Why Doesn't ColdFusion Have a Virtual Appliance?

My company is in the process of putting in a pretty large virtual environment and this got me thinking, why doesn't ColdFusion have a virtual appliance? I remembered Jim Priest had a blog post asking pretty much this same question earlier this year. ColdFusion 7 did not officially support virtualization so I didn't really expect to see Adobe come out with a ColdFusion appliance at the time. Now however, ColdFusion 8 now supports virtualization so I guess the next big hurdle would be the appliance OS. Any appliance would have to be on a supported OS and, as far as I know, ColdFusion doesn't support any free, redistributable OS. (I could be wrong here. For example, I know you can get Solaris for free, but I'm exactly sure how it is licensed.) Anyway, I'm sure there are tons of other legal and technical issues, but I would really like see a ColdFusion virtual appliance on the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace, or anywhere for that matter, so I hope someone at Adobe can figure this out...

Jim Priest's Gravatar I know someone from both Rocketboots and Jumpbox mentioned they were looking into creating something but I haven't followed up.
# Posted By Jim Priest | 12/5/07 10:49 PM
Nathan Mische's Gravatar @ Jim - I saw that in the comments to your post. While I'd love to see something from Rocketboots or Jumpbox, virtual appliances make is so easy to evaluate enterprise software it seems crazy to me that Adobe wouldn't want to work on this.
# Posted By Nathan Mische | 12/6/07 8:38 AM
Jim Priest's Gravatar Oh I agree :) It would be nice to see Adobe do something - but I'm not going to hold my breath. I wish I had more time to tinker with it :(
# Posted By Jim Priest | 12/6/07 8:52 AM
Tony Petruzzi's Gravatar First: You're wrong. ColdFusion can be used on a dozen of free open source oses out there. Now whether or not Adobe officially supports them is another story.

Second: ColdFusion isn't free, it costs money and license to run. With that said, you couldn't create a virtual app and bundle CF in it. At that point you're committing piracy.

Third: There are some free CF alternatives out there but none fit the bill. For instance, you could bundle the developer version of Adobe ColdFusion in the virtual app. Problem with this is that it's crippled and wouldn't be suited for a production environment, development yes, but production no, so what's the point. You could try to use and open source or free ColdFusion engine such as Smith or IgniteFusion however, Smith is way, way , way behind in tag and function support compared to Adobe CF and IgniteFusion only runs on Windows. You could try to bundle BlueDragon with it, but the free version is for non-profit and personal use only so again, not fit for production.

In short, the reason is because there is no easy remedy. With ever step in creating the virtual app you hit a road block based on support, compatibility and licensing.
# Posted By Tony Petruzzi | 12/6/07 11:21 AM
Jim Priest's Gravatar Well I can't speak for Nathan but my thought was any VM ColdFusion would be intended for just development/trial. Right now you have to go through quite a process to install CF but that could be made much easier with a VM install.

And Nathan did mention in his original post that CF does run on other OS's but they are unsupported by Adobe. Though I'd be happy if they released it with the caveat there is no support. CentOS is close enough to RHEL (which is supported I think) that I'd be happy.

And during the Air tour I did speak with Adam Lehman from Adobe and he thought it would be OK to use the Developer edition within a VM. Again if Adobe created and released it - then licensing issues would be mute.

This would just be one more thing to encourage people already not using CF to give it a try.
# Posted By Jim Priest | 12/6/07 11:31 AM
Nathan Mische's Gravatar @Tony - First, I never said ColdFusion wouldn't run on a free open source OS. The point I was trying to make was that if Adobe was to release a virtual appliance they would need to release it on a _supported_ OS. With the current lineup of supported OSs that could be tricky.

Second, what does ColdFusion's cost have to do with anything? There are plenty of application vendors who provide trial/evaluation VMs. And why couldn't the VM be configured with the Developer or Trial version of CF which could be then be deployed to production by purchasing a license?

Third, I haven't really worked with the other CF alternative to speak to them, but I'm really most interested in seeing is an Adobe supported VM that can be deployed in a production virtual environment.

I agree it is a challenge, but I don't think it is impossible.
# Posted By Nathan Mische | 12/6/07 1:02 PM
Nathan Mische's Gravatar @ Jim - What I'd really like to see is an Adobe supported VM that could be used for development/evaluation as well as deployed to production (with the purchase of necessary licenses of course.) Like you I see it as one less barrier to entry.
# Posted By Nathan Mische | 12/6/07 1:09 PM
Tim Gerla's Gravatar A ColdFusion virtual appliance is an excellent idea, especially for a technical evaluation and virtualization production environments. Adobe would be doing themselves a favor by supporting something like this, since it would lower the evaluation and adoption cost. By shipping a virtual appliance, they'd effectively have complete control over the appliance operating system and the certification and and compatibility problems would essentially disappear.

My company, rPath, has a complete platform for the development and maintenance of virtual appliances, and I think it would be a good platform for Adobe to use. It would probably be worthwhile contacting Adobe sales and mentioning that you are interested in the virtual appliance form-factor.

Tim Gerla
Field Engineer
rPath, Inc. (http://www.rpath.com/)
# Posted By Tim Gerla | 12/6/07 2:12 PM
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