Heroku vs AWS: Which Cloud Platform is Best For Your Product?

Cloud computing is becoming more popular, and several cloud providers are in the market. Heroku and AWS are two well-known cloud companies specializing in rapid app development. We’ll learn more about Heroku and AWS in this section, including the major differences.

What is Heroku?

Heroku is a popular platform as a service(PaaS) offering that lets you deploy, scale, and maintain applications quickly with various programming languages, including Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, and Node.js. Heroku uses virtual containers called Dynos to execute the apps. James Lindenbaum, Adam Wiggins, and Orion Henry designed the prototype of Heroku in six months. Later it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010. Heroku bills you depending on the number of virtual machines required for your app. Some of Heroku’s popular applications are Cambly, Citrix, and Spaces. 

Dyno is a virtual Linux container used to deploy and scale Heroku apps depending on the user instructions. Dyno is a collection of resources like memory and CPU and application code and dependencies.

Advantages of using Heroku

  1. Free to start: You can get started with Heroku’s free tier, which has certain limitations and basic features. But it is a good idea to get started and build simple cloud apps. This helps you to understand the Heroku platform and its capabilities. 
  2. Scalability: Once the application has been deployed, you can create multiple copies of it; this process is called horizontal scaling. You can handle the surge in traffic with horizontal scaling. Heroku’s auto-scaling functionality enables it to detect traffic surges and launch extra Dynos as needed.
  3. Security: Heroku is a part of Salesforce, a big name in the software industry. Developers can build and launch apps in a secured environment. Heroku offers the highest degree of protection for servers and application code. 
  4. Plugins and third-party support: The Heroku ecosystem includes a collection of plugins and add-ons that are useful for developers in building, deploying, and managing the applications. 

What is AWS?

AWS is a web-based platform by Amazon that offers cost-effective, secure, and scalable cloud computing solutions. It provides several services in different domains, including – compute, storage, database, Networking, Migration, IoT, DevOps, Big Data, ML, and AI. 

AWS is the most widely used cloud platform in the world. It operates on a pay-as-you-go pricing model, dominates the public cloud industry with more than 30 percent share in 190 countries, and provides 170+ services to thousands of clients like Netflix, Samsung, GE, and Slack.

Advantages of using AWS

  1. Variety of services: AWS was primarily designed for storage and compute services, but with time it has grown to 170+ services from simple storage and Machine learning and Quantum computing. It includes services in different domains, including database, mobile, web, analytics, computing, networking, security, etc. You can think of it as a one-stop solution for all IT needs. 
  2. Scaling: Scaling a running application in high traffic is difficult if you have an on-premises infrastructure. AWS assures that you can scale up and down your application anytime with minimum effort.
  3. Easy to use: It is easy to get started with AWS. You can sign up from the official website and choose between a free tier and paid account. The AWS management console is very user-friendly compared to other cloud providers. In addition, there are thousands of tutorials and videos on the internet to help you. 

    Heroku vs AWS: Main Difference

    The main difference between Heroku and AWS is their size and scalability. Heroku is an excellent choice for a person or a small team and AWS is ideal for mid and large-sized enterprises.

    However, deployment can be a little expensive, depending on your application requirements and traffic. It is advised to use AWS when you need more control over your application with flexibility, low cost, and robust security.

    You need DevOps resources to manage the infrastructure, which incurs the extra expenditure. Setting up the appropriate infrastructure on AWS might take many months.

    Heroku vs AWS: Ease Of Use

    Heroku is popular as it is easy to deploy applications with it. The work needed to get the application operating on Heroku is as little as a few lines of code and a few git commands, with no previous infrastructure configuration.

    It does not need high technical expertise to get started. However, anyone with tech background can quickly get started with Heroku. There is excellent documentation with step-by-step tutorials for most of the popular languages.

    Heroku automates many aspects of environment setup, including server and operating system. Also, it is simple to monitor, manage and scale an application with Heroku.

    The best part about AWS is that all the 200+ services are thoroughly documented and have training for different scenarios, including step-by-step tutorials. Also, the AWS management console, which allows you to access all the AWS services, is highly user-friendly.

    Compared to Heroku, AWS requires more effort in application management and deployment with EC2. Also, you need someone who can monitor the resources.

    Heroku vs AWS: Community

    Heroku has become popular lately in the app development niche. Users can build and deploy highly scalable and secure applications with it in no time. According to StackOverflow data, developers’ interest in Heroku peaked after 2010-13 years, then stayed constant until a fresh surge of interest in 2020.

    The community is not as strong as AWS, but it continuously grows. AWS is a big name in the market regarding cloud computing, thanks to a diverse range of services. Thousands of sites, from minor to big ones, are currently using AWS.

    There is a large developer community, many publications and tutorials published around AWS, and a steady rise in popularity.

    Heroku vs AWS: Deployment

    The reason behind Heroku’s popularity is rapid app deployment. It is a PaaS platform, so your app has a ready-to-use environment. It will take hardly 30 minutes to deploy an app with Heroku.

    Deploying an app on Heroku usually takes less than 30 minutes. This is also one of the cons of Heroku; it offers a pre-configured environment which results in less flexibility and less control of the application environment.

    On the other hand, deploying an application with AWS is relatively complicated compared to Heroku. It will take a significant amount of expertise and time to build and deploy an app with AWS. Although, AWS offers more control and flexibility with the app environment.

    Heroku vs AWS: Pricing

    Heroku offers four different plans based on your app. They also offer a free plan to non-commercial users with 550-1000 dyno hours/month. Further, A 512MB RAM dyno costs $25/month(0.034$ per hour), whereas the most powerful dyno costs $500/month (0.694$ per hour).  AWS offers a free tier with most of the applications.

    You can sign up for the portal and start using the services. The free tier comes with a restriction on all the services, and in case of more requirements, you can upgrade your plan. In addition, it offers a free 750 hours of free computation capacity with EC2 instances every month.

    Further, the EC2 instance charges range between $3/month for a 512MB RAM instance to $39312/month for a 6144GiB Ram instance. So you have multiple options when it comes to choosing an instance.

    Heroku vs AWS: Complete Comparison Overview

    Heroku AWS
    Owner Salesforce Amazon
    Hosted on AWS servers Proprietary servers laaS (Amazon EC2 instances)
    Type of Services PaaS PaaS, SaaS, IaaS
    Supported Languages / Platforms It supports Java, Ruby, PHP, Node.js, Python, Go, Scala, Clojure It supports NET, Ruby, PHP, NodeJS, Go, Docker, Python
    Best for Medium and Large Businesses,
    Medium and Large Businesses
    Used By Accenture, Toyota, Product Hunt, Westfield, etc. Airbnb, SAP, Pfizer, Sony, Atlassian, etc.
    Built-in Tools for management Heroku CLI AWS CLI
    Complexity Recommended for beginners Recommended for professional developers
    It costs $0.05 per hour Starter plan cost around $0.013 per hour

    Wrapping up

    Deploying applications with Heroku is more straightforward, but it provides less control and flexibility over the infrastructure. AWS offers a lot of freedom, but managing the computing infrastructure takes time and highly qualified skills.

    You can choose AWS if you want to have complete control over the application environment; you need more than 14GB of RAM dynos and auto-scaling.

    On the other hand, you can choose Heroku if you do not want to handle the computer environment and you want to deploy your application quickly. Also, Heroku is way more expensive than AWS. 

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