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Natalya Brinza Project Manager

AWS VS Heroku: Cloud Platform Comparison for 2017


AWS VS Heroku: Cloud Platform Comparison for 2017

The development of applications and web resources is a long and complicated process, which from year to  year has become more and more technologically advanced and requires huge amount of money and up-to-date innovations and techniques. One of these pretty popular and widely used technologies is the implementation of special cloud resources, which act as  digital servers for saving and retaining  huge amount of information, which would later   become the foundation for your project and give you an opportunity to deploy, monitor and scale all the stages of development. Nowadays, we have different platforms through which we can carry out this  process. However, not all  the beginner programmers and developers have  made the choice of fully integrating their archives with one of these cloud services. Two of the most popular of them are  Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Heroku. In this article below, I will  give you several tips on which to choose – Heroku or AWS – and give a special kind of comparison between AWS and Heroku, which I hope will help you  make the right choice.

Comparing AWS and Heroku,  it is important to mention that these two special cloud platforms are absolutely different. This means that their usage  cannot be judged equally and it cannot be said that either one of these platforms is 100%. Moreover, comparing heroku vs aws is similar to comparing a pen and a pencil. Both of them are used for writing, but writing is done using different approaches. Thus, because of that particular nuance, we will examine that issue from the perspective of the usage of these approaches directly as the tools for storing the information for app development and nothing more. So, let me speak in a  specified manner on both of these techniques.

Why choose the cloud technology?

Before the general description, I would like, first of all, to give a word on the strong benefits of the cloud approach, which is now discussed with more and more pessions. So, the majority of beginner developers usually ask that question, even though they are interested in  using  similar strategies  without the understanding of their main benefits . Thus, they are:

  • Operation flexibility and the opportunity to manage all the data in any possible and needed way;

  • Cloud-based recoveries. So, you cannot be afraid of losing huge stacks of information;

  • Ability to access, edit, share and change all the files in any spot of the world;

  • Centralization of storage for all the documents. So, you will not lose anything;

AWS vs Heroku comparison

What is AWS?

It is needless to say that AWS is a product from a big company called Amazon. The company has already become one of the most powerful business projects throughout the whole history of the Internet. From selling books in the very beginning of its career, Amazon grew up to the level of a multifunctional company, which now offers more than 50 special services and additional software for your computer. So, we  can conclude that AWS is a pretty reliable resource. Besides, it also, as well as Amazon itself, has a giant audience of supporters, which has translated to a pretty fast and rapid development of the platform.

However, let me be more specific and describe the majority of those special and general features that make AWS what it actually is. But later I will give you a full description of all of them, while comparing  Amazon Web Services and Heroku. First of all, it is important to mention that AWS is one of the flagship offers of Amazon, which made it more attractive and interesting.  Then, there is also a pretty interesting feature, which is that AWS is available to anybody and from anywhere. So, there is no problem with accessing your data even in Antarctica. All you need is just a strong Internet connection.

One of the most distinguished features of AWS is the whole process of  creating  a web cloud server. There are several classic steps followed in  the creation of a server. First of all, you have to configure a virtualized server. Then, there are several steps, such as:

  • Adding of database sections;

  • Setting up an operating system;

  • Setting of locad balancer;

And then finally, you have to choose the proper CPU and the amount of RAM needed for the establishment of the whole system. And only after that do you have to install all  the backup servers and hook them up to the core server. Sounds pretty complicated, but in order to make that process easier, AWS has several special functions for you. For instance, Amazon provides the user with with the building blocks. This approach allows you to choose and set the right amount of blocks for the creation of the server with tips on notifications and instructions, which makes the whole process  clearer and faster. That was a brief  review of AWS. Now, it is time to equally review  Heroku and then finally compare the features of AWS and Heroku.

What is Heroku?

