Jun 18 2010

$*^%! Developers Don't Care About The Total Cost Of Ownership

Posted by Mike Brunt at 9:15 AM

Terry Ryan, just posted an open letter to the development community about ColdFusion.  I felt compelled to comment on it and wanted to repost that here...

"Thanks Terry for putting together this "letter" and I would like to add a couple of things. There is no doubt in my mind that the total cost of ownership (TCO) for ColdFusion applications is substantially less than most if not all other languages; the issue is that most developers do not care at all about that aspect. This is an issue because most of the criticism about ColdFusion comes from developers. Those who do assess TCO are the business managers and that is why, 15 years on, companies still buy ColdFusion and yes it is not free and yes it was not killed off by Microsoft, as was Netscape and many others. The reason, because it is a great language/framework or whatever term is used to describe it. My second point and another criticism often leveled at ColdFusion is that it does not scale, that is absolute and arrant nonsense and I speak from authority, having spent the past 11 years of my working life designing, engineering and deploying large ColdFusion applications around the world. On the weekend of the Indy500, 4 ColdFusion servers handled a peak traffic load of 48,500 concurrent users and did not "bat an eyelid" and I am not exaggerating, that is 48,500 concurrent users, I just want to repeat that. ColdFusion will survive and prosper because in a free market economy it is eminently marketable and exceptionally good."


Jason Dean

Jason Dean wrote on 06/18/10 9:45 AM


I agree that in large organizations, like the one I work in, the developers don't really care about the TCO of the technology they use. In those cases what you say is absolutely true. But I, for one, want developers to get out of the mindset that ColdFusion(CFML) is only for big, enterprise businesses that care about things like TCO.

Many other the internet's most exciting websites are started in the garages and basements of very bright, young developers who do choose their technology based on their budget and do not consider TCO.

I think it is important to spread the message to those would be developers that even though ColdFusion costs money upfront, that for them it may be worth it in the long run.

Or even for the one-man shop who thinks that every penny needs to be pinched, they are the manager AND the developer. They certainly care about TCO, even if they don't really know that they care about it. We need to get the message to them as well.

A lot of the criticism CF gets is from lone-developers who think that the only good software is Free/Open Source software and that just isn't true. And while I believe they are entitled to chose whichever tools they like, I certainly think it is worthwhile to show them that ColdFusion is a good choice for many organizations, even if not for them, and that there is no good reason for them to dismiss it as a viable technology.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 06/18/10 9:51 AM

@Jason, thank you for your comments and you absolutely make great points here. No doubt I made my comments from the point of view of enterprise environments because that is where I spend most of my working life but yes, we need the start-ups and the like to chose ColdFusion also; for their own sakes.
Pete Freitag

Pete Freitag wrote on 06/18/10 9:53 AM

I think you should have repeated that stat a third time "48,500 concurrent users" on 4 ColdFusion servers!

Nice work Mike!

David wrote on 06/18/10 1:15 PM

Mike - great post. I agree that developers don't care about TCO, but they should. Traditional "development" is dead. We (here in America/Europe) cannot compete globally as "developer". We need to package ourselves as solutions providers.

And if we're not a part of the solution, we'll be outsourced.


David wrote on 06/18/10 3:57 PM

Also, Mike, I think we'd all love a more detailed write up, if you ever get a chance. Servers, versions, load stats, etc.

Duncan Isaksen-Loxton

Duncan Isaksen-Loxton wrote on 06/18/10 5:11 PM

Great post Mike, and may I throw in a piece from a non corporate:

We are a small web dev company in Sydney Australia and have been using ColdFusion for years. My business partners are always asking about when and if we should move away from CF. The biggest reason cited is that there are far less developers available in the market than PHP or .NET developers.

Regardless of that they know that the TOC is less than other languages in pure licensing and tooling costs.

Most business leaders are not from programming backgrounds so have no idea that a CF dev can code something up in half the time, if not more, than a Java or PHP developer. This is also a part of the equation that I regularly put out there to push CF.

I am exceptionally impressed with the stats for CF 4 servers. That should be written up in some sort of CF bible of legends.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 06/18/10 10:05 PM

@Pete, thanks and yes CF scales well.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 06/18/10 10:08 PM

@Michael, thank you very much for your comment and yes proprietary software is not evil.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 06/19/10 7:26 AM

@David thanks for your comment and you make a very valid point about how development practices and locations are changing. The infrastructure was "the CF Web Servers were Windows 2008 64-bit Server with 12GB RAM, CF9 64-bit Standard with 6GB Ram dedicated to the JVM. The SQL Servers 2008 64-bit Standard 24GB RAM SQL Server pegged to use no more than 20GB. Clustering device F5 Big IP. NIC connection from CF-web servers to SQL Servers at 1GBPS".
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 06/19/10 7:29 AM

@Duncan, thanks for your insights about the shop where you work. I hope one day to create a whitepaper about how we got to the infrastructure that handled the 48,500 concurrent request because I believe that if our methodology was followed this could be repeated many times.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 06/19/10 7:31 AM

Oh and one more point to all, load-testing was a big part of successfully sizing the infrastructure mentioned above.
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And if we're not a part of the solution, we'll be outsourced.

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Mail wrote on 11/12/15 2:37 AM

Regardless of that they know that the TOC is less than other languages in pure licensing and tooling costs.