3 Reasons Why Your Startup Should Move From Heroku To AWS

Heroku and AWS (Amazon Web Services) are the two most commonly used cloud services in present times. It lets a business deploy, monitor, and scale mobile and web applications. Both services are great for hosting applications and offer cloud computing resources. 

Choosing the best hosting service becomes difficult when you glance at the plethora of products that AWS offers.

If you are planning to switch to AWS from Heroku, you have come to the right place. This detailed article will tell you why AWS is the better choice for you in the long run. 

Romaric Philogène

Romaric Philogène

November 28, 2020 · 12 min read
3 Reasons Why Your Startup Should Move From Heroku To AWS - Qovery
Written byRomaric Philogène

Romaric Philogène

CEO and co-founder of Qovery. Romaric has 10+ years of experience in R&D. From the Ad-Tech to the financial industry, he has deep expertise in highly-reliable and performant systems.

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Why Heroku in the First Place?

Heroku was the ideal solution back in time. It offered a cost-effective hosting service and a stunning continuous deployment workflow. If you have used Heroku, you will know how easy it is to integrate it with other software. With this, you can deploy faster. It is also well-documented.

All these let you concentrate on iterating on your product without assigning a dedicated person to DevOps for an extended period. 

Heroku is fine until your platform has to grow more dynamically. New business customers want to serve dozens of API calls every day. In such a case, scaling the dynamics becomes more costly. Hence, financially Heroku isn’t the right choice. 

Pricing is not the only reason you should walk away from Heroku. With Heroku, you might experience scaling issues. So, your platform might have trouble responding non-deterministically. Also, Heroku is relatively poor when it comes to resource utilization. This is because its plans are strict regarding the machine’s resource structure. 

What’s more, Heroku lacks a private IP address. So, you might receive a notification that the application is generating spam even when that is not the case. 

All in all, Heroku is expensive and has no support for microservices. 

Now, let’s find why you should consider choosing AWS over Heroku. 

1. You Expect to Hire More Developers

Flexibility is one of the primary reasons you choose AWS for your business over other cloud computing services like Heroku. With AWS, you can iterate, experiment, and innovate efficiently through its massive global cloud infrastructure. For leveraging scalability, AWS can conveniently handle workload increase by distributing the resources depending on the demand. It is possible to do this within a few minutes. 

So, if you presently have only three developers and want to increase it to 10 or more in the future, AWS’s extensive cloud infrastructure makes it the right choice. Even the top startups like AirBnB and Zocdoc are built on AWS. You won’t have to deal with any issues even if your team size increases in the near future, as AWS cloud takes care of everything. Heroku hasn’t been created for team developers.

When it comes to Heroku, a group of developers will have to share a single environment. This has the risk of getting stuck with modifications. Heroku shows its limitation very easily in this regard. Thus, it keeps the team from being productive. 

Official services supported by languages and frameworks supported by Heroku are limited to work with. So, your choice is severely limited. Moreover, because Heroku is a PaaS platform, you are locked with Heroku’s proprietary file system. It means that any file you are storing on the server will disappear after the server is shut down, and there is no guarantee of the file being present on other servers used by the application.

But if you choose AWS as the prime cloud computing provider, you are going to gain access to an extensive list of services. For instance, the server package comes with a pre-configured Amazon Linux. It is available for web applications and other resources. This offers robust integration with the AWS platform through built-in API scripts and tools. 

Unlike Heroku, a business using AWS will receive a virtual environment that will allow them to access services and software that a certain application requires. Hence, no rigid protocols or restrictions exist in AWS. This not only helps in easing migration but also makes it easier to build a new solution. 

Thanks to the massive cloud-based platform, your business will no longer have to deal with a physical computing infrastructure’s restraints. You can be rest assured that with AWS, access to storage and servers is available on demand. 

2. Your Business is Growing and It Will for a Long Time

For many startups, Heroku has been the ideal solution until it started growing. For all these startups, hosting Heroku has primarily been about speed. They can develop, ship, and scale without worrying about the infrastructure. But it won’t help once your business starts growing. Let’s check the advantages you get with AWS with growing business.