To be honest, Heroku is a much  simpler tool that can be used to create special web servers. It can be  used by beginners as well. However, let us take a   closer look at all  the features of that technology. First of all, it is directly based on AWS. This already means that Heroku is not so prestigious and sophisticated as AWS. Moreover, it is much more simple, and sometimes the  software is considered too simple, especially for  professional developers. This is  because  all the regulations go through the command line, which is too old-school for those technologies  developed in 2010. Thus, we can conclude that the simpler  the platform is, the  simpler will be the final product created by that particular software. However, there are several positive features  positive of Heroku. For instance, there is no need  thinking of  developing  the infrastructure because  it is managed automatically by the software. Then, it can provide you with built-in and instant run-time and application services, which in no way is a drawback. Anyway, it doesn't make sense to compare  these two web server platforms  because  they are absolutely different in a majority of ways.

Read also: How to Choose a Website Development Platform?

Key differences between AWS and Heroku

Now, it is important to e list the main differences between these two platforms. In essence, this actually means  the strengths and weaknesses  of each of them. However, let me first of all start with those things that are similar in this field and then  settle to the process of choosing between AWS and Heroku. First,  these pieces of software are compatible with programming languages such as:

  • Ruby;

  • NodeJS;

  • Python;

  • Go;

  • Docker and PHP.

While Heroku is compatible with more  programming languages such as Java, Scala, Clojure and several others.

Furthermore, the whole strategy of building the software is similar, or even exactly the same. For instance, in AWS, as well as in Heroku, the background structure consists of several important and similar features. First of all, there is the creation of a server, then the implementation of a certain platform and choice of the operation system (Linux, Windows, MacOS and others).  After that, there is the separation of key tires on the Application and Database. All of these key steps  can be seen on the graph below.

Application and Database

However, let me focus on those important differences that may influence  your choice. First of all, the difference lies in the idea of hosting. For example, AWS is hosted on proprietary servers, while Heroku is located within the servers of AWS. That, I believe, plays a crucial role in the understanding of the pros and cons of AWS and Heroku.

Then, a much bigger difference is in the offerings and services offered by  these pieces of software. While AWS offers the use of the platforms as services and the infrastructural development as services, Heroku  presents only the opportunity to operate with their platforms as virtual services. Then, the whole concept also plays an important role. Yes, there are, for sure, similarities such as the developed platforms for rapid app deployment. However, AWS also possesses the ability to create  infrastructure before the actual process of deployment. These differences seem vital to those  willing to launch and save pretty big  on projects.

Besides, there is also a list of the main features provided by Heroku and AWS in 2017. For example, they both offer an opportunity for capacity provisioning and app health monitoring. But again, both of them have several features that make them radically different. For instance, AWS can also put on hold load balancing of the whole data and can allow you to avoid several manual setting through auto scaling. Moreover, while using AWS, you are able to operate with ready templates and multiple configurations.

However, Heroku does not also lag behind and can boast of database and application rollback, which can make you feel much safer if something goes wrong. Also,  using  Heroku gives you the chance to implement vertical and horizontal scaling, as well as full GitLab integration, which is also pretty beneficial.

When it comes to the tools these pieces of software operate with, it is important to note that they have absolutely nothing in common. So I would like to give you just two brief lists about them.

 Amazon Web Services Heroku
AWS management console Heroku Command Line
AWS Command Line Interface Heroku Application Metrics 
AWS Could Watch Heroku Connect

Heroku Status

Conclusion on the choice between AWS and Heroku for Startups

Taking everything into consideration, I can say, just as in the very beginning, that  comparing  these two platforms is similar to the comparison between a pen and a pencil, which,  fundamentally,  are created for the same purpose, but are focused on different techniques of carrying out their basic tasks. So, again, they are different and just ought to be used in different ways. One for professionals, the other for beginners and primary developers. However, it is worth mentioning that in case  you are to choose between Heroku,  AWS, and  local machine, the best option would be AWS without a doubt. A lot of developers may ask “Why use AWS?”. And I will respond by giving various reasons. First of all, it is 100% authentic and reliable. Secondly, it is safer and more technologically advanced. And finally, if you're really serious, sooner or later you will transfer to AWS, so it is  better to get used to the main platform from the very beginning. I really hope that I was able to answer the majority of the questions you had, and now you are more or less familiar with that big bunch of important materials.

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author Alexander Prokopiev Alexander Prokopiev
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