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Heroku vs Microsoft Azure: What are the differences?

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; Microsoft Azure: Integrated cloud services and infrastructure to support computing, database, analytics, mobile, and web scenarios. Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

Heroku can be classified as a tool in the "Platform as a Service" category, while Microsoft Azure is grouped under "Cloud Hosting".

Some of the features offered by Heroku are:

  • 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.

On the other hand, Microsoft Azure provides the following key features:

  • Use your OS, language, database, tool
  • Global datacenter footprint
  • Enterprise Grade with up to a 99.95% monthly SLA

"Easy deployment", "Free for side projects" and "Huge time-saver" are the key factors why developers consider Heroku; whereas "Scales well and quite easy", "Can use .Net or open source tools" and "Startup friendly" are the primary reasons why Microsoft Azure is favored.

StackShare, Heroku, and SendGrid are some of the popular companies that use Heroku, whereas Microsoft Azure is used by Starbucks, Movielala, and Docplanner. Heroku has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1496 company stacks & 937 developers stacks; compared to Microsoft Azure, which is listed in 489 company stacks and 463 developer stacks.

Advice on Heroku and Microsoft Azure
Michael R.
Full-Stack Web Developer at STHCoders · | 4 upvotes · 14.4K views
Needs advice
on
Microsoft AzureMicrosoft Azure
and
HerokuHeroku
at

We are preparing to deploy a MERN-stack application (PWA) for a client. The app will be a public-facing real estate platform for listing, buying, and selling homes. While presenting a user experience much like a website, it retains the scalability and functionality of a web application.

I am weighing the pros and cons of using Microsoft Azure over Heroku, especially now that Heroku no longer supports mLAB for connecting Mongo databases. See more Suggestions and feedback always welcome.

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Replies (2)
Thomas Hutterer-Tik
Founder, CEO at Watt Analytics GmbH · | 4 upvotes · 4.7K views
Recommends
DigitalOceanDigitalOcean

Meanwhile I migrated away from Azure and Heroku to DigitalOcean. Reasons are high cost of both compared to DigitalOcean, cumbersome usability on Azure and limited stack flexibilty on Heroku. 4 month after the move we are still happy with the decision.

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Amhed Herrera
Recommends

Even if the integration is no longer available on Heroku, you can still startup a MongoDB hosted database and deploy it on one of the regions that Heroku uses for good latency (e.g. AWS Oregon for North America) https://www.dropbox.com/s/k2y2xbpoy95b09l/Pasted_Image_9_14_20__11_55_PM.png?dl=0

I really like how simple the Heroku interface is, how reliant their services are, and in general how great their CLI tools work.

The Azure control panel has grown to a point where it's very convoluted, and in general it's a bit more expensive than the rest. They also stopped their entrepreneur incentive program (Spark?) so there's little incentive to start something new on it.

Depending on what I'm building I usually go for: a) Vercel + Serverless functions if it's a React SPA b) Heroku, for NodeJS/Express + Postgress + Any FE framework you like c) DigitalOcean if I need full control of the server

That said... if latency is REALLY important then go with Azure. If you have tradeoffs, go for the ones that make your customer's experience better, even if you're annoyed at Azure's interface, or have to pay a few extra bucks

Hope that helps

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Decisions about Heroku and Microsoft Azure
Michael R.
Full-Stack Web Developer at STHCoders · | 6 upvotes · 8.5K views

This decision is a follow-up to my previous request for advice

We ultimately decided to use Heroku for the production build of the full-stack web application we built for Ormica LLC. React.js, Node.js, Express.js

The deployment had its share of issues; all of these I experienced firsthand. It would seem that Heroku takes a stricter view than even most development environments to the slightest syntax issue or the tiniest bug. Not to mention their engineers are unavailable on weekends, even if you are using a paid subscription, which I found quite surprising.

But, as I have before, I will again give credit to their documentation for being extremely detailed and intuitive. Additional credit goes to Mars Hall for the use of his trusty heroku-cra-node template as the baseline for the application.

At the end of the day, I still recommend Heroku for their thorough documentation, infallible uptime, and extensive plugin options.

Just be aware that if you missed anything in your code, the Heroku build engine is going to find it for you. Every. single. time. Which, from an objective point of view, is actually a good thing. Thanks for reading!

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I'm transitioning to Render from heroku. The pricing scale matches my usage scale, yet it's just as easy to deploy. It's removed a lot of the devops that I don't like to deal with on setting up my own raw *nix box and makes deployment simple and easy!

