Comparative pricing

Whenever possible Red Hat includes a price comparison section in competitive reviews. Since Pivotal does not make product pricing available to the public, we were unable to provide a comparison here.

How Red Hat compared IBM prices

JBoss EAP subscription entitlements can be used on-premise or in the cloud. IBM does not offer the same flexibility and requires customers to separately obtain entitlements for use on-premise and in the cloud. However, IBM does support using WebSphere Application Server and WebSphere Liberty Profile on-premise and deployed using Docker images with standard IBM PVU based entitlements. Therefore, Red Hat performed the price comparisons in this paper using IBM PVU pricing for on-premise usage of the product. The IBM list price in effect April 26, 2016 was used. Intel-based dual-socket servers rated at 70 PVUs per core and 16 cores total are assumed for the physical hardware profile. Because first-year IBM subscription and support costs are included in a software license, a two-year cost comparison is used to account for both IBM licenses and ongoing subscription and support costs.

The IBM PVU license metric is meant to align license requirements with hardware performance. IBM PVU calculations are based on processor vendor, brand, model number, and maximum sockets per server. For RISC and System z servers, IBM finely segments the possible PVU metric value combinations, which can lead to complex pricing.

Until around May 2015, the same was true for Intel-based servers. Modern Intel processor-based server models were historically rated by IBM at 100-120 PVUs per core, with all but the most advanced servers seen in production landing in the 100-PVUs-per-core rating. Recent changes made by IBM now make the number of sockets in an Intel-based server the major factor used to determine the PVU rating per core. This holds true for all Intel Xeon processors starting with the 3400 series that debuted in late 2009 through the current E7 series. Today, IBM rates nearly all Intel based servers with two sockets at 70 PVUs per core, four sockets at 100 PVU per core, and greater than four sockets at 120 PVU per core.

If the server hardware you use for deployments varies from the dual-socket, Intel-based server Red Hat chose to use as a baseline for comparison, your costs will vary from what is presented in this document. If you use a hardware profile with a 100 or 120 PVU per core rating, you can increase the IBM costs presented in the document by 30-70%.

Using the formula “[core count] * 70* [price per PVU]” for IBM products, we calculated the following results for two-year price comparisons using the hardware profile described in the previous section:

  • A JBoss EAP subscription is 69% less ($55,000) than WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile bundled with IBM WebSphere Application Server
  • A JBoss EAP subscription is 91% less ($272,000) than WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile bundled with IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment

IBM WebSphere Application Server – Express pricing was not compared because IBM license terms and conditions limit deployment of that product to a maximum of 480 PVUs per server. This effectively caps usage to six cores per server when sized at 70 PVUs per core. JBoss EAP has no sizing constraints outside of the total cores a subscriber has chosen to subscribe to.

IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core was not compared because it does not offer Java EE full platform support like JBoss EAP provides.

If you already have already invested in IBM WebSphere Application Server or IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment, you may be concerned about the ongoing annual cost of IBM subscription and support. In the second year and thereafter, IBM subscription and support is calculated at 20% of license cost. Using the same hardware profile used earlier, eliminating license costs, and only comparing annual recurring costs, a JBoss EAP annual subscription can still be significantly less than annual IBM subscription and support charges. Specifically:

  • A JBoss EAP annual subscription offers more functionality than IBM WebSphere Application Server, despite costing nearly 9% less ($1200) than just IBM subscription and support.
  • A JBoss EAP annual subscription can be 75% less ($37,000) the cost of IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment subscription and support.

How Red Hat compared Oracle prices

Purchasing Oracle WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition means there are two charges in the first year–one for software licensing and another for software update license and support fees. Red Hat performed the price comparisons in this paper using Oracle public  pricing for the products specified in effect April 28, 2016. Intel-based dual-socket servers rated at 0.5 per core and 16 cores total are assumed for the physical hardware profile.

First-year Oracle license costs for each product are calculated by multiplying 16 (cores) X 0.5 (core factor) X [product price]. Each ongoing year of Oracle software update license and support fees is calculated at 22% of license cost. Using the aforementioned pricing criteria, we calculated the following price comparisons using the hardware profile described in the previous section:

  • A JBoss EAP annual subscription is $12,000 for a 16-cores with premium support. That is 95% ($232,000) less than Oracle WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition.
  • Compared just to Oracle ongoing support costs, an annual 16-core JBoss EAP with premium support is 73% less ($32,000) than Oracle WebLogic Server Enterprise Edition.

If you have already invested in Oracle WebLogic Server, you may be concerned about the ongoing annual cost of an Oracle support. In the first year and thereafter, Oracle support is calculated at 22% of license cost. Using the same hardware profile used earlier, eliminating license costs, and only comparing annual recurring costs, a Red Hat JBoss EAP annual subscription can still be significantly less than annual Oracle support charges. Specifically a JBoss EAP annual subscription can be 73% less the cost of WebLogic support.

For companies considering the WebLogic Server Multitenant option, an additional $20,000 per Oracle processor licensed for WebLogic Server must be added, plus the 20% annual support costs. Existing WebLogic customers will also need to pay these additional costs to add WebLogic Server Multitenant option to existing deployment. Such customers may find it difficult to expand existing application footprints by roughly 70% to justify the added costs.

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