A friend and co-worker of mine, Tony Hillerson, was once scheduled to rebuild a backend system for a client of ours. His idea was to replace our tiny little PHP friend with a Heroku implementation. He described it as Rails on a cloud and I kept it in mind cause I loves me my Rails. Amiright?
About 8 months later, a customer project came about and I felt Rails would be the perfect solution for the services and web site he needed. (Full disclosure: it always is.) I decided to look into Heroku and, let me tell you, what a success the project has been!
Heroku, despite being a cloud service, is the most transparent cloud service imaginable. To use it, you simply create your rails project and then connect it to Heroku with a couple simple commands. Heroku dynamically generates a name for your site. Now, just push your site to Heroku and all of your migrations and restarts happen automatically! (Heroku is married to git in order to do this, which is fine, because I love git, too!) It’s truly magical. You get your web site on the cloud with no catches.
AND IT’S FREE! (YES, FREE!)
Well, OK, it’s free if you don’t need any extra power. Heroku uses the concepts of web dynos (processing power) and worker dynos (increased capacity). You can buy extras of these for $36. For $0, you still get good performance and, in the best interest of developers, you won’t have to pay anything while you’re building things out.
Once the project is over, you can leave it to the customer to decide if they want to increase the Heroku power behind their site. In my first case, there was no need. The site runs for free because the server needs are low. In other cases, a few dynos cost next to nothing but have a drastic effect.
Mmmmm, scaling…starting at free.
I’m certainly spoiled by Heroku. You should get spoiled, too. Give it a try!