Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Most Popular Enterprise Portal

The portal poll is still going on but I think that it's time to conclude. I am in touch with the industry and watching it closely for a long time but the results are somewhat surprising to me. I was not expecting that the open source portal servers would do that well.

For me it is always difficult to interpret the data. But I'll try to do it with my limited understanding and almost no knowledge of statistics. I must make it clear that -

  1. My group and blogs may have audiences that may not be representing the real portal world.
  2. It may be biased towards one community or other. For example there is another poll going on titled "Do You Use Open Source Portal Servers". Around 68 percent users voted in favor i.e. they use open source portal servers. So one point is clear that my blogs/ groups have good readership/ usage among open source community. Though now-a-days I see more questions pertaining to commercial portals than open source portals.

Now as the there are sufficient votes, we can use this sample to draw some conclusions. Though, I understand that it cannot give us the complete market picture, still it can be a useful way to get the glimpse of the market and usage.

So much talks and no data??? Here is the scorecard -

Note: Others contain MS Sharepoint (1%), Vignette(4%), Plumtree(2%), SAP Netweaver(2%) and Oracle (3%) Portal Servers.

If we assume that usage of my forums and blogs spread uniformly among portal community, here are few conclusions that I can draw from it -

  1. Open Source Portal Servers are in more use than the Commercial Portal Servers.
  2. eXo is the most popular portal server & Liferay is closely behind.
  3. In commercial portals, IBM has the lead on BEA. Other commercial portals are far behind.
  4. People are looking more towards open source solutions.
  5. Standardization (JSR 168, WSRP, JCR) is one major popularity criteria. It may be the reason for eXo advantage.
  6. Integration with other products is not a primary criterion for portal popularity.
  7. Even the major portal features like content management and collaboration is down the wish list.
  8. Development tool (again eXo has advantage) is another important popularity criteria for portals, at least among open source portals.
  9. Portlets are not available in MS Sharepoint portal servers so it is not fare to measure it in a portlet community poll.
  10. Plumtree and Vignette popularity is declining, if we compare it with previous research reports. OR
  11. The portlet development community for Plumtree and Vignette is not that big as compared to other portals.

I want to apologize that I missed few portals servers from both the open source and commercial world. I initially believed that these are not much popular. But this poll has shown that assumptions are not always true. I assure that I'll include them in any future poll. Here is a list of portals that I missed out -

  1. GridSphere
  2. Jahia
  3. PeopleSoft
  4. SunOne
  5. Novell Extend Director

It is probably the first attempt to evaluate open source and commercial portals together. There are various researches and reports available on Internet but those all exclude open source portals. This poll has proved that any research without including open source portals cannot depict a real market.

Thanks to my readers and members, my blogs and groups has grown as a big portal community. My portlets and WSRP groups have around 1500 members and my blogs are receiving thousands of hits a day. Due to this community only, such types of opinion polls are possible. Thanks to my readers and members once again. Finally, just to remind again that the portal poll is still on so you can cast your votes before it is late.

For those, we are looking for similar content, we had few discussions and other similar attempts in the past, but those all were restricted to open source only. Here are other similar attempts -

1. TSS on Choosing Portal Server
2. Which Open Source Portal Server?


  1. Anonymous12:00 PM

    I'm afraid your poll is just as bad as the exit polls conducted during the recent US presidential election. One, I would think that WebSphere would top the list. They've got several thousand customers and have been listed as the top portal on Gartner's Magic Quadrant for the past few years. In terms of Open Source portals... I would think uPortal would top the list (take a look at their customer list). eXo may be valid, but Liferay? Give me a break! The results are probably skewed by the developers of that product. Anyway, if the readers of this weblog are looking for better analysis of what's going on in the portal market, I'd suggest looking to more credible sources like Gartner, Meta, etc.

  2. Anonymous5:23 AM

    You should look at making a different poll for opensource enterprise portals and proprietary enterprise portals. You missed out Fatwire, which to my opinion is the best JSR-168 compliant portal out there.

  3. If we would have concentrating on Enterprise Content Management solutions, Fatwire would be in the list. But as we were more concerned with the portals, I see Fatwire nowhere. Contrary to your belief, I don't think that Fatwire is the best JSR 168 compliant portal. I may be wrong, but I had to make selection of few portals out of many.

  4. Anonymous4:44 AM

    I admire your efforts to counter Gartner, Meta, etc. with a poll of your own, but I'm afraid you have fallen into the same trap -- I think the only things you've proven here are that your sample size was limited and that your sample was very different from that of the major analyst firms.

    Most developers embrace open source, myself included. I would argue that most developers also read technical blogs, subscribe to your portlet mailing list, etc. So your sample is pretty much all developers, who would of course pick an open source portal.

    The interesting thing about most enterprise software is that it's picked by executive business unit sponsors, SVPs, and C-level managers and they read Gartner reports, not your blog or your mailing list. If you're in the IT department of a large corporation, you should consider yourself lucky if someone in management actually asks for your opinion in chosing a portal vendor/product.

    I'm not saying that Gartner and Meta are doing a better job -- they're just using a different and perhaps equally small sample.

  5. Chris,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    First of all I want to tell that I am aware about the limitation of my survey. But saying that I am fallen into the trap will not be correct. My study of the market was telling me some other story and I needed something to prove that. The time I started the poll, I was of firm believe that open source portals have some strong market share. But big research firms e.g. Gartner and Meta were not including them just because they didn't have the money to fund such studies. I wanted to present the opposite side of the coin and it seems that I am quite successful in it.

    I accepted that the sample size if small but remember that it can not be manipulated. You might be knowing that the survey is done inside a forum which has more than 3000 portal developers around the world. They may have there bias and they may not be the decision makers but they are the people who are using the product. And majority of them are saying that they are using open source portals. The day I started the poll, there were 200 votes which has now grown to more than 550 votes and the sample size is increasing at good speed. Still the results are same i.e. open source portals are having strong market presence, probably more than their commercial counterparts. The question asked was "Which Portal Server Are You Using?" As you rightly mentioned that developers are not the decision makers. They are forced to use the product chosen by business unit sponsors. But even then if these developers are saying that they are using open source portal, it means that it has much substance. It can not be rejected easily.

    Anyways, you can check the updated survey results at

    Thanks & Regards,

    Punit Pandey

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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