Liferay Vs. Websphere: Total Cost of Ownership Examined

Why is Liferay accelerating in the Gartner magic quadrant and why are so many medium to large enterprises continuing to adopt open source products? Has open source software now become the preferred choice for enterprises? According to a Black Duck Software report, over half of all enterprises will utilize or contribute to open source in some manner in 2015.

This series of Infographics will provide a side by side comparison of Liferay Vs. Websphere, examining different aspects of the Liferay and IBM portal products.  The Infographic below, the first of the series, examines the total cost of ownership.

Liferay Portal Vs. Websphere Portal: Total Cost of Ownership Examined


  • Liferay Portal is a single product that provides the complete functionality without the need for any additional cost.
  • Over 70 out of the box portlets plus additional portlets are available through its marketplace. 3rd party portals and extensions are also available.
  • Liferay provides:
    • Liferay Social enhanced integrated collaboration
    • Liferay Sync
    • …at no additional cost to Liferay Portal customers.
  • Core products provide the following capabilities:
    • Content Management
    • Document Management
    • Full Collaboration Suite
    • Workflow Engine
  • Leveraging out of the box functionality can dramatically reduce development investments and accelerate time to market, while providing the core portal capabilities.
  • Liferay enables organizations to leverage existing infrastructure and open source, or lower cost options. There is an extensive list of supported operating systems, application services, database, caching and indexing appliances. Liferay does not lock you into a vendor
  • Commercial and Enterprise offerings of open source products continue to grow in the market place. The difference between traditional enterprise offerings and open source offerings are becoming narrower. Significant cost savings can be achieved by leveraging lower cost application servers. Database alternatives will only be further multiplied in deployments and architectures that support high availability and disaster recovering.
  • Liferay’s core products are based on its open source variant and rely heavily on open source libraries.


  • WebSphere Portal Family consists of 3 main products:
  1. WebSphere Portal Server is the base portal. This does not include collaboration or content management capability. WebSphere Portal Express is targeted at small to midsize businesses and has limits on the numbers of users.
  2. WebSphere Portal Enabled, which contains integrated Web Content Management capabilities.
  3. WebSphere Portal Extend, which contains additional collaboration features in additional to Web Content Management.
  • Licensing cost is significantly higher in the majority of WebSphere deployments due to its Processor Value Unit (PVU) pricing vs. Liferay’s Server and JVM base pricing, which allows organizations to take advantage of today’s multi-core processors without incurring additional costs.
  • WebSphere Portal Extend, which is IBM’s most feature rich portal product, is double the price of its base Portal server PVU cost, and is feature for feature most comparable against Liferay’s single platform.
  • WebSphere has a much more limited list of deployment options and is primarily limited to IBM infrastructure products such as IBM zOS, IBM application server, IBM DB2 and Oracle products, such as oracle dataset.
  • WebSphere Portal is tightly coupled with WebSphere Application Server and RAD, and has a more limited support for databases outside of IBM DB2, which limits enterprise flexibility and increases TCO.
  • Although IBM portal product is a closed product, at its core it relies heavily on open source libraries, so the “open source” factor is not as big of a factor.