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Cloud Foundry vs Heroku: What are the differences?

Developers describe Cloud Foundry as "Deploy and scale applications in seconds on your choice of private or public cloud". Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service (PaaS) that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services. Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy, and scale applications. On the other hand, Heroku is detailed as "Build, deliver, monitor and scale web apps and APIs with a trail blazing developer experience". Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.

Cloud Foundry and Heroku can be categorized as "Platform as a Service" tools.

Some of the features offered by Cloud Foundry are:

  • Application and services centric lifecycle API
  • High performance dynamic routing
  • Buildpack support

On the other hand, Heroku provides the following key features:

  • Agile deployment for Ruby, Node.js, Clojure, Java, Python, Go and Scala.
  • Run and scale any type of app.
  • Total visibility across your entire app.

Cloud Foundry is an open source tool with 605 GitHub stars and 532 GitHub forks. Here's a link to Cloud Foundry's open source repository on GitHub.

StackShare, Heroku, and Product Hunt are some of the popular companies that use Heroku, whereas Cloud Foundry is used by VMware, SBT Aqua, and Intel. Heroku has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1504 company stacks & 961 developers stacks; compared to Cloud Foundry, which is listed in 8 company stacks and 13 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Cloud Foundry?

Cloud Foundry is an open platform as a service (PaaS) that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services. Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy, and scale applications.

What is Heroku?

Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
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    What are some alternatives to Cloud Foundry and Heroku?
    Docker
    The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere
    OpenShift
    OpenShift is Red Hat's Cloud Computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. OpenShift is an application platform in the cloud where application developers and teams can build, test, deploy, and run their applications.
    Kubernetes
    Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.
    OpenStack
    OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.
    Terraform
    With Terraform, you describe your complete infrastructure as code, even as it spans multiple service providers. Your servers may come from AWS, your DNS may come from CloudFlare, and your database may come from Heroku. Terraform will build all these resources across all these providers in parallel.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Cloud Foundry and Heroku
    Jerome Dalbert
    Jerome Dalbert
    Senior Backend Engineer at StackShare · | 7 upvotes · 20.7K views
    atGratify CommerceGratify Commerce
    Rails
    Rails
    Heroku
    Heroku
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    #PaaS

    When creating the web infrastructure for our start-up, I wanted to host our app on a PaaS to get started quickly.

    A very popular one for Rails is Heroku, which I love for free hobby side projects, but never used professionally. On the other hand, I was very familiar with the AWS ecosystem, and since I was going to use some of its services anyways, I thought: why not go all in on it?

    It turns out that Amazon offers a PaaS called AWS Elastic Beanstalk, which is basically like an “AWS Heroku”. It even comes with a similar command-line utility, called "eb”. While edge-case Rails problems are not as well documented as with Heroku, it was very satisfying to manage all our cloud services under the same AWS account. There are auto-scaling options for web and worker instances, which is a nice touch. Overall, it was reliable, and I would recommend it to anyone planning on heavily using AWS.

    See more
    Russel Werner
    Russel Werner
    Lead Engineer at StackShare · | 21 upvotes · 442.7K views
    atStackShareStackShare
    React
    React
    Glamorous
    Glamorous
    Apollo
    Apollo
    Node.js
    Node.js
    Rails
    Rails
    Heroku
    Heroku
    GitHub
    GitHub
    Amazon S3
    Amazon S3
    Amazon CloudFront
    Amazon CloudFront
    Webpack
    Webpack
    CircleCI
    CircleCI
    Redis
    Redis
    #StackDecisionsLaunch
    #SSR
    #Microservices
    #FrontEndRepoSplit

    StackShare Feed is built entirely with React, Glamorous, and Apollo. One of our objectives with the public launch of the Feed was to enable a Server-side rendered (SSR) experience for our organic search traffic. When you visit the StackShare Feed, and you aren't logged in, you are delivered the Trending feed experience. We use an in-house Node.js rendering microservice to generate this HTML. This microservice needs to run and serve requests independent of our Rails web app. Up until recently, we had a mono-repo with our Rails and React code living happily together and all served from the same web process. In order to deploy our SSR app into a Heroku environment, we needed to split out our front-end application into a separate repo in GitHub. The driving factor in this decision was mostly due to limitations imposed by Heroku specifically with how processes can't communicate with each other. A new SSR app was created in Heroku and linked directly to the frontend repo so it stays in-sync with changes.

