Choose the right PaaS provider
Here are my notes I have collected from reviewing
PaaS providers to
support the Play2 framework. Its very raw, subjective, and work in
progress but you can learn something from my research so far. The bottom
line is that Amazon and Heroku are the clear winners. If you are very
technical and enjoy complete control over your environment and database
management, you will love Amazon EC2. If you are not very technical or
don't want to worry about any of the details, use Heroku with
confidence. Each of the other services had things I was uncomfortable
with, but the rate things are changing, this wont be the case for very
Here are the details:
of the best looking sites with complete integrations to 3rd parties.
RUN side is priced so high I think they want to keep people just
testing on the free level.
- Supports autoscaling (http://wiki.cloudbees.com/bin/view/RUN/Autoscaling+explained)
- ssl available at a cost
- Lots of interesting
gets positive mentions on the net but pricing page is difficult to
understand. Pricing appears to boil down to $70 per 512m of ram per
- Seems to support play2 https://github.com/mchv/play2-on-dotcloud
preview only. Not production ready by any means. If you are just
testing things out though, go for it. I was using openshift for a while
and enjoyed it being free to test out but keep in mind it is just a
- diy app play uses does not support scaling
yet and who knows when it will.
service for me went up and down randomly for a few minutes every few
hours (my app running fine through the outage but their proxys must get
rebooted alot or something) I ran a broken link checker and believe they
restrict load to 10 requests/sec (https://openshift.redhat.com/community/developers/scaling)
and drop the rest. Lots of requests never make it to my server so don't
run anything you want a bot like google to spider.
is testworthy only. I was getting 4 requests per second where on a
comparable test on EC2 I get 40. jelastic
- Gets alot of positive
mentions. no pure play2 support yet so I stopped looking further.
use war though and with the latest servlet version it may not be so bad
to use war. Appears to have a good value scaling solution and worth
looking into for a hobby level user.
- Highest quality site and experience.
scaling is true distributed apps rather than just giving you more cpu
power. Gets the most positive mentions for production ready service and
- cost is 0.05 hr, prorated to the second...about the
cost of on demand amazon small. one dyno appears to be equivalent to
amazon small according to the forums http://www.smashingboxes.com/heroku-vs-amazon-web-services/
- lowest database is $50 a month but you can use cleardb and
at first but not so bad once you learn it.
- Lots of forums
describing how to do anything you could think of.
- Really is
more of an Infrastructure As A Service rather than PaaS.
security setup, complete low latency integration with everything you
initially seems expensive but paying reserve instance price makes it
pretty reasonable to maintain expected levels and just autoscale on
demand for unexpected.
- ELB serves blank page
when all instances down (https://forums.aws.amazon.com/thread.jspa?threadID=72363)
- Note that I don't think any other PaaS supports custom error
pages but I expected more.
doesn't support PUT/POST so you cant run whole site in front of it.
Very intimidating and confusing at first. (Very easy once you learn it.)
- Elasticache is cool idea but way too expensive. I will just
run my own couchbase memcached cluster. Feels very expensive at first
but you gotta ignore the on demand price and just pay for a year. Its
reasonable when you do reserved.
- Use on demand for testing.
Just paying a few cents to test on identical servers as your own is very
cool. Price Notes: Cost On Demand server small is 0.08 per hour.
58.56/mo db small 0.1 per hour $77/mo Cost Reserved 1 Year server small
0.039/hr $28.55 per month db small $40 per month Amazon lets you buy
unused cpu power for really cheap. Could run jobs overnight with much
more power for cheap.
to amazon. Lower prices, higher performance servers, great support.
Best choice if you ONLY need some great servers and are very technical
or willing to pay for managed servers (+$100 a month). Word on the
street is that their support is awesome. Cost Basic server 512MB
- Basic database 512M ram 0.06hr (43.80/mo)
couldn't bring myself to even try them out once I tried out amazons
integrated security and firewall settings and read that Rackspace has
nothing like it yet.
