Alfresco is a suite of digital information management systems for Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems developed using Java technology. Their core offering, branded as a Digital Business Platform, consists of three sets of software products:
- Alfresco Content Services (ACS) delivers the enterprise content management (ECM) capabilities that have been core part of Alfresco's business since its inception. It includes a central content and metadata repository, a web interface named Share, the ability to define automated business rules, and full-text indexing provided using Apache Solr.
- Alfresco Process Services (APS) provides business process management (BPM) capabilities stemming from the open source Activiti project. It includes graphical design tools, rules editors, and external data integration.
- Alfresco Governance Services (AGS), formerly known as Alfresco Records Management, is an add-on component that provides records management functionality to address information governance requirements. Alfresco Governance Services is DoD 5015.02 certified for records management.
The Alfresco Digital Business Platform is commercially & proprietary licensed open source, supports open standards, and provides enterprise scale. Its design is geared towards users who require a high degree of modularity and scalable performance. It can be deployed on-premises on servers or in the cloud using an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Quick Start. A multi-tenant SaaS offering is also available. Alfresco also provides open source Community Editions as free, LGPLv3 licensed open source software. These have some limitations in terms of scalability and availability, e.g. there is no clustering support. Quality assurance is limited and bug fixes are only issued for the current versions. There are two components:
- Alfresco Community Edition is the Community Edition of Alfresco Content Services
- Activiti is the Community Edition of Alfresco Process Services
John Newton (co-founder of Documentum) and John Powell (a former COO of Business Objects) founded Alfresco Software, Inc. in 2005. Its investors include the investment firms SAP Ventures, Accel Partners and Mayfield Fund. The original technical staff consisted of principal engineers from Documentum and Oracle.
In July of 2005, Alfresco released the first version of their software.
While Alfresco's product initially focused on document management, in May, 2006, the company announced its intention to expand into web content management by acquiring senior technical and managerial staff from Interwoven; this included its VP of Web Content Management, two principal engineers, and a member of its user-interface team.
In October 2009, the 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report described Alfresco as a leading Java-based open source web content management system.
In 2010, Alfresco sponsored a new open-source BPM engine called Activiti.
In July 2011, Alfresco and Ephesoft announced a technology partnership to offer their users document capture and Content Management Interoperability Services brought together for intelligent PDF capture and search and workflow development.
In October 2011, Alfresco 4.0 was released with significant improvements to the user interface. The new Alfresco aims to move further features from Alfresco Explorer to Alfresco Share, as Alfresco Explorer is intended to be deprecated over time.
In January 2013, Alfresco appointed Doug Dennerline, former President of SuccessFactors, former EVP of Sales at Salesforce.com, and former CEO of WebEx, as its new CEO.
In September 2014, Alfresco 5 was released with new reporting and analytics features and an overhaul of its document search tool, moving from Lucene to Solr.
In November 2016, Alfresco launched on AWS Quickstart.
In March 2017, Alfresco 5.2 was released and rebranded as the Digital Business Platform. This included the release of the Application Development Framework with reusable Angular JS(2.0) components.
Enterprise content management for documents, web, records, images, and collaborative content development.
Alfresco is capable of the following:
- Document management
- Records management, including 5015.2 certification
- Image management
- Learning content management support for learning management systems (e.g. Moodle)
- LOR Learning Object Repository (edu-sharing)
- Integrated publishing
- Repository access via CIFS/SMB, FTP, WebDAV, NFS and CMIS
- Automating business processes with the embedded Activiti workflow engine
- Solr search
- Federated servers
- Multi-language support
- Portable application packaging
- Multi-platform support (officially Windows, Linux and Solaris)
- Browser-based GUI (official support for Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge)
- Desktop integration with Microsoft Office (available in enterprise version only), OpenOffice.org, and LibreOffice.
- Online integration with Google Docs
- Clustering support
- Pluggable authentication: NTLM, LDAP, Kerberos, CAS
- Multiple database support: MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle Database (Enterprise Edition), IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server (Enterprise Edition), MariaDB, Amazon RDS -MySQL, Amazon Aurora.
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