AWS Offers the Required Technical Support

As a business starts growing Heroku might appear to be restrained. New businesses that want to serve dozens of customers and scaling the dynamics might prove to be costly. It can cause infrastructural problems. 

Voucherify, a business offering building blocks to build referral, coupon, and loyalty campaigns began experiencing problems with Heroku with the expansion of the business. 

A few times they noticed their platforms having problems and it responded non-deterministically. They dedicated resources to debug the platform only to find out that the problem was with Heroku. It had failed to update the status page, adequately. At times, they had to work around the issue because the fix took several hours. 

48% of the CTOs have switched to AWS from Heroku. This is primarily because, in the early life of a startup, a CTO’s objective is to design a product and then validate if the value proposition of the product aligns with the defined target. Technical decisions are important as it saves valuable time on product delivery. For almost all applications hosting, most of the CTOs opt for Heroku as it is easy to get started. It has zero upfront cost but it’s a price that grows with maximum time spent and usage on the product instead of managing the complications of a database and server infrastructure. 

If the startup’s market position is right, the product will become successful. This is when the team recruitment and structuring arise. It is from this juncture that a CTO realizes that Heroku isn’t the right choice. 

Heroku takes the deployment and management of applications as one unit. An application usually comes with several apps, a backend, frontend, and database. Heroku doesn’t allow you to manage a set of applications as one application. This, in turn, can lead to complexity management. Hence, it leads to poor team productivity. 

All these negative aspects of Heroku are leading CTOs to replace it with AWS. 

Heroku is Outrageously Expensive

The more you use Heroku as your business grows, the more your bills grow. Hence, your startup grows by paying a significant price. It is tough to scale with Heroku. 

Heroku like any other PaaS is poor when it comes to resource usage. It has strict machine resource structure plans. Sure, this resource-limiting policy is crucial. Moreover, every application is different and thus, it requires an adequate memory or CPU usage profile. In effect, Voucherify paid for extra unused CPU power when they upgraded their plan to get more memory. 

How AWS is Good for Startups!

Consider a Swiss Army knife. It is everything you require to survive. Now, compare AWS to a Swiss Army Knife. AWS comes equipped with everything that you require to survive and stay competitive in this present-day business scenario. 

When your startup uses AWS, it can get access to a wide array of offerings that you might require. From traffic to user-generated content on S3, you will get it all. Startups have to be agile. No matter, you have an excellent product or an original idea, you should be able to get the right infrastructure you require without worrying about the large capital outlays upfront. Investing in large-scale software and hardware might slow startups down. But with AWS, you can access the resources quickly and easily. Thus, it enables the quick provision of technologies and services. Rather than waiting for a new server and hiring a database administrator, startups can simply use AWS and start developing their apps. 

AWS isn’t the best choice because of the extensive services it offers, it provides deep functionality for each service, too. For example, you don’t just get a general computer resource, you will also be able to take advantage of various features and options like getting compute resources that are optimized for memory. 

Another factor that makes AWS a good choice for startups is the fact that it is continuously innovating. So, in case you have a unique need that AWS isn’t offering, currently, don’t fret. AWS keeps on adding services and innovation at a pace that no one can beat. For instance, in 2008, the platform just offered EBS and EC2. However, the following year, it came up with 3 new services, and then 20 more over the next 3 years. This pace hasn’t slowed down. You can follow their AWS re:Invent events to find out what the service provider has been planning to introduce in the near future. 

To handle complex management functions, you need AWS. If you compare AWS Elastic Beanstalk vs. Heroku, you will see that the app deployment process is much easier. 

Startups have to meet their growing requirements. This is when the flexibility of AWS proves to be useful. The platform enables high-level customization to meet the needs of a business. For instance, customer-defined tagging lets users monitor and manage resources easily. From automation to cost tracking, there is no limit to why and how its customizable tags can be used. 

AWS Offers Consistency and Reliability

AWS is a useful platform when it comes to disaster recovery and backups. Also, it is extremely reliable. Albeit, it had a high-profile outage in 2017, AWS has been far better in regards to keeping the public cloud service up and running than either Google or Microsoft. It has also been found that about 40% of the total downtime of the platform during this time had been associated with a single outage. 

