuide Enterprise subscription model.

For most subscribers, the service will be delivered entirely over the Web via a user sign-on. There will be access to a knowledgebase, "an expanding database of MapServer and MapGuide OS technical information that covers installation and configuration topics and lists answers to questions," best practices, articles and e-learning tools.

There are three levels of service, all of which provide access to the knowledgebase:

Standard – Standard level is push only; it delivers updates, bug fixes, security alerts and other information to subscribers. It essentially saves people from having to actively follow the open source mailing lists, finding info on multiple sites, etc. Pricing starts at $500 per user per year.

Professional – Professional level targets those who want to ask questions of DMSG through the web support system for specific solutions, but also provides support on strategies for building solutions. Professional support is priced starting at $1,500 per named user per year and includes "preferred pricing" for DMSG services.

Enterprise – Includes professional priority phone support aimed at operational environments. Pricing is based per server per year and includes "preferred pricing" for DMSG services.

All three levels include a Service Level Agreement, which for the Professional and Enterprise levels details guaranteed times of response and resolution.

The service, which launches September 22, will rollout in English aimed at North America and will be followed over the next six months to a year with delivery in other languages in other geographic regions. Regional support will be delivered by local partners.

It's certainly time for this type of support option to appear for these technologies. It may be just the thing to convince those who have been wary to explore open source geospatial solutions seriously. The question is whether a small company like DMSG, along with partners, can provide the level of service needed for enterprise and commercial clients. Longtime open source users and those with limited funding will continue to tap into existing newslists and forums dedicated to these open source products.