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Invision Community v4 vs v5 and hosted vs cloud


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Hey, been a minute since I've been here. I've left my forum largely on auto pilot for the last two years and finally in a place to take the next step in the evolution of our community.

Apologies ahead of time for the noob questions but really not finding the answers by searching around. Reached out to sales and got a one sentence reply that wasn't especially helpful, so here I am. I will state ahead of time that spent a couple hours looking t all the blog / news entires regarding v5 and was blown away. It feels like in my absence, Invision has pulled past trying to compete toe to toe with social media on features and finally found their way towards developing a true alternative that might attract back members that were lost to social media. Anyhow, I'm impressed. Feels like some of the largest changes to forum systems like this one to happen in the last decade took place in this last year or two.

Questions:

1. It appears that v5 will not be made available for set hosted customers, but wanted to confirm that.

2. If so, I also assume that there's like an end of life plan for v4 and self hosted installs of Invision Community?

3. I assume that v5 is already out, but I'm not entirely sure of that since it appears this community isn't running on v5?

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Wondering if anyone on here running their own community has moved from self hosted v4 to the cloud based v5 (assuming it's available)? If so, what has the experience been like? How was scheduling and migration? How has the service been for you? How good has customer / technical support been for you?

Anyhow, the hosting packages appear pretty competitive when you factor in everything from license, storage and system resources, but I must admit that it makes me nervous giving up self hosting for SaaS type solutions. Just hoping for a few answers and some feedback before we make a final decision. 

Thank you in advance.

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11 minutes ago, superaven said:

1. It appears that v5 will not be made available for set hosted customers, but wanted to confirm that.

Where did you read that if I may ask? A.f.a.i.k. v5 will be available to everyone, regardless if they are using the cloud or another host.

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16 minutes ago, superaven said:

Hey, been a minute since I've been here. I've left my forum largely on auto pilot for the last two years and finally in a place to take the next step in the evolution of our community.

Apologies ahead of time for the noob questions but really not finding the answers by searching around. Reached out to sales and got a one sentence reply that wasn't especially helpful, so here I am. I will state ahead of time that spent a couple hours looking t all the blog / news entires regarding v5 and was blown away. It feels like in my absence, Invision has pulled past trying to compete toe to toe with social media on features and finally found their way towards developing a true alternative that might attract back members that were lost to social media. Anyhow, I'm impressed. Feels like some of the largest changes to forum systems like this one to happen in the last decade took place in this last year or two.

Questions:

1. It appears that v5 will not be made available for set hosted customers, but wanted to confirm that.

2. If so, I also assume that there's like an end of life plan for v4 and self hosted installs of Invision Community?

3. I assume that v5 is already out, but I'm not entirely sure of that since it appears this community isn't running on v5?

--------

Wondering if anyone on here running their own community has moved from self hosted v4 to the cloud based v5 (assuming it's available)? If so, what has the experience been like? How was scheduling and migration? How has the service been for you? How good has customer / technical support been for you?

Anyhow, the hosting packages appear pretty competitive when you factor in everything from license, storage and system resources, but I must admit that it makes me nervous giving up self hosting for SaaS type solutions. Just hoping for a few answers and some feedback before we make a final decision. 

Thank you in advance.

Hey Superaven. Welcome back to the fun! I also love the direction things are heading with Invision Community. I'll do my best to answer your questions, below, but in a slightly different order than asked 😁

  1. IC5 is still in development and not yet publicly available. It will be released this year, but may still be a few months away based on recent comments from management.
  2. There will be self-hosted and cloud plans for IC5. Some features will only be available on the Cloud plans
  3. Invision Community 4 will be supported until 2025/2026 according to the Depreciation Tracker.

I'm looking forward to everything in the pipeline as well. Glad you're here for the next step / (r)evolution 😎

Edited by FanClub Mike
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Invision Community version 5 is not out yet. It will be available for both Cloud and Self-hosted (note the license name has changed to "Classic" which may be confusing you). Version 4 will be still supported for a 1-2 years after the release of version 5. Just version 4 will not see many, if any, new features. We want to make that transition period as easy as possible.

20 minutes ago, superaven said:

me nervous giving up self hosting for SaaS type solutions.

Anything in particular making you nervous? Think the biggest improvement would be less to worry about. Don't have to do PHP upgrades, MySQL upgrades, etc... we handle that for you.

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Ah, that's all great news. Thank you @FanClub Mike and @Jim M for taking the time to respond. Indeed, I think the "classic" moniker might have thrown me off, but likewise, so much seems to have changed in this last two years.

Has pricing on the license to v5 been announced yet? I have the base system and commerce package and based off the blog stuff, was interested in gallery. Seems like its all rolled into one on v5, so I'd expect that license cost to reflect all the additions.

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1 minute ago, superaven said:

Has pricing on the license to v5 been announced yet? I have the base system and commerce package and based off the blog stuff, was interested in gallery. Seems like its all rolled into one on v5, so I'd expect that license cost to reflect all the additions.

Version 5 will require our new "Classic" license structure for use. The license will include all applications. The pricing is less than our previous license structure if you were to purchase all applications though. I can't seem to find the topic which there is a lot of discussion on this but essentially, this is our way of making self-hosting viable for the future. 

The Classic license is available in your Client Area already and you can upgrade your self-hosted license to it, if you desire. If you have had an active license with us, believe we even throw in a few extra months free as a thank you.

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One last question @Jim M , You mentioned converting a classic license to cloud hosting, as well as an incentive of a free month or two on that. Is there any issue if down the road to transfer a cloud license to self hosting?

 

Thanks again for the assistance.

