With the Magento 1 End of Life coming up fast in June 2020, most Enterprise merchants feel like they’ll have to eat the cost of an expensive migration to Magento 2 or another platform no matter what.
When I wrote a post about the option to stay on Magento 1 I implied that Magento 1 Enterprise merchants have basically no option to migrate off Magento 1 Enterprise Edition by June 2020 because Magento, Inc will not support them after that date. And so while you technically could keep running Magento EE after that date, you’ll have to pay Magento for the license to use their code, but they won’t support you or provide you with security updates. So that really begs the question, what are you paying for?
So inevitably you feel like you’ll be forced to go through the pain and suffering of migrating to Magento 2 or another platform like Shopify. But when I was sitting down with the CTO of a company today who has a very custom Magento 1 EE website that would be massively expensive to migrate from a functionality and data perspective, I realized they have another option.
The Other Option
That option is migrating from Magento 1 Enterprise Edition to Magento 1 Community Edition.
Before you say, “But isn’t the Magento 1 Community Edition EOL date the same?” you should read my other post on that topic.
Migrating from Magento 1 EE to CE isn’t an insignificant task, but for a merchant that’s on Magento 1 EE, its orders of magnitude easier and cheaper than trying to migrate to a completely new platform like Magento 2 (which is a complete rewrite of Magento) or Shopify.
The technical reason that it’s so much easier is that Magento 1 CE and EE share a common core codebase and Magento 1 EE is functionally just Magento 1 CE with a couple of extensions developed and maintained by Magento, Inc. So most, if not all, of your custom code, extensions, and even your theme for Magento 1 EE will work exactly the same on CE.
The Migration Process
The main thing you have to consider is the Enterprise extensions like Gift Cards, Store Credit, and Full Page Caching that you’ll lose. But for every Enterprise feature, there are multiple extension vendors that have an equivalent or even better extension and the one time cost of those extensions pales in comparison to your yearly EE license fees.
There are two ways to do a Magento 1 EE to CE migration. The “easy” method and the harder “clean” method.
The Easy Migration
The “easy” method is taking your Magento 1 EE instance, literally deleting all the Enterprise Edition files, and then applying the equivalent Community Edition version files. This method requires you to do a couple of things like some database modifications to fix a couple of attributes that use Enterprise code and either reset everyone’s passwords because Magento EE has a different encryption method (maybe just to make these migrations more difficult) or that encryption method has been ported to a CE module so you won’t have to reset the passwords. This is less of a “migration” and more of really a downgrade. It definitely requires less work, but can leave you with a few quirks that you may have to work out later on.
The Clean Migration
The clean method is setting up a fresh Magento 1 CE install, applying all of your extensions and theme from your Magento 1 EE installation and then you’ll have to do a data migration to export/import products/customers/orders or any custom module data.
And with both of these methods, you’ll have to figure out how to manually migrate the data from EE extensions like Gift Cards and Store Credit to the new site, but that’s not terribly hard because the data in this modules is fairly simple.
The clean method is always preferred, but the effort and cost are considerably more than the dirty method. We prefer to do the clean method for clients, but we’ve also done the easy method with good results.
Your Prize For Migration
After this migration, you’ll lose Magento Enterprise support, but if you’ve been on Magento 1 EE for any substantial amount of time, you’re probably very aware of how terrible that support is. On the flip side, you’ll have saved $50,000+ by not attempting to migrate to an entirely new platform and you’ll have a brand new Magento 1 CE site that can be maintained/updated in perpetuity by whomever you choose because its open source. And the cherry on the top of the Magento 1 sundae is that you’ll also save yourself ~$20,000+/yr in Magento 1 Enterprise license fees.
If you’re interested in talking about a Magento 1 EE to CE migration, drop us a line:
Also published on Medium.