So, you have a great idea. You want to move your vision from whiteboard to Web host, but the trade offs (resources, time, money) make it difficult to decide what to spend your hard earned capital on. What can you do to get your idea out to the market with the least amount of investment, while also ensuring that you're ready for a flood of new users?
Luckily, it is now less expensive than ever to get get an Web application to market. A new generation of agile, cloud-based services help prepare your application and team for success. Now, your software and hardware can be ready for the time when your app is a hit, so you won't be famous for your own personal failwhale. We take a look at two companies that can help both small and large companies ramp up their Web offerings.
Companies like Twitter, Best Buy and SalesForce.com are clients of Pivotal Labs, and use the company to assist in scaling and integrating streams of code into a harmonious production environment. One attractive thing about their model is that they operate in coordination with your small or large team and to help your processes become stronger.
This model seems much more attractive than outsourcing creating the intellectual capital for your business. They offer a series of software patterns that help solve some of the scaling challenges no one should find out after it is too late. As the saying goes, "teach a man to fish, and he'll never be hungry".
Heroku is an innovative cloud infrastructure that helps a Ruby development team to provision applications with one command. The infrastructure is designed to leverage the default mechanics within your Ruby application, and promises to manage the entire back end application for your team without you having to think about the details. Today, Heroku claims almost 50,000 applications being hosted on its infrastructure.
Heroku's application for provisioning services is compelling and visually pleasing. It has an easy to understand menu of capabilities, many of them with catchy names you'll likely not forget. Get started for free with Blossom, which offers a single, shared 5MB database. Upgrade to Koi to get a shared 20GB for an estimated monthly cost of $15. If you feel better about dedicated services, a single "computing unit" is estimated at $200 per month, and can server up to 2TB per month. Heroku defines a computing unit like this:
Database performance on Heroku is measured by "CPU Units". A CPU Unit is a measure of how fast the CPU and overall IO of the underlying machine are. Shared databases run on very high performance machines, shared among many different applications. Dedicated databases allow you to choose the performance package that best meets your needs.
Heroku looks like a next-generation infrastructure provider for model-driven applications using the Ruby pattern. It will be interesting to see how many developers turn to this class of services for their cloud infrastructure as time goes on. It seems attractive both as a way to get started and to grow.
What's next? We predict that there soon will be a software layer that converts back-of-the-napkin ideas to an enterprise class service.
What do you think? Would you entrust your idea with these services?