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Abstracting Infrastructure: Heroku Integrates Memecached Service on EC2

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Abstracting Infrastructure: Heroku Integrates Memecached Service on EC2

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The Ruby-based Cloud Platform provider, Heroku, released a Memcached add-on that runs on Amazon EC2.  The new service uses NorthScale's Memcached server.  Developers can now use Heroku to deploy their applications with a performance-boosting Memcached service on top of a flexible cloud environment.  The add-on simplifies the complexities in dealing with Memcached and EC2 through Heroku's interface.

Heroku hosts more than 50k Ruby applications and has large-scale customers like Best Buy.  Along with a unique Dyno Grid layer, Heroku also features an extensible architecture that includes add-ons by New Relic (Ruby performance monitoring), Zerigo (Automated DNS management), and more.  Developers on Heroku had been howling for a Memcached add-on too, and Heroku had been planning to build its own.


The native Memcached add-on reached the beta stage a few months ago, but now Heroku has decided to scrap the project and use NorthScale's Memcached server.  NorthScale is no slouch when it comes to Memcached.  The startup has secured a number of developers who have worked on projects like Drizzle and MySQL.  NorthScale is currently the Memcached engine behind the popular Facebook games Farmville and Cafe World.

Heroku's Platform Architecture

Heroku says that over 300 applications have already started using the Memcached add-on.  NorthScale runs its Memcached distro on EC2, and API calls are sent between NorthScale and Heroku when users deploy Memcached.  No pre-defined schemas are needed in order to add more capacity or nodes in the cluster.  

Developers don't have to worry about setting up EC2 instances and performing other requirements.  Heroku provides a simple management interface for EC2 and an easy system for EC2 payment.  This add-on gives Heroku even more enterprise, web 2.0-scale appeal because Memcached is so good at handling dynamic data.

This service is supportive of Heroku's primary goal, which is to abstract infrastructure concerns away from the developers.  Ease of use has been a key to success for many cloud service providers, and this is also a key concern for Heroku's customers.

Images Credit: Heroku

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