When to use Overleaf On-Premises vs in the Cloud
Wait, Overleaf has an on-premises solution?
Yes! Overleaf started as and continues to be the industry-leading cloud-based authoring tool for LaTeX, but back in 2017 when we joined forces with ShareLaTeX, we introduced the on-premises solution called Server Pro. Server Pro is the perfect fit for those customers who need a collaborative authoring system that can be maintained within their own firewalls.
What are the differences between Overleaf on-premises and Overleaf cloud-based (SaaS) options? Read on to find out! You can also view our features and benefits page to see a summary.
With Overleaf, working with large complex documents is no longer a daunting task. We now have a process for developing technical documentation which has virtually eliminated the time required to properly format and layout documents, allowing us to focus on the creation of the technical content
So what comes with Server Pro On-Premises?
Server Pro on-premises is a locally-installed collaborative LaTeX environment purpose-built for secure collaboration. It allows you to increase internal collaboration while keeping your data exactly where you need it, within your own organization’s firewalls.
Server Pro on-premises provides the following key benefits for your organization:
- The full power of collaborative LaTeX: With Server Pro on-premises you have access to Overleaf’s collaborative authoring environment, built-in template management system, a secure compile environment, and an administration panel.
- Track changes and project history: Server Pro on-premises provides users with access to our intuitive track changes, commenting and project history service, making it easy to see who changed what, and when.
- You host your data: When you need to take even more control over exactly where your data is hosted, Server Pro on-premises lets you ensure that an extra level of security is in place.
- Easy administration: As part of the setup process you’ll create an administrator account to manage your installation, users and documents.
- Single sign-on system: Server Pro on-premises will seamlessly integrate with your Single Sign-On system. We currently support LDAP and SAML.
What do your IT staff need to know?
We recommend that you first download our open-source, on-premises Community Edition solution, which can be freely self-installed (see https://github.com/overleaf/overleaf for details). Installing the Community Edition solution will allow your organization to test the installation process and setup prior to purchasing the feature-rich Server Pro on-premises solution.
Once you have our Community Edition installed, it’s easy to get set up with Server Pro. Server Pro comes as a docker container and is a drop-in replacement for the Community Edition - setup can usually be done within a week. Once the administrator at your organisation has set up Server Pro, using Overleaf on-premises is very similar to our cloud-based solution, providing the convenience of an easy-to-use LaTeX editor with real-time collaboration and the fully compiled output produced automatically in the background as you type.
Server Pro is charged on an annual per-seat licensing basis, and if it sounds like it’s a good fit for your team, please get in touch for a demo and pricing.
What should we consider when deciding between Overleaf on-premises and Overleaf in the Cloud?
As discussed above, Server Pro on-premises is perfect for those organisations that need Overleaf to operate within their own firewalls. Our cloud-based solution is typically a better fit for those organizations that would prefer not to manage and maintain their own deployment.
For example, we work with a lot of universities and education institutions for whom the cloud-based version is the preferred solution. You can see a list of over 120 institutions worldwide who are providing Overleaf Commons (our SaaS-based institutional service) to their members.
Key advantages of Overleaf in the Cloud:
- Easy External Collaboration: Many of our customers will collaborate on projects with people and organizations across the globe. Overleaf’s cloud-based solution allows users to collaborate with anyone, anywhere; where an on-premises solution requires collaborators to all have access to the Server Pro installation, most times behind a firewall. Overleaf’s cloud-based users simply need to have access to the internet to join and collaborate on projects.
- Third-Party Integrations: Overleaf’s cloud-based platform has many integrations with third-party providers. Users can easily link third-party services such as Git, GitHub, and Dropbox; and reference managers such as Mendeley and Zotero.
- Quick & Easy Set-Up and Automatic Maintenance: As mentioned above, it’s fairly straightforward to get set up with Server Pro and can typically be set up quickly, however our cloud-based solution for Group and Individual subscriptions are available instantly once you have made payment. In addition, Overleaf’s cloud-based solution provides your users with access to a state-of-the-art LaTeX installation—but without any of the management overhead.
- Industry-standard data security and persistence: Our cloud-based solution provides industry-standard data security and persistence, and continuously backs up data.
- Cost-Effective: Overleaf’s cloud-based solution has a number of pricing options to suit your needs - spanning small group subscriptions up to an organization-wide roll-out. You can quickly get set up with a group subscription here, refer to our pricing and plans page for individual licenses, or get in touch for larger organizational roll-out options.
Overleaf is available as a cloud-based or on-premises solution, both are great options depending on your requirements. We’d be delighted to answer any questions, provide suggestions for your requirements, show you a demo and present pricing - so please feel free to reach out to us!