AWS vs Heroku: Which Cloud Platform Is Better?

October 17, 2018 0 Comments

AWS vs Heroku: Which Cloud Platform Is Better?



For many companies today, deploying their software assets to cloud platforms has become a safe and convenient alternative to the traditional on-premise hosting. It does not cost a fortune, so any kind of business, be it a startup or an enterprise, can find a solution suitable for their needs. Moreover, modern cloud services support automatic horizontal scaling and allow controlling all stages of the software development. But how do you choose a cloud platform that will meet your company’s requirements?

It may be a difficult task, as there are a lot of offers on the market, but here we will try to help you make the right decision. In this article, we will review the Heroku vs AWS comparison – these are currently the two most popular and function-rich cloud solutions. This review will help you understand them better.

Why Using Cloud Services Is Beneficial for a Business

Amazon was the first to spread the word about cloud computing – they were first to start popularizing it back in 2006. Technologies evolve rapidly, thus today cloud services can be a huge benefit for a business. Here is a list of the specific advantages:

  • Operational flexibility. The service reacts rapidly to any actions taken by the owner of a web or mobile product and any changes to settings of the latter.
  • Ubiquitous availability. Developers can access and edit data from anywhere in real time, which creates a great foundation for collaborative work.
  • Centralized backup and maintenance. All the top cloud services watch closely over the safety of their clients’ data and the operability of their software.
  • Reduced maintenance costs. Companies of any size can afford the services of modern cloud hosting providers and, obviously, it will cost much less than buying, setting up, and maintaining an on-premise hardware complex.

A survey conducted by the LogicMonitor provides some interesting points to consider:

  • Due to the advantages mentioned above, 83% of business systems are forecast to be deployed in varying cloud platforms by 2020. It includes public, private, and hybrid clouds.
    how to choose a cloud platform


  • Ongoing digital transformation and the speed at which the IT sphere develops are the two driving factors for companies to employ public clouds. And this trend shows no sign of diminishing in the near future.
    Heroku vs AWS comparison


  • More than half of respondents that took part in the survey believe that 95% of commercial workloads will be deployed to clouds within the next 10 years.
    Heroku vs Amazon Web Services


AWS vs Heroku: Detailed Comparison for 2018

Here is the most interesting part – let us compare the two cloud platforms in a side-by-side comparison. Both companies (Amazon in case of AWS and Salesforce in case of Heroku) were founded more than ten years ago and have solid reputations on the market. When making a choice between AWS and Heroku, you should know that both solutions have their fans among global enterprises. AWS is used by Airbnb, Atlassian, Coursera, BMW, and Spotify, while Heroku was chosen by Toyota, Citrix, Yesware, and Facebook. Our main goal for today is to provide enough information to figure out which platform is the best suited for your business. We should separately note that among dozens of instruments offered by Amazon, the closest analog to Heroku is Elastic Beanstalk, while Heroku itself is based on AWS.

Heroku vs Amazon Web Services: Point-by-Point Comparison

Factor of comparisonAmazon Web ServicesHeroku
Deployment models- Platform as a Service (AWS Elastic Beanstalk)
- Infrastructure as a Service (AWS Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2)
Platform as a Service
Main concept- Platform for rapid application deployment (Beanstalk)
- Wide capabilities for the creation of a virtual infrastructure which can be managed easily afterward (EC2)
Platform for rapid application deployment with the ready runtime environment, smart containers (dynos), and app servers
Features- A number of deployment options - App health and changes in the server can be monitored via email - Automatic app scaling depending on the load - Possibility to rollback to previous versions - Adaptive load balancing

- Servers in a cluster can be restarted with a single command

- Manual horizontal and vertical scaling - App version rollback - Database rollback - Monitoring of app health

- GitHub integration

PricingPricing on amazon.comPricing on
Supported languages and toolsNode.js PHP Python Ruby


Java Scala


Scaling- For PaaS, the auto-scaling is based on time and metrics.
- For IaaS, the auto-scaling is set up before deployment along the rest of the infrastructure.
Only manual scaling is available, and there are two ways for it: - Scaling slider in Dashboard

- Command line interface

GeographyAvailable globallyAvailable in Europe, USA, Australia, and Japan

What is the Difference Between PaaS and IaaS models?

