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Flynn vs Heroku: What are the differences?

What is Flynn? Next generation open source platform as a service. Flynn lets you deploy apps with git push and containers. Developers can deploy any app to any cluster in seconds.

What is Heroku? 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.

Flynn and Heroku can be primarily classified as "Platform as a Service" tools.

Some of the features offered by Flynn are:

  • Flynn goes beyond 12 factor apps. Run any Linux process written in any language or framework, even stateful apps on your own servers or any public cloud.
  • Scaling or adding a new cluster is simple: just add more nodes. Everything is containerized, Flynn takes care of distributing work across the cluster.
  • Flynn is 100% free and open source. Flynn works great out of the box, and since Flynn is modular and API-driven it's easy to modify and swap components to suit your needs.

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.

"Free" is the primary reason why developers consider Flynn over the competitors, whereas "Easy deployment" was stated as the key factor in picking Heroku.

Flynn is an open source tool with 7.24K GitHub stars and 534 GitHub forks. Here's a link to Flynn's open source repository on GitHub.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Flynn?

Flynn lets you deploy apps with git push and containers. Developers can deploy any app to any cluster in seconds.

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.

Want advice about which of these to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

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    What are some alternatives to Flynn and Heroku?
    Deis
    Deis can deploy any application or service that can run inside a Docker container. In order to be scaled horizontally, applications must follow Heroku's 12-factor methodology and store state in external backing services.
    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.
    Dokku
    Docker powered mini-Heroku. The smallest PaaS implementation you've ever seen.
    Google App Engine
    Google has a reputation for highly reliable, high performance infrastructure. With App Engine you can take advantage of the 10 years of knowledge Google has in running massively scalable, performance driven systems. App Engine applications are easy to build, easy to maintain, and easy to scale as your traffic and data storage needs grow.
    AWS Elastic Beanstalk
    Once you upload your application, Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring.
    See all alternatives
    What tools integrate with Flynn?
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    Reviews of Flynn 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 Flynn 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 Matt Welke
    Matt Welke uses HerokuHeroku

    Used for proofs of concept and personal projects where I want to remain in a free tier (as opposed to a service like DigitalOcean), and application state must outlive an HTTP request/response cycle.

    Heroku Postgres sometimes used as a free tier PostgreSQL managed database linked to non-Heroku apps, for example AWS Lambda.

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