The Most Trusted MQTT Platform for loV and Connected Cars →

From Basics to Brilliance: Exploring EMQX Open Source vs. Enterprise Edition

Apr 25, 2024
From Basics to Brilliance: Exploring EMQX Open Source vs. Enterprise Edition


In the dynamic world of the Internet of Things (IoT), the significance of MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) as an efficient and lightweight communication protocol is increasingly paramount. With the proliferation of IoT applications, the need for a robust MQTT broker to ensure seamless and reliable data exchange between devices is more critical than ever. EMQX stands out as a significant force in the field.

EMQX is a scalable, distributed MQTT messaging platform that supports unlimited connections, offers seamless integration, and can be deployed anywhere. It provides five distinct editions to cater to the varied requirements of users:

  • EMQX Serverless: A multi-tenant MQTT service with pay-as-you-go pricing and auto-scaling features.
  • EMQX Dedicated: A single-tenant MQTT service with capacity-based pricing, offering advanced settings and expert support.
  • EMQX BYOC: Allows hosting EMQX clusters on your own cloud, fully managed by the EMQ team with advanced options.
  • EMQX Enterprise: A self-managed EMQX Cluster, deployable anywhere to handle enterprise-grade workloads.
  • EMQX Open Source: A community-supported open-source MQTT broker.

This blog explores the distinctions between EMQX Enterprise and Open Source editions, highlighting their respective capabilities and offerings to help you identify the most suitable option for your IoT business.

EMQX Open Source Edition Overview

Introduced in 2012 as emqttd (Erlang MQTT Broker) and available under the Apache version 2.0 license, EMQX was developed using Erlang/OTP, a language known for creating scalable soft real-time systems. It has evolved to be the most scalable open-source MQTT broker, widely embraced in IoT, IIoT, and connected vehicle applications.

Key features that distinguish EMQX as an exemplary MQTT broker for IoT data messaging include:

  • Device Connectivity: Supports connecting up to 100 million IoT devices using the MQTT protocol within a single EMQX cluster.
    • MQTT 5.0 Support: Fully compatible with MQTT v5.0 and v3.1.1 protocol specifications.
    • MQTT over QUIC: Supports the next-generation standard IoT protocol with capabilities of stream multiplexing and 0-RTT.
    • Multi-Protocol Support: Offers comprehensive protocol support including MQTT-SN, STOMP, LwM2M/CoAP through the extended gateway.
    • Modbus & OPC UA: Facilitates connection to a variety of industrial devices using over 80 industrial protocols via NeuronEX integration.
  • Security & Authentication: Ensures secure communication with MQTT through TLS, and authenticates clients using JWT, PSK, and X.509 certificate mechanisms.
    • MQTT over TLS: Establishes secure MQTT connections and encrypts data using TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3.
    • Authentication: Supports diverse authentication mechanisms including username/password, JWT, PSK, and X.509 certificates.
    • Access Control: Utilizes ACLs to finely control client-to-topic publish/subscribe actions.
  • Pub/Sub Messaging: Facilitates flexible communication patterns such as one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-one.
    • Reliable Delivery: Offers three QoS Levels: 0 - at most once, 1 - at least once, 2 - exactly once
    • Shared Subscriptions: Enables load balancing across MQTT clients for efficient data consumption.
    • Request/Response: Supports a request/response pattern within MQTT for command and control operations.
    • Retained Messages: Keeps the last message of a topic for quick retrieval by subscribers.
  • Data Processing: Allows real-time processing of MQTT messages with a built-in rule engine, flow designer, and streaming engine.
    • Rule Engine: Uses a SQL-based rule engine to enrich, filter, and transform MQTT messages in real-time.
    • Flow Designer: Integrates MQTT data with various systems using a low/no-code visual flow editor.
  • Distributed Clustering: Supports up to 23 node clusters with a core-replica architecture for high availability and scalability.
  • Data Integration: Limited data integration (compared to Enterprise), seamless integration of data into external data systems:
    • Webhooks: Integrates with cloud services and applications through webhooks.
    • MQTT Bridges: Bridges and forwards messages to other MQTT brokers both locally and remotely.
  • Management & Monitoring: Provides management capabilities through the HTTP API, CLI, and Dashboard. Offers monitoring via Prometheus, Grafana, OpenTelemetry, and integration with third-party services like Datadog.
    • HTTP API
    • CLIs
    • Dashboard
    • Prometheus and Grafana
    • Open Telemetry (metrics, logs, & traces)
    • Datadog
  • Flexible Extension Mechanism: Supports extension of functions and access to more protocols using Erlang and any other programming language(C/C++, Java, JavaScript, .NET, Go, Python, etc.).
  • Running Everywhere: Can be deployed using Docker, Kubernetes, and Terraform across public clouds, on-premises environments, and edge devices.

Why Choose EMQX Enterprise over the Open Source Edition

EMQX Enterprise is not merely an extension of the Open Source edition; it significantly surpasses it by incorporating advanced capabilities, heightened security measures, and dedicated support services.

