One area where Open Source Railo should make a difference…

With the release of Railo 3.1 as an open source project, I can think of one area in particular where this is going to make a huge difference – hosting.

UK hosts seem to split into two camps (IMO), LAMP specialists, and then CF providers, often running Win2003/IIS/CF/MySQL/SQL server.

With UK hosting, there is a huge disparity between hosting for standard LAMP, and CF hosting: Not just price, but diskspace and bandwidth. You can pick up a linux PHP based VPS with 30GB webspace and about 300GB of bandwidth for a fraction of the price the equivalent would be with CF hosting: the reason is fairly obvious – CF licenses (and windows server licences) cost a lot – shared hosts in particular seem to cram a lot onto several larger servers to stretch the license as widely as possible (I’m not saying LAMP hosts don’t), so diskspace (in particular) is at a premium.

Previously I’ve considered getting a VPS, and simply buying a CF standard license, as generally speaking, that suits my freelance needs; but that extra £1000 odd is simply crippling, and makes the whole idea unuseable.

I run a lot of smaller sites, none of which could afford the CF outlay and rely heavily on shared hosting – the irony is, as they’re built in CF, they were initially quicker and thus cheaper to build.

I hope we’ll start to see Railo offered as another service alongside PHP: there’s now no reason *not* too, except the obvious maintence required for an additional service, and the potential hit to the server’s RAM in actually running it. Alternatively, this could all go the way of OBD or the smith project, but I hope not.

Whilst there are many sides to this argument, especially the effect on CFML as a language, this announcement is something I’m really rather pleased about overall – it gives many more sites the option of using CFML, especially those smaller ones which would otherwise have to go on PHP for budget reasons. Additionally, for higher education, running Railo should now be a no brainer – after all, it’s free, why not at least try it?

I’m now seriously considering consolidating all my hosting into a single linux VPS with PHP, Railo and MySQL. Being able to run Drupal and all my bespoke CF projects under the same roof is very appealing. Now all it takes is do some research into Railo properly, and check there aren’t any massive “gotchas”. Speaking of which, is there a good CF8 vs Railo 3.1 comparison out there anywhere yet?