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Heroku vs OpenShift: What are the differences?

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.

What is OpenShift? Red Hat's free Platform as a Service (PaaS) for hosting Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js, and Perl apps. 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.

Heroku and OpenShift belong to "Platform as a Service" category of the tech stack.

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, OpenShift provides the following key features:

  • Built-in support for Node.js, Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl, and Java (the standard in today's Enterprise)
  • OpenShift is extensible with a customizable cartridge functionality that allows developers to add any other language they wish. We've seen everything from Clojure to Cobol running on OpenShift.
  • OpenShift supports frameworks ranging from Spring, to Rails, to Play

"Easy deployment" is the top reason why over 694 developers like Heroku, while over 95 developers mention "Good free plan" as the leading cause for choosing OpenShift.

OpenShift is an open source tool with 915 GitHub stars and 563 GitHub forks. Here's a link to OpenShift's open source repository on GitHub.

According to the StackShare community, Heroku has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1504 company stacks & 961 developers stacks; compared to OpenShift, which is listed in 50 company stacks and 52 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

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 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.
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What are some alternatives to Heroku and OpenShift?
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
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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Decisions about Heroku and OpenShift
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Interest over time
Reviews of Heroku and OpenShift
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 ofOpenShiftOpenShift

I needed a PaaS provider that didn't drop all the time and it's hard to find a good option for PHP applications. Openshift takes care of it. They are a little behind on PHP versions, but that can be solved with a custom cartridge. It requires a little more elbow grease to get rolling when you want to implement something they don't already have, but their quickstarts are great to get rolling with the basics quickly.

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 Heroku and OpenShift
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 kelumkps
kelumkps uses OpenShiftOpenShift

SG-TravelBuddy server application is hosted on Red Hat OpenShift Online (v3). SG-TravelBuddy mobile (Android) app is connecting to this server for data operations.

Avatar of InApplet
InApplet uses OpenShiftOpenShift

Servidor das aplicações de Back-end

Avatar of azawisza
azawisza uses OpenShiftOpenShift

Main cloud infrastructure provider

Avatar of Miyuru Sankalpa
Miyuru Sankalpa uses OpenShiftOpenShift

To host the blog powered by ghost

Avatar of AyeDeals
AyeDeals uses OpenShiftOpenShift

OpenShift is our PaaS.

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