EMQX Enterprise

The choice between EMQX Open Source and EMQX Enterprise hinges on various critical factors that could greatly influence the success of your business. Here are the reasons why EMQX Enterprise is the superior choice:

  • More Data Integrations

    EMQX Enterprise offers a wider range of data system integrations compared to the Open Source edition. With over 40 formal/native integrations, you can quickly and reliably integrate MQTT messages with your technology stack to unlock the value of the data. This saves valuable time, resources, and costs that would otherwise be spent on developing these integrations from scratch.

  • Enterprise Security

    In today's digital landscape, security is of utmost importance. EMQX Enterprise enhances your data security posture with robust security features like Single Sign-On (SSO), Audit Logs, and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). These features ensure comprehensive data protection, adherence to compliance standards, and streamlined access control mechanisms, thereby mitigating security risks.

  • High Scalability & Reliability

    EMQX Enterprise is designed to meet the demands of growing workloads while maintaining operational continuity and delivering consistent performance, even under challenging conditions. Features like Geo-replication for distributed data management and Node Evacuation with automatic rebalancing for optimized resource utilization and fault tolerance highlight its advanced scalability and reliability.

  • Advance Features

    Although the Open Source edition already offers a wide range of powerful features that facilitate IoT business development, EMQX Enterprise is even more versatile. The file transfer feature enables users to share large payloads via one protocol with ease, simplifying the development process. Through built-in session persistence, EMQX Enterprise ensures reliable data storage and retrieval, facilitating data durability and persistence across IoT and messaging applications. Message codec and validation can ensure the data is parsed and managed in a correct and standardized manner. These are all crucial for maintaining data integrity and quality, supporting analytics, and enabling efficient data processing workflows.

  • Dedicated Support & Customized Services

    A significant advantage of EMQX Enterprise is the access to dedicated support services. This offers round-the-clock assistance through various channels, including phone and email, supported by our Customer Success team. Such personalized support ensures faster issue resolution, minimized downtime, and an enhanced user experience, ultimately reducing operational risks and maximizing your system's uptime and performance. Besides, the Enterprise edition offers customized development services to meet specific requirements for authentication methods, access protocols, and data integration, enabling customers to build a tailored IoT infrastructure.

  • All-in-One IoT Solution

    EMQX Enterprise can be seamlessly integrated with NeuronEX and HStream to build all-in-one IoT solutions for various industries, providing capabilities from data collection and transmission to processing and analysis.

While the Open Source Edition provides a robust foundation for IoT connectivity, reliance solely on the Open Source edition might lead to slower issue resolution times, prolonged outages, reputational risks, unsatisfactory user experiences, and potential loss of operational revenue—particularly for mission-critical applications in industries such as automotive, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Choosing EMQX Enterprise over the Open Source Edition is more than a decision about features; it’s about ensuring that your IoT infrastructure is scalable, reliable, and backed by a team of experts committed to your success. Beyond just resolving technical issues, this support includes strategic advice and optimizations that can significantly enhance operational efficiency and the capacity for innovation.

Ultimately, the choice between EMQX Open Source and EMQX Enterprise hinges on your organization's specific needs, the critical nature of your IoT applications, and your long-term objectives for digital transformation. Although EMQX Enterprise may involve initial costs, these are minor compared to the potential losses from downtime and operational disruptions. Investing in EMQX Enterprise ensures not only superior performance and security but also peace of mind, operational efficiency, and a competitive advantage in today's dynamic business environment.

Use Cases: Why Industries are Adopting EMQX Enterprise

Upgrade to Enterprise Edition from Open Source

Transitioning from EMQX Open Source to EMQX Enterprise is not only possible but also seamless. Both editions adhere strictly to the MQTT protocol, ensuring uninterrupted communication between clients and servers even when switching versions.

EMQX Enterprise builds upon the foundation of Open Source, offering a comprehensive array of advanced features. Despite the enhanced capabilities of the Enterprise edition, it maintains compatibility with the fundamental features and data structures of the Open Source version. This compatibility ensures that configurations and data can be smoothly migrated from Open Source to Enterprise without significant hurdles.

Moreover, EMQX simplifies the migration process through its user-friendly tools and methods. By leveraging EMQX's built-in import/export utilities, transferring data and configurations from Open Source to Enterprise becomes a straightforward task, requiring minimal additional effort. This streamlined migration path underscores EMQX's commitment to providing a seamless experience for users upgrading to the Enterprise edition.


To summarize, the distinctions between EMQX Open Source and EMQX Enterprise editions are clear, each offering unique benefits tailored to different tailored to different operational needs and strategic goals.

While the Open Source version lays a solid foundation for IoT connectivity, the Enterprise version elevates this with comprehensive support, advanced features, and a focus on security and reliability. For businesses aiming to scale their IoT solutions and ensure the highest levels of reliability and performance, EMQX Enterprise represents the logical choice.

We're offering a limited-time trial of the EMQX Platform, providing a perfect opportunity to explore the advanced capabilities and support services that EMQX Enterprise can offer your IoT infrastructure. We encourage you to take advantage of this offer to see how EMQX can revolutionize your IoT data management and integration strategies, ensuring your IoT ecosystem is prepared for the challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow.

Talk to an Expert
Contact Us →