Clustering I don't use clustering features at the moment but when i need to set up clustering of nodes and discoverability, render will enable that where Heroku would require that I use an external service like redis.

Restarts The restarts are annoying. I understand the reasoning, but I'd rather watch my service if its got a memory leak and work to fix it than to just assume that it has memory leaks and needs to restart.

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Pros of Heroku
Pros of Microsoft Azure
  • 704
    Easy deployment
  • 460
    Free for side projects
  • 374
    Huge time-saver
  • 348
    Simple scaling
  • 261
    Low devops skills required
  • 190
    Easy setup
  • 174
    Add-ons for almost everything
  • 154
    Beginner friendly
  • 150
    Better for startups
  • 133
    Low learning curve
  • 48
    Postgres hosting
  • 41
    Easy to add collaborators
  • 30
    Faster development
  • 24
    Awesome documentation
  • 19
    Focus on product, not deployment
  • 19
    Simple rollback
  • 15
    Natural companion for rails development
  • 15
    Easy integration
  • 12
    Great customer support
  • 8
    GitHub integration
  • 6
    No-ops
  • 6
    Painless & well documented
  • 4
    Free
  • 4
    I love that they make it free to launch a side project
  • 3
    Just works
  • 3
    Great UI
  • 2
    PostgreSQL forking and following
  • 2
    MySQL extension
  • 1
    Able to host stuff good like Discord Bot
  • 0
    Sec
  • 0
    Security
  • 112
    Scales well and quite easy
  • 94
    Can use .Net or open source tools
  • 80
    Startup friendly
  • 72
    Startup plans via BizSpark
  • 61
    High performance
  • 37
    Wide choice of services
  • 32
    Low cost
  • 31
    Lots of integrations
  • 30
    Reliability
  • 18
    Twillio & Github are directly accessible
  • 12
    RESTful API
  • 9
    Startup support
  • 9
    Enterprise Grade
  • 9
    PaaS
  • 7
    In person support
  • 7
    DocumentDB
  • 6
    Service Bus
  • 6
    Free for students
  • 6
    Virtual Machines
  • 5
    It rocks
  • 5
    Redis Cache
  • 4
    CDN
  • 4
    Storage, Backup, and Recovery
  • 4
    SQL Databases
  • 4
    Infrastructure Services
  • 3
    BizSpark 60k Azure Benefit
  • 3
    Built on Node.js
  • 3
    IaaS
  • 3
    HDInsight
  • 3
    Integration
  • 3
    Preview Portal
  • 3
    Big Data
  • 3
    Scheduler
  • 2
    Active Directory
  • 2
    Web
  • 2
    SaaS
  • 2
    Big Compute
  • 2
    Mobile
  • 2
    Media
  • 2
    Dev-Test
  • 2
    Storage
  • 2
    StorSimple
  • 2
    Machine Learning
  • 2
    Stream Analytics
  • 2
    Data Factory
  • 2
    Event Hubs
  • 2
    Virtual Network
  • 2
    ExpressRoute
  • 2
    Traffic Manager
  • 2
    Media Services
  • 2
    BizTalk Services
  • 2
    Backup
  • 2
    Site Recovery
  • 2
    Multi-Factor Authentication
  • 2
    Visual Studio Online
  • 2
    Application Insights
  • 2
    Automation
  • 2
    Operational Insights
  • 2
    Key Vault
  • 2
    Infrastructure near your customers
  • 2
    Easy Deployment
  • 1
    Best cloud platfrom
  • 1
    Easy and fast to start with
  • 1
    Documentation
  • 1
    Remote Debugging
  • 1
    Open cloud
  • 1
    Enterprise customer preferences
  • 1
    Security

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Cons of Heroku
Cons of Microsoft Azure
  • 23
    Super expensive
  • 6
    Not a whole lot of flexibility
  • 5
    No usable MySQL option
  • 5
    Storage
  • 4
    Low performance on free tier
  • 1
    24/7 support is $1,000 per month
  • 6
    Confusing UI
  • 2
    Expensive plesk on Azure

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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.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

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What companies use Heroku?
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What are some alternatives to Heroku and Microsoft Azure?
DigitalOcean
We take the complexities out of cloud hosting by offering blazing fast, on-demand SSD cloud servers, straightforward pricing, a simple API, and an easy-to-use control panel.
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.
Firebase
Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
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
Red Hat 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.
See all alternatives