Easy Hosting With Platform As a Service ( Openshift / Appfog)

Cloud computing has dramatically changed how business applications are built and run. As one of the three main categories of cloud computing service, PaaS allows developers to easily prototype applications without handling any hardware or configuring servers. The main benefits that PaaS offer over traditional hostings are:

  • Less initial investment and less risk.
  • Lower startup cost (Absolutely free for startup plan).
  • Less server maintenance. You do not need to worry about server uptime and configurations.
  • Paying only for what you need.
  • Quick scaling.
  • Easy switching of sets/resources as needed.

Choosing a PaaS solution can be a challenging task. There are many PaaS solutions nowadays which differ in terms of supported technologies, databases, server resources (memory, disk space) and scalability.

Two of the very best new PaaS solutions are OpenShift and Appfog. OpenShift platform is a Red Hat product which supports a number of programming environments such as Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js. Similarly, Appfog platform allows developers freedom in creating a server app in any of the above programming platforms. In addition, we have the options to create a server app based on existing templates such as PHP Drupal, WordPress, Ruby Sinatra, Python Django, Java Spring. To get started, both Appfog and Openshift offer us genereous server resources for our apps for FREE which are far better than any shared hosting/VPS platforms.

OpenShift offers FreeShift (free solution) which has a memory limit of 512MB RAM and 1GB disk space limitation for our apps. The apps truly run on a shared hosting environments with other developers. We could also ssh or log in to the app server which is an Amazon server example in the US. Code deployment is done easily and quickly with git version control.

Appfog is more generous. The free plan allows unlimited apps up to 2GB of RAM and 50GB data move limit. In addition, we could choose the server location to be in Europe, Asia or US. As I am in Singapore, I prefer an Amazon example in Asia which offers faster access and speed. Openshift Amazon example is US based and takes twice as long to access.

Appfog allows us to create an app in only 1 minute via a friendly admin interface. We could also configure domain names for our app instances, start/ stop our apps and add ecosystem variables. Perhaps, the most important characterize is the ability to quickly clone and create additional instances of your app for scaling. The Appfog admin console interface is much more powerful than the OpenShift Management Console. If you are more technical, it is probably better to use command lines in OpenShift which gives more choices.

In conclusion, both Appfog and OpenShift are great alternatives to shared hosting or VPS for small applications/websites. The free plans offer generous resources and enables small business to quickly kickstart their websites. It is also an option for bloggers to great number their personal WordPress blogs here for FREE. There are no restrictions on the number of produced blogs. Just a information of caution, PaaS is a lot more expensive than shared hosting/VPS hosting if you want to extent up your website or exceeds the free limit.

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