Monday, August 20, 2018

ColdFusion in the Cloud

Something you need to consider once you've decided you want to use ColdFusion as your platform for building your business is how you'll set it all up. There was a time when it was a pretty straightforward decision because you had limited options.  Basically, you could buy a hardware server and install ColdFusion behind a web server using a license you bought from Adobe.  Otherwise, if you found a reliable CF host, you could go that route and leave the maintenance to someone else. As with any IT solution, there are a lot more details involved, but I'm sure you get the idea.  Your business relied on investing in and maintaining your data center or hoping the host you chose knew what they were doing when trouble came to town.

These days, you have many more options with how to set up your ColdFusion environment for efficient use of resources, reliable up-time and security.  That isn't to say that all of these will come cheap, but what's nice is that you can be in control of the costs as much as you want...down to the second.  While you can still buy your servers and install your own CF apps, it is nice to have choices.  The best option these days for the right balance of price and reliability is the cloud. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Platform, Digital Ocean, etc are all options that let you do things like set up a VPS or host Docker containers that have your applications built in.


A VPS is a virtual private server.  It's basically a virtual machine that is segmented for your use from a cloud provider.  It's like a full server, but you don't have to worry about the details of a hardware based machine.  Depending on what sort of managed approach you take, you may still have to be the one who worries about updates, security and data archiving, but at least you're not having to call on some poor, overworked soul at 1am to come in and change a failed hard drive only to find out no one backed it up since three failures ago.

With ColdFusion, you can install it just like it's on your own physical machine.  You can use the Adobe ColdFusion installation package or the Lucee installation option.  Depending on the OS, you can set up CF behind a web server and you're ready to start.  That may mean handling all the configurations, but other than hardware, you have the same level of control as you would get with  your own box.


The latest option for the modern CF enthusiast is using containers.  Usually, this will mean a Docker container with your CF application image built in.  While Docker is pretty much a VM approach as well, it's done in a way that you can put all the components you need into a virtual box (a container) and Docker takes care of letting your application interact with the system on which it's hosted.  It's like putting your fish tank on a shelf.  You supply the fish you care about and put them into a standard fish take and put it on the shelf to be admired.  You don't care about the shelf it sits on because it's the fish that matter.  The same goes for you application.  This means you focus your time where you really want and make sure you can innovate as quickly as you need to.

In Conclusion

These are just two options you can look into that are readily available in the cloud.  With many companies already well established on these platforms, you can be sure that you're not dealing with untested technology.  As a startup, you need to get going and get going quickly.  ColdFusion is just one quick option to get started, but also deploying on to an environment where everything is built as you need and you control the cost is just another quick step toward success.

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