Why ColdFusion 2021 Might Be Your Off-Ramp from Adobe ColdFusion

Back in the mid-90s, a company named Allaire built a little dynasty within the web development community by introducing ColdFusion. Delivered as an affordable, easy-to-implement application server, ColdFusion included a familiar tag-based programming language (CFML) that enabled data-driven web applications. The roots of Webapper’s expertise in web application development go back to those early days (version 1.6!). Over twenty years later, with ColdFusion being in the hands of Adobe for fifteen of them, Adobe has announced the release of ColdFusion 2021 (2.5 years since the last major release), which may delight some, but will most likely drive many loyal users away. As painful as it can be, we present the case for why we think ColdFusion 2021 might be an off-ramp from Adobe ColdFusion.

Adobe ColdFusion 2021 Licensing Costs

At the top of the list is of reasons to shelve ColdFusion is the licensing costs. Adobe has clearly decided to milk the top of the market – government and enterprise customers who are heavily embedded in ColdFusion – by maintaining an antiquated licensing model. We laugh when we hear these 90s pricing models mentioned in the realm of modern cloud computing. They just don’t fit.

Adobe ColdFusion 2021 is sold in two forms: the Standard Edition is $2,499 for two cores, and the Enterprise Edition is $9,499 for two cores.
ColdFusion Standard 2021 is designed for applications with moderate traffic on a single server. ColdFusion Enterprise 2021 is designed for higher volume applications in a clustered or virtualized environment. Since cloud pricing is based on the number of cores, licenses can quickly escalate. A typical cloud environment has way more than two.

ColdFusion 2021 Isn’t True Cloud Computing

Microservices reflect a critical software trend with profound implications on enterprise IT. Taking a monolithic architecture to microservices represents a fundamental shift in how IT approaches software development. By its very nature, Adobe ColdFusion is a monolithic architecture, with a central application environment. As such, putting ColdFusion in the cloud isn’t true cloud computing. Yes, it resides in a cloud environment, but it’s not leveraging the best options of the cloud. ColdFusion 2021 represents Adobe’s first attempt at adapting the product to the cloud. There are definitely ‘transitional’ features that begin to leverage cloud architecture. The question becomes whether it’s worth continuing investment in the monolith or transitioning to a native cloud platform.

The Shrinking CFML Talent Pool

One of the challenges of using older technologies is the shrinking number of developers. We receive resumes from veteran CFML developers who have nowhere to go. It’s a shrinking job market, and although 20 years of experience sounds tempting, the salaries are commensurate. It’s hard for us to say it, but we are ultra-selective, and it’s hard to find versatile, experienced, affordable ColdFusion talent. Contrast the CFML gurus with the Python gurus… We find the upper end of the Python developer salary range to be near the floor of the ColdFusion range. And it’s a growing pool – Python is the second most popular programming language in 2020.

The Adobe ColdFusion 2021 Off-Ramp Decision

If you’re on a road trip and your fuel starts getting low, you look for “the best exit” — one that will address multiple issues like affordable gas, clean restrooms, decent food, and easy on/off access. Similarly, you should consider how to exit ColdFusion. Is there a way to transition easily, without running up exorbitant bills, that keeps your operation going for the long haul? Having a cloud partner who understands the options helps. You could take a number of paths.

  • Stay with Adobe ColdFusion (status quo)
  • Switch from Adobe ColdFusion to Lucee (changing course slightly)
  • Rewrite portions of the application as cloud native (minimize ACF expenses)
  • Rewrite the entire application as cloud native (most divergent)

We at Webapper understand all these options, and we understand that not one road works for everyone. We recommend discussing your options both internally and with cloud specialists externally. Having knowledge of ColdFusion is paramount in those external discussions, though, in order to provide a reasonable, realistic roadmap. The most important reason is that if there are elements to repurpose, you’ll save time and money. Ultimately, you need to make your Adobe ColdFusion 2021 off-ramp decision – stay on the same road or take one of the alternative routes.

If you have additional questions about cloud migration or our cost optimization on AWS, please contact us.

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