Ruby clouds: Engine Yard vs. Heroku

Engine Yard provides the most extensive control over the application environment, while Heroku makes life easier for developers

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Regardless of these platforms' initial target markets, both Engine Yard and Heroku now boast a healthy mix of small corporate clients all the way up to large entities. Accordingly, each has a strong community, drawn to the features unique to the respective platform. As Ryan McGeary, the founder of BusyConf and proponent of Heroku, states:

Heroku allows us to focus on our application without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. Our application is what matters most to us; the commodity hardware, not so much.

On the other hand, Keith Turner, the head of engineering at Natron Baxter and a strong supporter of Engine Yard, has this to say:

We wanted a hosting provider where the core technology stack was taken care of for us so we did not have to worry about installing and testing upgrades, security patches, basic configuration, etc. [Engine Yard] provides the capabilities for us to easily install and configure features that are not included in the core technology stack e.g. search, queuing features.

To put it simply, Heroku will appeal more to developers and Engine Yard will appeal to operations folks. Consequently, when evaluating the two platforms, one's choice usually comes down to what's more important: Heroku's rapid deployment via a hands-off infrastructure, or Engine Yard's total control over all aspects of application deployment, provisioning, and monitoring. For the full story, read the individual reviews:

InfoWorld review: Engine Yard Cloud

InfoWorld review: Heroku cloud application platform

Engine Yard and Heroku at a glance

 Engine Yard CloudHeroku
Language supportRuby, JRuby, PHP, Node.js (and any languages you choose to install yourself)Ruby, Java, Python, Node.js, Scala, Clojure
Database supportMySQL, PostgreSQLPostSQL (additional RDBMS and NoSQL databases available via third-party add-ons)
Third-party toolsSparse60-plus and growing
DocumentationExcellent (videos, webinars, etc.)Adequate (no videos)
Entry feeFree trial (500 hours)Free indefinitely
Base hardware specs1.7GB memory and 160GB storage512MB memory and 1MB storage (aka 1 dyno)
Scaling methodAdd more instance clustersIncrease dynos
Base hardware specs1.7GB memory and 160GB storage512MB memory and 1MB storage (aka 1 dyno)
Deployment styleCommand line tools, Web GUICommand line Git
AdministrationFine-grained control, command line and Web GUILimited options, command line only
Dashboard, reportingFeature-rich dashboardLimited
MonitoringMultiple options

Logging only

This article, "Ruby clouds: Engine Yard vs. Heroku," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in application development, Ruby on Rails and cloud computing at For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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