Google Compute Engine vs Heroku: What are the differences?
Developers describe Google Compute Engine as "Run large-scale workloads on virtual machines hosted on Google's infrastructure". Google Compute Engine is a service that provides virtual machines that run on Google infrastructure. Google Compute Engine offers scale, performance, and value that allows you to easily launch large compute clusters on Google's infrastructure. There are no upfront investments and you can run up to thousands of virtual CPUs on a system that has been designed from the ground up to be fast, and to offer strong consistency of performance. 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.
Google Compute Engine and Heroku are primarily classified as "Cloud Hosting" and "Platform as a Service" tools respectively.
Some of the features offered by Google Compute Engine are:
- High-performance virtual machines- Compute Engine’s Linux VMs are consistently performant, scalable, highly secure and reliable. Supported distros include Debian and CentOS. You can choose from micro-VMs to large instances.
- Powered by Google’s global network- Create large compute clusters that benefit from strong and consistent cross-machine bandwidth. Connect to machines in other data centers and to other Google services using Google’s private global fiber network.
- (Really) Pay for what you use- Google bills in minute-level increments (with a 10-minute minimum charge), so you don’t pay for unused computing time.
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.
"Backed by google", "Easy to scale" and "High-performance virtual machines" are the key factors why developers consider Google Compute Engine; whereas "Easy deployment", "Free for side projects" and "Huge time-saver" are the primary reasons why Heroku is favored.
StackShare, Heroku, and SendGrid are some of the popular companies that use Heroku, whereas Google Compute Engine is used by Snapchat, Harvest, and imgix. Heroku has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1496 company stacks & 937 developers stacks; compared to Google Compute Engine, which is listed in 587 company stacks and 414 developer stacks.
What is Google Compute Engine?
What is Heroku?
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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!
I use Google Compute Engine instances as flexible, reproducible infrastructure that scale with my data science tasks.
Between Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, I chose Google Cloud for its intuitive UI. SSH within the browser is very convenient.
Related blog post with example usage: Running an IPython Notebook on Google Compute Engine from Chrome
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
- I use Google Compute Engine instances as flexible, reproducible infrastructure that scales with my data science tasks.
- Between Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, I chose Google Cloud for its intuitive UI. SSH within the browser is very convenient.
- Related blog post with example usage: Running an IPython Notebook on Google Compute Engine from Chrome
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.
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.
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.
Infrastructure for Google App Engine, Google Cloud Endpoints, Memcached, and Google Cloud SQL components, as well as Git repository and Jenkins CI server.