    Related to this, we need a way to "deploy" our frontend changes to various server environments without building & releasing the entire Ruby application. We built a hybrid Amazon S3 Amazon CloudFront solution to host our Webpack bundles. A new CircleCI script builds the bundles and uploads them to S3. The final step in our rollout is to update some keys in Redis so our Rails app knows which bundles to serve. The result of these efforts were significant. Our frontend team now moves independently of our backend team, our build & release process takes only a few minutes, we are now using an edge CDN to serve JS assets, and we have pre-rendered React pages!

    #StackDecisionsLaunch #SSR #Microservices #FrontEndRepoSplit

    See more
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    Heroku
    Heroku
    Ruby
    Ruby
    Rails
    Rails
    Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL
    Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL
    MariaDB
    MariaDB
    Microsoft SQL Server
    Microsoft SQL Server
    Amazon RDS
    Amazon RDS
    AWS Lambda
    AWS Lambda
    Python
    Python
    Redis
    Redis
    Memcached
    Memcached
    AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
    AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
    Amazon Elasticsearch Service
    Amazon Elasticsearch Service
    Amazon ElastiCache
    Amazon ElastiCache

    We initially started out with Heroku as our PaaS provider due to a desire to use it by our original developer for our Ruby on Rails application/website at the time. We were finding response times slow, it was painfully slow, sometimes taking 10 seconds to start loading the main page. Moving up to the next "compute" level was going to be very expensive.

    We moved our site over to AWS Elastic Beanstalk , not only did response times on the site practically become instant, our cloud bill for the application was cut in half.

    In database world we are currently using Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL also, we have both MariaDB and Microsoft SQL Server both hosted on Amazon RDS. The plan is to migrate to AWS Aurora Serverless for all 3 of those database systems.

    Additional services we use for our public applications: AWS Lambda, Python, Redis, Memcached, AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon ElastiCache

    See more
    Heroku
    Heroku
    OpenShift
    OpenShift
    Docker
    Docker

    Heroku vs OpenShift. I've never decided which one is better. Heroku is easier to configure. Openshift provide a better machine for free. Heroku has many addons for free. I've chosen Heroku because of easy initial set-up. I had deployment based on git push. I also tried direct deployment of jar file. Currently Heroku runs my Docker image. Heroku has very good documentation like for beginners. So if you want to start with something, let's follow Heroku. On the other hand OpenShift seems like a PRO tool supported by @RedHat.

    See more
    Gunicorn
    Gunicorn
    uWSGI
    uWSGI
    Heroku
    Heroku
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk

    I use Gunicorn because does one thing - it’s a WSGI HTTP server - and it does it well. Deploy it quickly and easily, and let the rest of your stack do what the rest of your stack does well, wherever that may be.

    uWSGI “aims at developing a full stack for building hosting services” - if that’s a thing you need then ok, but I like the principle of doing one thing well, and I deploy to platforms like Heroku and AWS Elastic Beanstalk where the rest of the “hosting service” is provided and managed for me.

    See more
    Munkhtegsh Munkhbat
    Munkhtegsh Munkhbat
    Software Engineer Consultant at LoanSnap · | 9 upvotes · 38.4K views
    graphql-yoga
    graphql-yoga
    Prisma
    Prisma
    PostgreSQL
    PostgreSQL
    styled-components
    styled-components
    Heroku
    Heroku
    React
    React
    Apollo
    Apollo
    GraphQL
    GraphQL
    #Backend
    #Frontend

    In my last side project, I built a web posting application that has similar features as Facebook and hosted on Heroku. The user can register an account, create posts, upload images and share with others. I took an advantage of graphql-subscriptions to handle realtime notifications in the comments section. Currently, I'm at the last stage of styling and building layouts.

    For the #Backend I used graphql-yoga, Prisma, GraphQL with PostgreSQL database. For the #FrontEnd: React, styled-components with Apollo. The app is hosted on Heroku.