- need to do all the linux image security
yourself I hear which is off putting for those not inclined to be sys
direct autoscaling supported but it is possible with 3rd party
integrations I hear Database options Database most pass provide is
shared, limited to just 10 connections, etc unless you pay lots.
having trouble exporting my database, blackbox DB scares me. There seem
to be only 2 real choices out there if you use cloud db: clearDB
clearDB is hosted in EC2 & Rackspace but only available through PaaS
partner at reasonable prices so you cant use it direct through EC2. I
would highly recommend paying the $10 a month and using this instead of
any free PaaS database though so you can try out different PaaS
providers against the same database. It is a minor pain moving database
around. xeround Very interesting NoSQL database with MySQL compatible
front end. Apparently scales up much better than RDS at high demand.
Cost for basic ec2 & heroku $17 a month rackspace $33 (8MB/s up to
40 connections) Cost for production level service is like $70 a gig per
month which is just too expensive for very small revenue company with
lots of data. Would be ideal for someone with little data though.
Although they claim mysql compatibility, they don't enforce fk and dont
allow you to do some modify column commands and its not very clear so
Some relative performance comparison of
"free" tier in requests per second:
- AppFog on AWS 11
on Rackspace 17
- Openshift 4 AWS micro standalone 40
micro with loadbalancer 75 (ELB must have some sort of caching for
providers offer a memcached integration and there exists a memcached
plugin for play2 which works great. So you will probably be using it no
matter who you use. Makes it so I can deploy my release without fear of
clearing out all my ehcache which would make my micro rds cry when
google comes along and cdn happened to expire. If using EC2, Couchbase
has a memcached compatible server that is very easy to roll out on
amazon. The running server gives you lots of stats and is very easy to
Works great with play2 plugin. http://www.couchbase.com/memcached
has the most impressive offering by far. So much so that I feel the
depth I reviewed forums for the multitude of secret "gotchas" of all the
others was a waste of my time. (Besides Heroku which is pretty solid if
you don't care about cost or international.) With Amazon, it is so easy
to start up a totally secured linux instance, customize it exactly the
way you like it with your own logging software etc, and then create a
template of it you can start/stop/scale at any server size you wish
around the world. The interfaces are intimidating at first but once you
learn it you can't go back to black box PaaS. All the other PaaS look
really nice at first but the magic fades quickly once you realize the
hand you were holding becomes a big brick wall between you and your app,
and the 3rd party integrations they offer are all you can use and they
are not really enterprise grade or the best out there, your performance
is heavily throttled so that you pay more money, you have no access to
customize/tune your server environment and very limited access to your
application logs, can be very hard to debug when something goes wrong,
there are lots of little things you realize they don't support like
showing you your application load over time/ custom error pages, true
instances scaling vs just more cpu, complete provider downtime where you
are just screwed, when there are problems you have to wait for their
support to help you. Most paas rely on 3rd party NewRelic for
application monitoring which is not supported in play2 yet so don't
bother trying, paas usually only offer paperTrail to get to your
application logs which is basically just an online tail although I am
not sure if there is anything better. Having trouble exporting my DB
from AppFog really made me want a solid DB solution and all the current
sites really make your DB a blackbox. The micro levels of all amazon
services are free to test on and I recommend you try running some play
demos on them and an RDS. You can run your own mysql on a server but i
think that would be a waste of time. With RDS, the ability to control
your own backups, scale to different size db machines, multi zone
replication, etc make it a better choice even though you pay a bit more
for it being managed. (cleardb.com seems like an interesting option
though if you want to be more hands off but still have everything
running on amazon.) But RDS seems like a great balance between
everything getting managed/replicated/backed-up for you but you have the
power to do anything you want if you want/need to. Hope this helped you
think about some things you may not have.
If there is something
you would like to add or have changed, feel free to contact me at the
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