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Marc Stridgen
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20 minutes ago, superaven said:

You mentioned converting a classic license to cloud hosting, as well as an incentive of a free month or two on that.

The extra free months are if you convert your current license (with only some applications) to a classic license (with all applications). If you click the Click here to change under the Change your license to new Invision Community Classic terms title, you'll get a summary of your situation and the free extra months. Clicking that button won't change anything just yet, you have to confirm again on the page that loads, and only after choosing either the month or year renewal option.

Be aware that after clicking the button it might take a while to load all your data to calculate the extra free months. (At least it took more than a minute when I did it).

 

20 minutes ago, superaven said:

Is there any issue if down the road to transfer a cloud license to self hosting?

There are no issues. I've helped several clients switch from cloud hosting to self-hosting. You can ask IPS to provide you with a backup of your data anytime, purchase the self-hosting (classic) license, and import the backup on your new hosting. 👍

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  • 4 weeks later...

I thought I'd follow up to this thread since I did indeed make the move to Invision Cloud services. Its took a bit longer than I had hoped, which was almost entirely my fault.

As feedback for Invision, it would be nice if after signing up, that there is a welcome message that specifically outlines the process and what to expect. Unsure if it was just me or if it's standard protocol, but I got an acknowledgment receipt and nothing else for the first day or two and then finally reached out to check in. After reaching out, I received the sort of introduction / overview I'd expect that summarized what I needed to do and some details about all the steps needed, as well as an introduction to the Invision Support member that would be helping me.

Once I knew what was going on, I took my forum offline so no new data would be added and created the backups they asked me for, in the format they needed it in. This took me a bit since to sort though since it was a ton of freakin data and I'm somewhat rusty on my CLI prompts, which was necessary in my situation. The Invision Support person was super helpful and very patient, after I blew one migration window after another trying to add storage to my hosting environment so I could create the backup (450+GB) and then prepare it in the way they needed it done (>50GB chunks). Once that was done, I had to download all that data, as well as upload it to an intermediary storage so they could then access and move to the Invision Cloud infrastructure, which took quite aq while for me to get done.

After I got the backups they asked for prepared and moved to the platform they needed, it all went surprisingly fast and from my point of view, appeared to be smooth and trouble free. I was concerned since my forum has data going back to 1999 and we've migrated forum system about a half dozen times since then. Also do to complications with my former host, my forum was woefully out of date and hadn't been updated in at least 2 - 3 years. Seems that wasn't an issue and they got my forum migrated and updated to the current stable release within hours or so of me passing along the backups. Soon after, I got some instructions on how to update DNS to point to my forums new home and a few minutes later, we were back online.

All in all a great experience, even if we were down a few days while I got my end together. So far the forum seems extra snappy and I haven't seen or been informed of any issues, so looks to have been a complete success. I am excited to now have our community hosted on a platform that is tailor made for the software and community we're running and all of it seems to be offered at a very competitive price. I did search around and did my homework and have done everything from running my own server / network to co-locating to running my own server instances wit5h AWS and Liniode through to managed hosting and virtual hosting. Time will tell if uptime is awesome and support is responsive, but so far, so good. I'd highly recommend it to anyone and everyone that's running an Invision Community.

That being said, a few suggestions for Invision from my humble point of view... As said in the start of this post, an auto response email along with the transaction confirmation (receipt) that has a welcome and clear explanation of what to do and expect is an obvious one. The instructions I received were pretty clear and complete, but perhaps a bit more insight and suggestion would be great. Perhaps better would be an auto degenerated DM message or link to a help desk or private thread so there's a running list of dialogue between a customer and Invision would be welcome. Its a scary thing to consider shutting down a community and moving it and the extra hand holding would probably be appreciated by anyone making the jump.

Additionally, using a browser based upload system to upload chunks of backups in 50GB pieces seems like a bad way to do this. It worked, but https seems like not the best protocol to handle sustained transfers of this size. I'm fairly certain that Invision has a reason for this, but it would have made a ton more sense (IMHO) to use SSH to tunnel between the source and destination and then setup a CLI based SFTP session or rsync to move all the data. It took me hours and hours to download and hours and hours more to upload, with the transfer failing several times before I managed to get it done. Granted I had 450GB+ worth of files and database, so maybe it's just that most migrations are less data. I can't imagine what a forum two, three or times the size of mine would be like with that system. I suppose the upside to doing hot this way is that I have a local copy of the backup as well. In any case, it all worked so ultimately this is more a question / suggestion than any type of criticism.

All in all, it was a solid experience and I remain pleased that I made the move. Hopefully it continues well and I'm really looking forward to putting more energy, focus and investment into our community and really excited to see what its like running our community on the upcoming v5 release.

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Thank you for providing your feedback there, it is always very much appreciated as we always want to make these experiences as smooth as possible. Very happy to have got you over 🙂 A couple of notes on the items you mention there

  • On the uploader, I had at one point offered to pull this from your server. However, this may have been better offered earlier in the process so I will note that for future 🙂 
     
  • On the communication on migration, I think the confusion here is in that you had purchased cloud and we have no way to really know if you want to migrate unless you let us know of this. I do concede however, that we could maybe make it clear that if you do want to migrate to us, to make contact.

 

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Hey @Marc Stridgen I wasn't sure if I should have mentioned that you were the super helpful tech that assisted! 😉

In regards to migration, I suppose you have a point that maybe many people are just starting from scratch. I hadn't considered that, but likewise, I was unaware that I'd need to ask, so lost a couple days waiting before reaching out.

All in all, my criticisms are more just general feedback than any real flaw. You were super patient and helpful throughout and it all went as smooth as can be, so thank you Marc and thanks to your team!

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