InfoWorld review: Heroku cloud application platform

Heroku pairs rapid application deployment with a wealth of developer tools, but is light on manageability

Heroku is a pure platform as a service -- that is, the entire infrastructure is managed by Heroku and not by you. As such, deploying a Ruby application, whether or not it is Rails based, is practically effortless. Deployment, in fact, is performed as a part of a regular SCM (software configuration management) sync via Git, an innovative, freely available, and quite popular distributed source code management system pioneered by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux.

Via Heroku's tight Git integration, there are no extra steps to publish code live. A developer simply executes a Git push of committed code to a Heroku repository, and the platform takes care of the rest, from downloading required dependencies (via Bundler) to scaling out the target application per the application's setting.

Scalability in Heroku is achieved via the platform's notion of dynos and workers, which are computing resource units. The more dynos or workers, the greater the number of incoming requests the application can handle simultaneously. Lastly, Heroku's price point is easy: An application with one dyno is free. You incur a price only when you add computing resourcing, such as extra dynos.

Heroku: One dyno for free
Heroku makes it easy to deploy a live application at no cost. There is no fee to deploy a Rails application, for example, that uses PostgreSQL. In fact, free applications receive 5MB of space within a live, shared PostgreSQL instance. An upgrade to 20GB of space will cost $15 per month. Certain business domains or requirements may prohibit storing data in a shared environment; accordingly, Heroku also offers dedicated instances of PostgreSQL. You can choose from six tiered levels that vary by resource allocation (memory footprint, simultaneous connections, and so on) ranging in monthly fees from $200 all the way up to $6,400.

Applications initially deployed to Heroku receive one dyno and no worker dynos. (Worker dynos handle asynchronous background jobs for an application such as sending emails or processing long requests.) Additional dynos beyond the free dyno cost 5 cents per hour. Thus, to run an application that uses two dynos and the freely available 5MB of database space will run $35 per month.

Test Center Scorecard
  30% 30% 20% 10% 10%  
Heroku 9 6 8 5 8



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