[LRUG] Running production apps on Heroku

Denny de la Haye denny.d at 38degrees.org.uk
Fri Sep 27 07:14:48 PDT 2019

Hi Matt,

We use Heroku to run almost all of our webapps at 38 Degrees - which
involves a certain amount of spiky traffic depending on how many millions
of our members we've emailed a campaign link to in the last hour :)

We use HireFire to automatically scale horizontally (by adding/removing
Heroku dynos - it can't change the type though, only the quantity).

We use AWS RDS for Postgres and Redislab for Redis, because as other people
have mentioned, the Heroku plugins can get quite pricey quite swiftly when
you start to scale up beyond the free/hobby levels. And we use a mixture of
Sendgrid and AWS SES to send emails, but obviously our requirements are a
bit unusual on that front.

We use NewRelic and Airbrake for monitoring, both of which are pretty good
(in different, complementary ways).

We've rarely if ever had to contact support for any of these companies, and
even less often had to pay for it beyond our ongoing hosting costs (AWS RDS
was the only recent exception that springs to mind; turns out it stores its
log files on the same storage as its data - so if you use up all your
storage and yet your database hasn't grown, now you know where to look
next!) :)

Speaking of which, the thing we're least happy with is logging - you can
pipe your logs out to a variety of third-party services from Heroku
(assuming the built-in view isn't good enough for you, which it probably
won't be). Most of them seem very expensive for what they do, and so far
none of them have had interfaces as usable as grepping a text file, imho!


On Thu, 19 Sep 2019 at 10:13, Matt Collins <matt at mattcollins.net> wrote:

> Hi folks,
> What are your thoughts on running revenue-generating production apps on
> Heroku these days?
> In particular:
> 1) If you've used their standard (non-premium) support, how has the
> experience been for you? Have they been responsive out of US hours?
> 2) Have there been any specific gotchas, e.g. pricing getting out of hand
> for some specific reason?
> For context, I'm working with a small development team that doesn't have a
> lot of sysadmin expertise and we're considering moving our Rails app from a
> single machine managed for us by a hosting provider (who don't seem to have
> a great deal of ruby expertise) onto Heroku.
> We want to:
> -Separate out our staging environment (it's currently on the same machine
> as production)
> -Improve our system security
> -Get greater flexibility, e.g. to spin up new environments for test
> purposes
> -Improve our deployment pipeline
> -Have greater visibility of system configuration
> -Still be able to troubleshoot production issues easily
> These are things we could work on with our current hosting provider and/or
> by migrating to raw AWS but I'm thinking Heroku will do a lot out of the
> box, probably better than we'd set up ourselves.
> Our main concerns are around whether Heroku's 'standard' support will be
> good enough and any gotchas around pricing.
> Would be great to hear about your experiences.
> Thanks,
> Matt
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Denny de la Haye

Campaign Technologist, 38 Degrees
denny.d at 38degrees.org.uk

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