What do Gary DeCarlo and Ensim have in common? This week, SWSoft announced that they have acquired two important rivals: H-Sphere and Ensim. Though SWSoft says they intend to support Ensim, I don’t really think it will happen. Which means it is time to say goodbye to those Ensim servers.
Ensim’s Slow Demise
Since the release of Plesk 7.5, we’ve been encouraging users to migrate their servers to Plesk. I am sure those that have done so are glad they’ve already migrated their servers. The Ensim control panel used to be a leader; it was easy to use and had fewer problems than did the competitors. But Plesk 7.5 Reloaded raised the bar and Ensim never caught up.
SWSoft’s focus on quality assurance really propelled Plesk. Overtime, Plesk became just an application. No longer did it hood deeply into the OS. From a systems management standpoint, this is terrific. Most Linux distros already have good OS patch management tools and system reliability. By not touching the distro’s standard applications, Plesk could be easily installed and maintained. The result: fewer issues and higher ROI than any other platform that we’ve worked with. I think SWSoft’s Plesk improvements really put the pressure on Ensim, who was already suffering from a lack of focus.
In an attempt to remain relevant, Ensim rolled out Ensim X, but it was like putting a glossy coat of paint on that rusted-out Ford Pinto. It may look new, but underneath it is still a Pinto, and you really have to love driving a Pinto not to get something sleeker and faster. Since Ensim 4.0’s release in 2005, there have been few significant advancements to the product. And in many respects, the quality of the product and support has declined. We’ve actually found it easier to migrate Ensim 4.0 clients to Plesk in some cases than to migrate them to Ensim X.
Will SWsoft Really Support Ensim?
Though in their press release, SWSoft says they are behind the Ensim product, I really don’t see it happening. The only way I see this coming about is if they basically gut the core of Ensim, tap Open Fusion, and basically provide an Ensim-looking version of Plesk.
I suspect Ensim will follow the path of the Cobalt Raq, which Sun purchased 2000. Not long after Sun acquired Cobalt, they canned the product line. Though they never really delivered a replacement, they were hoping their Nextra server line would fill it shoes. By that time, Cpanel, Ensim and Plesk were gaining market share (H-Sphere and Helm are out there as well but I know less about them).
Only time will tell, but it may be time to start server migration planning now.
Good News: Migration is Doable
The good news is that migration is doable, especially if your sites are largely static, simple sites. Plesk provides a good migration tool to migrate from Ensim to Plesk. Emails, databases and sites get migrated over.
Moving to Plesk will take some getting used to because it is organized a little differently, but for the most part, it does what Ensim does in that it rapidly and easily deploys sites and email accounts for you.
In terms of migrating from Ensim to Plesk, the major issues we see are with scripts that have hard-coded paths. By default, Plesk uses a different path to the document root and lacks the security modes that Ensim has. As a result, scripts may require an update. So if you have a lot of complicated scripts, there could be a lot of post-migration tweaking to get things operational again.
I am actually glad this happened. We far prefer working with Plesk over Ensim or Cpanel because it works. Our clients have fewer operational issues, fewer email problems, and easier upgrade paths. SWSoft is on the road to build a robust SaaS framework that will be integrated into Plesk. Most of the clients that we have moved to Plesk from other panels are happy with the results.
So just like “Steam’s” hit, it is time to sing:
“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Ensim Goodbye”