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Spyros Doulgeridis has great experience in JavaEE development, both backend and front end, in big, demanding and complex projects. Always willing to learn more and share his experiences through his blogs: adfhowto.blogspot.com (Oracle ADF/Weblogic oriented) , sdoulger.blogspot.com (Software development and more). Spyros is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 5 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Cost of Ownership Analysis: Oracle WebLogic Server vs. JBoss

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A very interesting whitepaper by Crimson Consulting Group comparing the cost of ownership between Weblogic and JBoss. Although JBoss is free, the whitepaper has serious claims that on the long run Weblogic is cheaper. Although, this study was sponsored by Oracle, it seems to be very serious and definitely is worthy of a look.

Below some interesting parts from the whitepaper:

JBoss costs more than WebLogic Server after 2 years and as much as 35% more over 5 years.

Key Takeaways
  • JBoss is 35% more costly than WebLogic Server over 5 years, despite its free license.
  • Oracle WebLogic Server becomes less expensive on a TCO basis within two years from acquisition – an advantage that continues to grow with every year of operation.
  • Software licensing is a small portion of the total cost of ownership; people costs in operations drive the bulk of long-term costs.
  • Other issues, such as performance, time-to-value, and customized infrastructure, can have a significant impact on the overall business ROI of an application server deployment.

 Figure 1 illustrates how small the initial costs of Acquisition and Implementation are with respect to the total 5-year costs of an application server deployment. The savings created by not paying for a software license are more than offset by having to invest in employees and consultants for implementation, development of custom scripts and utilities, configuring and testing other open source components, and managing and monitoring the JBoss environment.

Description of Cost Categories Included in Research and Analysis
Description Acquisition This category includes the hard costs for purchase of the application server software and for the hardware platform(s) to run it.
This category includes the labor costs for implementation, installation, configuration, and testing of the application servers and the related infrastructure. Ongoing Application Deployment & Testing Costs This category includes the ongoing labor costs for deploying custom applications from test and staging environments to production environments. It also includes the ongoing interoperability testing and periodic testing for new releases and updates to the application servers and other infrastructure components.
Ongoing Vendor Support Costs
This category includes the hard costs for annual subscription support or maintenance agreements for the application server software, as well as for any additional software required. Ongoing Administration & Management Costs This category includes the ongoing labor costs to configure, manage, and maintain the application servers and the related infrastructure.
Ongoing Monitoring, Diagnostics, & Tuning Costs
This category includes the ongoing labor costs to monitor, tune, and optimize the application servers. Other Cost Considerations This category includes cost considerations identified in the study but not necessarily included in the cost of ownership model. This includes the cost of unplanned downtime, time to market, and backward compatibility considerations.

Table 3 outlines the pro forma costs for a typical application server deployment, consisting of 5 server hosts (server blades with two dual-core processors each), running an average of 4 application server instances per host (one instance per core). The acquisition and on-going costs in Table 3 reflect current list prices for hardware, software and support, less an average discount of 25%, while the people costs for implementation, deployment, testing, administration, and management are based on the results of Crimson’s primary research and resulting cost model.

Table 4 shows the total costs of implementing, configuring, and customizing the two application servers. Key takeaways are:
  • JBoss implementation costs more than twice as much as WebLogic Server implementation.
  • By the end of the implementation phase, the cost of JBoss (inclusive of acquisition cost) is within 33% of the cost of WebLogic Server and operations haven’t started yet.
  • Though we haven’t tried to quantify the business cost of the delay in time-to-value associated with an extra 8.5 weeks of effort, it could clearly be substantial.

Check the whitepaper for more like Ongoing Operations which involve:
  • Application Deployment and Infrastructure Testing Costs
  • Application Server Administration, Management, Monitoring, and Tuning Costs
  • Monitoring, Diagnostics, and Tuning Costs.

  • “Out-of-the-box” configuration and implementation tools are more mature, robust, and efficient for WebLogic Server than for JBoss, with the result that time-to-value is faster, the customization needs lower, and the costs lesser than with JBoss.
  • Similarly, out-of-the-box administration, management, and tuning tools have been through as many development cycles as the core software and are consequently more complete and more productive than their equivalents in the JBoss environment.
  • Oracle takes on the responsibilities and costs of maintaining performance and backwards-integration as the software evolves; users of JBoss take on those responsibilities for themselves.
All these factors combine, with additional software-specific performance issues, to give a very different picture of the total cost of ownership in comparison to the initial acquisition costs. In fact, Crimson’s analysis indicates Oracle WebLogic Server becomes less expensive on a TCO basis within two years from acquisition – an advantage that continues to grow with every year of operation. Over a 3-to-5 year time horizon, the TCO of Red Hat JBoss becomes as much as 35 percent more than WebLogic Server, in spite of its lower acquisition cost.
Published at DZone with permission of Spyros Doulgeridis, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Laurent Cohen replied on Mon, 2012/04/02 - 9:35am

Here's what the cover page in the white paper says:

"This study was sponsored by Oracle but was designed and executed by Crimson Consulting Group as an independent, analytical evaluation with research participants screened to include comparable experience with deployments of both Oracle WebLogic Server and RedHat JBoss application servers."

That's what I was expeting after reading this article, as it seemed a little too obviously (at least to me) biased towards Weblogic. Come on guys, ever heard of subtlety?

Jonathan Fisher replied on Mon, 2012/04/02 - 11:14am

BS, lies and damned lies. I saw a TCO study that told us WebSphere was cheaper than "risky open source alternatives like JBoss and GlassFish." Everyone who actually has run WebSphere would tell you otherwise. These studies are harping on fears for the previous generation of "big enterprise" CIO/CTOs. They don't understand the open source paradigm, and likely fear it, as it would likely invalidate a lot of their experience and opinions. Since people resist change naturally, this study was designed to fuel that (while selling WebLogic). 

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