When it comes to public cloud offerings, few vendors can hold a candle to AWS and Microsoft Azure's dominance in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space. However, neither have offered much in terms of hybrid/private cloud platforms and tools—until now. OpenStack has long filled this void with its open source cloud computing platform, but Azure Stack's arrival may finally spell an end to its dominance in the category.
We’ve been comparing cloud service providers for years now, pitting Rackspace against Azure, Azure against DigitalOcean, DigitalOcean against Linode, and so on down the line to the point that we’re just plum sick of it. Just kidding! Who could ever tire of such a thing? Cloud computing invokes such a rush that it almost takes your mind off of poor, old, dead as an R/C helicopter Radio Shack. And as the cloud space is in constant flux, many of the previous comparisons could be a touch out of date. So we figured our options were either (a) mope around, morosely pondering the inevitability of death and everlasting irrelevance, or (b) hold a Battle Royale to determine the Best Cloud Computing Service for Now and At Least the Immediate Future!
When it comes to providing PaaS hosting solutions for Ruby development, Heroku and Engine Yard are the de facto leaders. And they both utilize Amazon’s EC2 as a hardware base. However, they also take different paths to get there – Heroku offers isolated slices of EC2 instances, called dynos, that offer very limited access to the underlying infrastructure. Engine Yard offers a curious PaaS-IaaS hybrid; you have much more access to the underlying VM, you get a full EC2 VM to work with, but at the same time you also get an ready-made environment for application development. Let’s peek under the hoods of both solutions.
Cloud computing is no longer the next big thing. As evidenced by all the cloud infrastructure and data centers now being set up by established players like Google with its AppEngine and Amazon with AWS, it is the current big thing. Into this mix are some smaller pioneers like Heroku, started all the way back in 2007 – in cloud computing that’s the late Jurassic period. Let’s compare two PaaS offerings, Heroku and Google’s AppEngine, and see what makes each of them tick.
With the increasing importance of cloud computing, services like Amazon’s EC2 on AWS and Heroku are coming under more scrutiny. Even better for the consumer, the increasing number of such services means more choice in the market. But with this increased choice comes an increased level of confusion, because it’s often difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the various services. Even worse, their offerings aren’t strictly in the same domains, but let’s take a stab at it.