Node-inspired development environments and cloud platforms are rapidly remaking the Web application stackFollow @peterwayner
Node.js tools: Heroku
The Heroku cloud is another to embrace Node with both arms. Heroku also hosts Java, Scala, Clojure, Python, and Ruby, although Node seems the most ideal for Heroku's approach, which is to put your process in a "Web dyno." This is sort of like a virtual machine, but with a better name that avoids any confusion with a real machine. You choose how many dynos you want, and the virtual stack will spin them up.
It's probably not fair to focus too much on Node when talking about Heroku because the most impressive aspect of the Heroku cloud is the sheer variety of features. There's a big collection of add-on services that range from databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, MongoDB) to connections to APIs (Twitter, Amazon). It's a big ecosystem that's getting bigger, and Node is just a part of it.
Node.js tools: Joyent Cloud
Node creator Ryan Dahl works at Joyent, which would probably be sufficient endorsement of the company for many people. But as they say in the television ad game, "Wait, there's more." Joyent is building out its own cloud for hosting Node applications (and other software), pricing the machines by the hour just like everyone else these days.
Joyent offers free development machines for those who want to try out the platform. Just go to no.de, a domain name Joyent bought to show its commitment. Joyent also sells SmartMachines if you want to get an IP address and hang up a shingle in the DNS tables. The "smart" here refers to the flexible structure of the virtualization, which Joyent says makes more RAM and more CPU cycles available to the instances. To back this up, the company offers benchmarks that suggest you get 5 times more CPU computations, 14 times more disk I/O, and 3 times more memory I/O than a similarly priced machine in Amazon's EC2 stack. Naturally, your mileage may vary.
Most newcomers will start and stop their Joyent machines through the Web interface, which offers slick real-time graphs of the loads. If you want to automate the process, there's a JSON-driven API that can handle the configuration through a script.
The machines let you deploy your code via Git, the repository-based version-control mechanism that's becoming more and more standard. If you push your version of server.js, Joyent will do the rest. If you need root access, you can log in with an SSH key, but it's not clear to me that you'll ever need to. It helps to be familiar with Solaris because the Joyent SmartOS is based on this venerable tool. If you don't want a SmartOS machine, you can choose from Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, and Windows. The premier database is MongoDB, the latest favorite for Node users, but Riak and MySQL machines are also ready to run.
Node.js tools: Microsoft Windows Azure
Microsoft took one look at Node.js and obviously was smitten. Redmond put it to work immediately, giving it a place of honor in the Azure cloud alongside .Net, Java, and PHP. If you want Microsoft to host your Node server in their cloud, it will charge you by the minute at competitive rates. It's all ready.