Changes to Crate's Licensing

We have further developed our licensing policy to serve the open source community and our required business interest at the same time, please read the important info below.


Dear CrateDB user,

First of all, thank you for using our product as an open source user, as well as a commercial user! We thought intensively on how to grow and run a business, while still serve and contribute to our open source community, as well as benefit from it. We came up with a new plan, which we now can inform you about. Please read below the upcoming changes with respect to our CrateDB versions, the features and the licensing.

For an extensive essay on our Open Source background and the thoughts and ideas behind the licensing changes, please read the blog post on Crate’s Open Source strategy by CTO Jodok Batlogg, and our blog posts on the 3.3 release by our Head of Product Joe Moser.

Below is a quick overview on the most important aspects of the changes:

As of version 3.3, offers the following two versions of the CrateDB software offers the following two versions of the CrateDB software CrateDB and CrateDB Community Edition:


Our main product, with all features and unlimited scaling of instances. It requires a commercial license, with free offers for educational and non-profit use, as well as a Startup Program. CrateDB is free of charge for a maximum of 3 nodes, beyond three nodes you need to pay.  CrateDB has been previously called CrateDB Enterprise Edition.

CrateDB Community Edition

Formerly called CrateDB Open Source Edition, the Crate DB Community  Edition resides unpackaged in our Github repository and remains free of charge.  

The CrateDB Community Edition does not have a node limit, however it does not include Enterprise Edition features and functionality.

See the following list of Enterprise features, included in CrateDB only:

Enterprise Features:

Why are we doing these changes?

We continue to make our software available with all features to all users, so it can be used and tested in full effect and to spread the technology. If you actually use it in real commercial ways (which is usually best described with larger scale and number of nodes) then however we expect users to contribute a fair share to the cost of our development efforts by buying a license.

Please read this blog post from Founder and CTO Jodok Batlogg for more background.

All described changes will become effective with CrateDB 3.3.

So, what's next for you?


If you are using or planning to upgrade to CrateDB 3.3 on more than 3 nodes today, please contact us to get a special loyalty offer for a commercial license for an existing user.


An Enterprise License will be provided at no cost for use by non-profit and educational organizations. Limitations apply. We also have a special Startup-Program, where early stage startups can apply. Please contact us.


As a free alternative, you can scale down the cluster to less than 4 nodes, however we invite you to talk to us, so we can find a solution, if your budget is constrained. We want you to use CrateDB on many nodes :-).

As final alternative you could switch to the CrateDB Community Edition and build CrateDB yourself from the source on our Github repository. You will not have any enterprise features and the 24x7support/SLA from the Crate team, but it is your free  alternative to run as many nodes as you wish.

You can also switch to the CrateDB Community Edition and build CrateDB yourself from the Github repository. When you build CrateDB from source, you get the CrateDB Community Edition, which does not come with any enterprise features and does not have any node limitations. It can be run on as many nodes as you wish.

How is node limitation implemented?

To make full use of CrateDB with all its enterprise features, you must acquire an Enterprise License. Unless and until you do that, CrateDB is limited to running on no more than three nodes. If you exceed the three nodes limitation your cluster will stop accepting queries and CrateDB functionality will be limited to:

To restore functionality, you must SET LICENSE or scale down to three or fewer nodes.


If you wish to use CrateDB without an Enterprise License and without the three node limitation, you can switch to the CrateDB Community Edition.

Final closing thought


There is no final recipe, how open source companies make their business and OSS community work. We see ourselves also on a journey, where we listen, improve and evolve our model. We believe our new approach is a fair balance of give and take, where we act as an honest citizen of the open source world, while still following a clear path to revenue generation, when scaled commercial use is involved. That's how we make sure we can continue to deliver a great database technology for everyone.


Thank you for supporting us,

your Team.

See Also

For more information about the different editions of CrateDB, consult the overview product comparison.

For more detailed licensing information, please contact us directly or consult the information in the NOTICE and LICENSE files.

For further information and if you would like to speak with someone from, please contact us here.

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