This may be the first question that comes to mind upon reviewing the comparison. How do you choose between the two models? What is the fundamental difference? Let us try to answer these questions briefly. Platform as a service (PaaS) model assumes that the hosting provider manages all the fine details of the underlying configurations. This requires less effort and system knowledge from developers, allowing them to focus exclusively on their application and not its operating environment. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) requires setting up an analog to a real network – virtual servers, routers, switches, and end nodes – before deploying the application. This approach is more flexible, allows implementing the skills of traditional IT experts, and, most importantly, testing networking or distributed software in conditions close to the real ones. When choosing a cloud platform and deployment model, keep in mind the size of your business, the type of app, and goals of the development.

A Few Words about the Deployment Process

Both AWS and Heroku supply fast deployment – this is one of the vital characteristics of modern cloud hostings. Nevertheless, the difference in speed and clarity is notably in favor of Heroku. The latter is widely famous in the programming community for its simplest possible process: developers just need to push the app’s code from the Git repository and set several parameters. After this, the app is ready for usage.

Furthermore, maintaining and migrating the app with Heroku is also much less complicated. This service is the best choice for making changes in already existing products – developers can concentrate solely on the product itself and not on the features of cloud services or underlying infrastructures.

Pricing Models

Amazon EC2

Prices include payments for computing time used by ordered instances (virtual computing nodes). Additionally, Amazon charges ingoing/outgoing traffic. Elastic Computing assumes four pricing methods:

  • On-Demand. Instances are charged based on the computing power consumed per hour. No contracts or upfront payments required. System configuration and resource consumption can be changed at any time. Prices start at $0.0052 per hour of single instance depending on the chosen type of instance and region.
  • Spot Instances. In essence, a discounted computing power unused by the instances of the previous model. Discounted prices can reach 10% of On-Demand and are recalculated every 5 minutes depending on the number of free resources, chosen region and instance type. The disadvantage is that your instance(s) can be stopped altogether if all the unused resources are exhausted.
  • Reserved Instances. Allows reserving the instance(s) with the predefined amount of resources with a significant discount (up to 75%) compared to On-Demand.
  • Dedicated Hosts. Allows reserving a dedicated physical EC2 server. The most costly variant, which can also be ordered On-Demand (hourly) or as a Reservation (up to 70% off the On-Demand price). Has the additional benefit of the possibility of using its own licenses for server operating systems and software, and of running several predefined virtual server instances. Prices start at $1.75 per hour of single instance depending on the chosen type of instance and region.

Amazon Elastic Beanstalk

Using the Elastic Beanstalk itself assumes no fees. The pricing depends on the AWS services that must be connected to deploy the application – EC2, S3, RDS/DynamoDB/SimpleDB.


Heroku offers a much less complicated pricing system based on charging for computing time used by ordered predefined virtual servers (called dynos), prorated to seconds. Prices start at $7 per dyno/month.

AWS vs Heroku: Making the Decision

In addition to the above information, you should consider the following factors when making a decision:

Reasons to use AWS

  1. Your product is not yet deployed.
  2. You are not in a rush and have some time to rectify the details for the deployment process.
  3. Your application needs lots of computing power.
  4. There are reliable DevOps specialists on the team who can manage the infrastructure.

Reasons to use Heroku

  1. Your team creates an MVP.
  2. Your product has lots of versions and is updated regularly.
  3. Your application does not involve powerful computations.
  4. You have no DevOps staff/system administrators and do not plan to hire any.


No doubt, cloud deployment is becoming a powerful tool for apps of different types and sizes. As the market is expected to continue growing, it is good to know and understand the main comparison factors and their meaning for your business. Also, if you are going to compare platforms, you should first consider the features of the deployed applications, their size, and their requirements.

The above AWS vs Heroku pricing and features comparison showcases the two great and widely used products with unique market offerings. AWS with its wealth of options is the best for complex capacitive projects, while Heroku is simple to set up, configure and maintain, and provides more freedom for updates and fixes to the deployed software.

Need some professional help choosing and setting up the cloud hosting most suitable for your needs? Contact SoftMediaLab experts

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