Adobe’s been working hard to keep CFML relevant for modern developers, and the recent release of official Docker images for ColdFusion 2018 would seem like another step in this direction. But their licensing model for container (read:Docker) usage is, shall we say, unfortunate. And this is likely going to prevent Adobe ColdFusion from ever becoming a primary option for applications that use Docker or other container-based deployments.
Here’s the language from Adobe’s website (which uses the same language for both Enterprise and Standard licences):
Q: How do I license ColdFusion on containerized deployments?
A: Every containerized deployment needs to be licensed as per the ColdFusion End User Licensing Agreement (EULA). For instance, if ColdFusion is being deployed on two containers on a single VM instance, then both containers running ColdFusion will have to be licensed separately as per the ColdFusion EULA based on that VM instance being used.
So, according to Adobe, you need a separate license for every Docker instance. That’s crazy!
Let’s take a look at an example with a fairly simple architecture; your CFML-based web application runs a load-balanced deployment with two Docker instances. (That’s 2 licenses right there, friend). During the busy season you scale up with another two instances. (2 more licenses, please!). And for your monthly reporting, you spin up another Docker instance so you don’t bog down your main app server instances with a bunch of spreadsheet and PDF generation (that’ll be yet another license!).
So for our fairly simple example application, you’d need to purchase 5 separate ColdFusion licenses. If you purchase new licenses (not upgrades), you’ll pay between $12,495 for ColdFusion Standard (at $2,499 list) and $47,495 for ColdFusion Enterprise (at $9,499 list). That’s a lot of money. Imagine what larger, more complex CFML Docker deployments are going to cost!
Another common scenario would be that you have an existing server with 5 sites running on it, with two load-balanced servers, and you want to convert this from a physical server setup to a Docker environment. A typical Docker deployment for these 5 sites would include a single Docker instance for each site. Maintaining a load-balanced architecture in Docker means you’d go from 2 ColdFusion licenses to 10 ColdFusion licenses for the same number of sites.
But what’s the licensing cost if you use Lucee? (Here are few hints: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing). Lucee is Docker-friendly in tons of ways, from technical features to deployment options, and most certainly when it comes to licensing.
Containers are the way of the future (and really, the present) for application deployment. Adobe’s shot themselves in the foot with their outdated licensing concept for Adobe ColdFusion again. If you’re not already using Lucee, here’s yet another great reason to consider a switch.
About Rasia: Rasia helps organizations migrate existing projects and launch new ones in Lucee, and we provide ongoing support to ensure our clients get the most out of their Lucee-powered websites and applications. If you’re considering a move to Lucee, or are interested in professional support for your use of Lucee, let’s talk! Email us at email@example.com, or fill out our contact form.