If you are evaluating RudderStack in a build vs. buy context, it's important to understand the components and features that make up the RudderStack service as they relate to your current and future needs.

This guide will help you decide the right setup based on your environment and data needs: RudderStack Cloud or RudderStack Open Source.

Comparison overview (Summary)

Advanced RudderStack features are typically not supported in the open source version of the product.

FeatureDescriptionRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open Source
EventsFeatures related to tracking, collecting, and routing your events
Cloud Extract (ETL)Collect third-party app data and send it to your data warehouse
Reverse ETLSend data from your warehouse to third-party platforms.
Data governanceInvestigate and troubleshoot inconsistencies in your event data.
Deployment and securityScale and secure your RudderStack deployment.
Monitoring and observabilityMonitor your data pipelines using different tools and alerting mechanisms.
Audits and user managementManage users and set access controls for various RudderStack features.

Cloud and Open Source setup

To understand the effort involved in setting up RudderStack, it's useful to take a look at RudderStack's architecture which comprises the control plane and the data plane. These two services work together to govern the data flow between your event sources and destinations.

  • The control plane refers to the front-end RudderStack dashboard where you can manage the configuration of your sources and destinations.
  • The data plane is RudderStack's core engine responsible for receiving event data and transforming it into the required destination format before relaying events to the destination.

RudderStack Cloud

In RudderStack Cloud, you get a RudderStack-hosted data plane and control plane so you need not worry about the setup. Sign up for free, set up a source and destination, and start seeing the events flow within minutes.

RudderStack's free cloud tier offers multiple sources, destinations and delivery of 5 million events per month. It provides key features like Live Events and Transformations. If you start on the cloud free tier, it's much easier to convert to a paid plan as your needs evolve over time.

RudderStack Open Source

For RudderStack Open Source, you have the following data plane and control plane setup options:

  1. Set up the data plane on Docker, Kubernetes, or in your own development environment. RudderStack will not host the data plane for you.
  2. Set up the control plane using one of the following options:

Cloud-based features like Transformations and Live Events are not available if you use the Control Plane Lite utility. If you are unsure, it is highly recommended you use RudderStack Cloud to get started.

Detailed feature comparison

FeatureRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open SourceNotes
Event metrics
  • Get information on the number of events ingested during a specified timeframe.
  • Applicable only for cloud mode destinations.
  • For Open Source users, this feature is available only in the RudderStack-hosted control plane.
Event backup in your own bucketRudderStack can manage it for you as a part of the Enterprise plan.
Live Events
End-to-end warehouse uploadsUse the RudderStack-hosted object storage to temporarily store your events before forwarding them to your warehouse destination. RudderStack does not persist any of this data.
Event ReplayThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.
Maintaining event ordering
Transformations (cloud mode only)

ETL and Reverse ETL

FeatureRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open SourceNotes
Cloud Extract (ETL)RudderStack Cloud Free users can set up 1 Cloud Extract source. Pro and Enterprise users can set up unlimited sources.
Reverse ETLRudderStack Cloud Free users can set up 1 Reverse ETL source. Pro and Enterprise users can set up unlimited sources.
Data syncs scheduling-
Models-

Data governance

FeatureRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open SourceNotes
Data governanceThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.
Tracking plansThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.
Data regulation and suppressionThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.

Deployment and security

FeatureRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open SourceNotes
Multi-node scalingAvailable for RudderStack Pro and Enterprise users.
Single sign-on (SSO)This is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.
VPC deploymentThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.

Monitoring and observability

FeatureRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open SourceNotes
Grafana dashboards for monitoringAvailable for RudderStack Pro and Enterprise users.
Alerting and error notificationsThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.

Auditing and user management

FeatureRudderStack CloudRudderStack Open SourceNotes
Ability to add other team members in the workspaceYou can invite up to 3 members to your workspace in RudderStack Cloud Free, up to 10 members in Pro, and unlimited members in the Enterprise plan.
Audit logsThis is a RudderStack Enterprise feature.

Contact us

For more information on the topics covered on this page, email us or start a conversation in our Slack community.