AWS is Easy on Your Budget 

AWS’s price offering is competitive and fair. It never shies away from a price with its competitors like Heroku. Moreover, sharing AWS infrastructure cost with several users means they can leverage economies of scale. This drives down the cost even further. 

Thereafter, Amazon Web Services then passes on the savings to the customers. This, in turn, attracts more customers to start using AWS. So, more users are giving the company a chance to reduce its infrastructure cost while adding better infrastructure and more hardware. Not only does this drive down prices but also ensures top-notch services. 

Startups using AWS love the fact that they are only going to pay for what they require. With Amazon Web Service, you can expect to expand and grow your startup quickly. 

3. Moving When You’re Small Required Less Effort Than When You’ll Be Bigger

Businesses that are migrating to AWS from the legacy systems for reaping the benefits of cloud technology might face several challenges. 

First, let’s take a look at these challenges. 

Identifying the Primary Business Objective

The primary challenge that a business faces is deciding on the functionalities and features they should focus on during the migration process. The new AWS applications have to be efficient and at the same time cater to the business’s objective. So, your business has to identify the measurable KPIs and analyze the cloud application to make it effective and give a good investment return. 

Accepting New Technology

Smooth application integration with AWS depends on the adoption of its users. Businesses need to understand AWS cloud benefits and showcase the same to the team at every level. Every team has to deal with a paradigm shift to take advantage of the AWS cloud and accept the new technology. 

Data Security and Compliance can Increase Anxiety

Compliance and data security can create panic in the top thoughts of top management. This is one of the primary challenges that businesses encounter when migrating to AWS. A business has to consider the type of data stored in the cloud and which service will store which data. These questions can influence a business to avoid migrating. However, AWS comes with a compliant secure cloud infrastructure. Hence, businesses will be able to implement migration with complete ease. 

Migrating to AWS requires planning and expertise. This might get difficult when the business is bigger. When it is only a startup, there are only a few things to worry about. You can easily identify the main business objective. This is because startups tend to have fewer objectives in comparison to larger enterprises. Also, when you are just starting with your business, you don’t have to worry about your team adapting to the application integration with AWS. 

As you are still small, it will be easier for you to switch to AWS from Heroku. Since you are expecting to scale your team, it is a good time to migrate. 

Final Verdict

A majority of the startups have a lot to do with having technical expertise or the required budget for accomplishing their task. This is the reason startups need to consider switching to AWS from Heroku. 

Previously, startups were in a disadvantageous position as they had to spend a great deal of money to get the proper infrastructure to develop and test their services and support their growth. So, conventionally, the startups were forced to start big. This made it difficult for them to make a profit as time went by. It was either that or admitting to failure. AWS changed it all. 

Some of the most successful businesses in the world have started using Amazon. If you are just a startup and considering whether it will be the right choice for you, you can breathe easier knowing that Tinder, Airbnb, Spotify, and Yelp all used to use AWS in their early stages. Even now, they use this service, although they have already become recognizable brands. 

With Amazon Web Service, you can get access to a wide range of affordable services. When you use this, there is no need to worry about legal terminologies and contracts. AWS makes sure that enrolment to its different services is simple. All it requires is a few clicks. If you compare it to the old way of getting things done wherein a contract will bind you, you will have to negotiate for customizations and a fair price with different vendors. 

As you startup, you will have to try out different things to find out what is right for you. Developing and testing on Amazon Web Service has become easier than it used to be in the past, and you will be able to create new developments and test them without any hassle. It is possible to load disk images, delete them, and do your thing. Also, if you want to abandon the work that you have done so far, you can. AWS offers services that enable you to work with DevOps. With AWS, you will access tools that will automate the manual task, help teams take care of complex situations, and keep engineers under control of the high velocity that DevOps has created.

AWS lets startups grow at their own pace without having to think about IT operations. You don’t have to worry about disaster recovery backups. You can use EC2 for synchronizing files between computers while you use S3 for storing disk backups. By using AWS, you can reduce the cost of managing infrastructure. 

Ultimately, it is clear that AWS would outweigh the challenges that you face with Heroku.

Learn how Qovery can help you to migrate from Heroku to AWS seamlessly.

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