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Cloud Foundry and Heroku
    Review ofHerokuHeroku

    I use Heroku, for almost any project of mine. Their free plan is awesome for testing, solo developers or your startup and its almost impossible to not cover you somehow. Adding an add on is a simple command away and I find it easy to use it both on my Windows PC or my Linux laptop. Their documentation, covers almost everything. In particular I have used Heroku for Spring, Django and AngularJS. I even find it easier to run my project on my local dev with foreman start, than ./manage.py runserver (for my django projects). There is no place like Heroku for the developer!

    Review ofHerokuHeroku

    Can't beat the simplicity of deploying and managing apps, the pricing is a bit high, but you are paying for those streamlined tools. However, after several experiences of tracing issues back to Heroku's stack, not having visibility into what they are doing has prompted moving two applications off of it and on to other more transparent cloud solutions. Heroku is amazing for what it is, hosting for early stage products.

    Review ofHerokuHeroku

    I've been using Heroku for 3 years now, they have grown super fast and each time they're improving their services. What I really like the most is how easily you can show to your client the advances on you project, it would take you maximum 15 minutes to configure two environments (Staging/Production). It is simply essential and fantastic!

    Review ofHerokuHeroku

    I liked how easy this was to use and that I could create some proof of concepts without have to pay. The downside for NodeJS is remote debugging. Pretty much have to depend on logging where Azure allows remote debugging with Node Inspector.

    Review ofHerokuHeroku

    Using Heroku takes away all the pains associated with managing compute and backing services. It may require a little extra optimisation and tweaks, but these constraints often make your app better anyway.

    How developers use Cloud Foundry and Heroku
    Avatar of StackShare
    StackShare uses HerokuHeroku

    Not having to deal with servers is a huge win for us. There are certainly trade-offs (having to wait if the platform is down as opposed to being able to fix the issue), but we’re happy being on Heroku right now. Being able to focus 100% of our technical efforts on application code is immensely helpful.

    Two dynos seems to be the sweet spot for our application. We can handle traffic spikes and get pretty consistent performance otherwise.

    We have a total of four apps on Heroku: Legacy Leanstack, StackShare Prod, StackShare Staging, StackShare Dev. Protip: if you’re setting up multiple environments based on your prod environment, just run heroku fork app name. Super useful, it copies over your db, add-ons, and settings.

    We have a develop branch on GitHub that we push to dev to test out, then if everything is cool we push it to staging and eventually prod. Hotfixes of course go straight to staging and then prod usually.

    Avatar of StackShare
    StackShare uses HerokuHeroku

    We keep the Metrics tab open while we load test, and hit refresh to see what’s going on: heroku metric

    I would expect the graphs to expand with some sort of detail, but that’s not the case. So these metrics aren’t very useful. The logs are far more useful, so we just keep the tail open while we test.

    Avatar of Tim Lucas
    Tim Lucas uses HerokuHeroku

    Heroku runs the web and background worker processes. Auto-deployments are triggered via GitHub commits and wait for the Buildkite test build to pass. Heroku pipelines with beta release phase execution (for automatically running database migrations) allowed for easy manual testing of big new releases. Web and worker logs are sent to Papertrail.

    Avatar of Jeff Flynn
    Jeff Flynn uses HerokuHeroku

    As much as I love AWS EC, I prefer Heroku for apps like this. Heroku has grown up around Rails and Ruby, massive set of add-ons that are usually one-click setup, and I once had to perform an emergency app scale-up a that I completed in seconds from my mobile phone whilst riding the Bangkok subway. Doesn't get much easier than that.

    Avatar of danlangford
    danlangford uses HerokuHeroku

    With its complimentary SSL (on *.herokuapp.com) we can test everything. Our dev branch is built and deployed out to Heroku. Testing happens out here. not production cause $20/mo is TOO much to pay for the ability to use my own SSL purchased elsewhere.

    Avatar of Giovanni Candido da Silva
    Giovanni Candido da Silva uses Cloud FoundryCloud Foundry

    Easy host and monitor the application on the cloud, using a platform that is hight integrated with Spring Framework, but is also agnostic of technology

    How much does Cloud Foundry cost?
    How much does Heroku cost?
    Pricing unavailable