May 4, 2022
Comparing Adobe ColdFusion Enterprise API Manager to 3rd Party Options
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May 4, 2022
Comparing Adobe ColdFusion Enterprise API Manager to 3rd Party Options
ColdFusion developer for 20+ years, professional experience in 10 other languages & frameworks. Artist, nerd, Jeep enthusiast.
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One of the big myths about ColdFusion Enterprise is how “expensive” it is. Now, it could be argued that any programming language that costs more than $0 is “expensive”, as generally languages are free to use.

But, of course, Adobe ColdFusion isn’t “just” a language. It is an entire ecosystem of functionality, including an incredibly useful administrator, performance monitoring toolkit and (if you use Enterprise), the API Manager.

Many folks have covered the fantastic features of the API Manager, but what is talked about less is what someone might use instead of API Manager. I’m going to look at a few common 3rd party tools and compare the costs.

* Just because it will likely come up, yes, pricing for Enterprise can be… a touch confusing. I’m just rolling with the cost being $9499 per license. That’s the listed price & I’m just hand-waving it in place, in order to compare to the site-listed prices for the Azure & AWS products.

OK with that out of the way, let’s look at what some of the competition looks like.

Starting with Azure. Azure offers a fully cloud based, API management tooling that, essentially, does what our API Manager tool does: allow you to connect, secure, throttle and provision API endpoints from your code. Being a cloud-based tool, in this case the costs are set up on a per-hour basis. I’m going to try to compare apples to apples here, as there are multiple “levels” of the Azure tool available, but as the Adobe Enterprise product is designed for enterprise use and scale, we’ll compare that.

So the Azure API Manager’s cost for their enterprise scale product (called “premium”) is $3.83/hour. With 8736 hours per year, that’s going to come out to (deep breath) $33458 per year. Even at their “standard” tier (a significantly lower capability/scale/bandwidth offering) the cost is $.95 or $8299.20. Per year. Ouch.

Let’s keep in mind, also, that the base cost for Adobe ColdFusion Enterprise Edition ALSO includes the language engine, the administrator, the PDF engine, the performance monitoring tool AND the API Manager.

What about AWS though? Well, things get a bit more complicated here. The answer to “how much does it cost?” is “how scaled is your site?”. Unlike Azure’s “per hour” model, AWS does their pricing based on API requests. Prices also change depending on your location. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say we base out of US East (the cheapest area). The first 333 million cost $3.50 per million requests, the next 333 million cost $2.80 per million, and so on. So… how many API calls does your website make? With microservices based architectures… probably a lot. And as it grows, so does your cost. The pricing example given at AWS is for a dynamically generated website, of fair complexity it seems, which is fairly popular. Their cost is $418/month to handle 432 million requests a month. So, estimating that cost stays consistent year round, that’s just over $5000 per year to manage your APIs for your web app through AWS API Gateway.

Also, just to make this more apples to apples, if you wanted to use the AWS AMI to run your Adobe CF per-hour, your costs would be $.50 per hour + AWS usage fees (which of course vary based on your machine image selected) which comes out to $4368 per year, less than the AWS estimated costs for using just their API Gateway product.

If you’re already using ColdFusion Enterprise to build your scaled out microservices based applications, you’ve got API manager included in your license cost. And if you’re not using it yet… today is a good day to start!

1 Comment
2022-05-11 16:12:20
2022-05-11 16:12:20

Thanks for the post, Mark. Great points, and a perspective that many never seem to consider.

For the sake of folks who may be motivated to look into the API Manager more, note that there was a blog post here in the portal last year highlighting several webinars (and their recordings) on using the API Manager.

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