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Drupal Acquia side by side comparison with SiteCore

The clash of the titans grows more momentum as Drupal is now widely accepted as a real altnernative to SiteCore.  Here's why...

Adam D 3 March 2015

License costs

Drupal SiteCore
Being open source, there are no license costs for the software, however there are support costs associated to run an Acquia Enterprise platform. Costs vary depending on requirements and capacity, however are typically < 25% of that of SiteCore $80-100k/year starting costs for basic implementation. You’ll also pay extra license fees for each server your website runs on. So if you’re running multiple servers for the one site, costs go up considerably.

Maintenance effort

Drupal SiteCore
Drupal running in the Acquia Enterprise cloud does not require manual maintenance, and is updated as part of the Enterprise support costs, with seamless production migration Updates are manually installed by your development partner.

Services availability

Drupal SiteCore
Drupal is widely supported (millions of installations) and there is a large community of reasonably priced agencies, developers and contractors available for project work SiteCore is popular with large organisations, (thousands of installations), and has a smaller community of available resources, typically at higher costs

Platform capability

Drupal SiteCore
Drupal has very powerful out of the box features, with thousands of available plug-ins, offering more than enough to cater for most organisations SiteCore is famous for it’s strong enterprise capabilities, with many reports having the platforms on par in this regard. While others suggest core functionality of SiteCore is more advanced, it’s very rare for an organisation to be able to take advantage of those features given the complexity involved in implementation

Vendor lock-in

Drupal SiteCore
Being open source, all customisations are open and available to the public. The common trap is in choosing an incapable Drupal partner – if this is avoided, any vendor can viably take over a Drupal site built elsewhere Customisations to a proprietary platform often unfortunately don’t follow best practice and/or are closely guarded by the platform owners, making it very difficult to move to an alternate vendor


Drupal SiteCore
There are typically timeline efficiencies to consider if using Drupal – site development can commence quickly, and required customisations and alterations implemented by a large number of vendors to ensure speed to market Platform setup time can create delays, and more particularly, access to qualified developers is scarce.


Drupal SiteCore
Drupal is famed for it’s performance, and it’s lightweight architecture is well-suited to run efficiently and fast. Further, the Acquia cloud has been created to exploit Drupal’s architecture, and deliver astounding, scalable site performance. SiteCore being a larger footprint software platform typically requires a much more grunty/costly hosting infrastructure to deliver similar performance, however will perform well in the right environment.

Editing interface

Drupal SiteCore
Early versions of Drupal were not very easy to use. Modern versions are not really a concern, and the question of usability is rarely a concern for Drupal users of any skill level, assuming the site is setup by professionals. The SiteCore editor interface is not very user-friendly. Many users have chosen to create content elsewhere, then import into SiteCore when complete, rather than managing the content right from within the site. The administrative interface is also infamously sluggish.


Drupal SiteCore
Again, being a lightweight infrastructure running on a regular widely available LAMP stack, the footprint is efficient and low cost – there are more hosting options available, including Linux, Windows on cloud (aws) AWS or traditional infrastructure. The Acquia cloud lives on an AWS infrastructure. The large-scale nature of the software requires a heavier hosting solution (often 2 x the size), and only runs on a Windows platform.


Drupal SiteCore
The Drupal Security Team includes approximately 40 people, a number of whom are Acquia employees. The security team created a framework to report and prioritize the mitigation of security vulnerabilities discovered both in Drupal core and in Drupal contributed modules. In most cases, the Acquia Cloud Enterprise platform is patched before the security challenge is even exposed. The community nature of Open Source also encourages many thousands of users to pro-actively be monitoring for, and reporting, any security issues. All software is vulnerable, and requires regular security patching. SiteCore also offers world-class security, assuming any vulnerabilities are patched urgently. Given each install is managed separately and onsite, clients need to engage with vendors regularly to ensure patches are installed in a timely fashion. Further, this is only possible when SiteCore themselves identify a vulnerability, and then release the patch.

Marketplace support

Drupal SiteCore
Drupal has a very strong development community, with the most popular 3rd party module actually being used (not just downloaded) at 877,741 at the time of writing: Drupal Views SiteCore development community is not strong, with the most popular module downloaded less than 400 times: SiteCore Installer

Concurrent users

Drupal SiteCore
Drupal allows unlimited concurrent users or departments to access the site administration. Site enforces limits on the concurrent authenticated users, making it a costly and cumbersome affair to have large numbers of editors and departments.


Drupal SiteCore
Custom integrations are easily supported using Drupal’s very popular and easily accessible API, with a large number of modules also developed for 3rd party integrations. SiteCore integrations can be very cumbersome if not available out of the box. It’s not unusual for a 1-2 day Drupal integration to take 1-2 weeks in SiteCore.


Drupal SiteCore
Open source nature fosters strong customisation ability, and has many plug-ins available. Proprietary system not well suited to platform customisation if required, however offers strong flexibility out of the box.


Drupal SiteCore
Drupal has simple user profiling capabilities out of the box, and can be customised to offer more advanced profiling and behaviour analysis. The addition of Acquia Lift provides strong personalisation capabilities. SiteCore is built around profiling user behaviour on the site, and delivers stronger capabilities in this area as standard functionality

Development costs

Drupal SiteCore
Drupal resources are more highly available, and there are little infrastructure/license costs SiteCore has inherently more sophisticated infrastructure requirements, resources are more expensive, and the build process is slightly more complicated – build costs are roughly double typically.

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