In recent years I’ve tried and used several PaaS offerings; AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine and Heroku. Yesterday I finally had a chance to try OpenShift by Red Hat, and was pleasantly surprised by a few particular details. Here’s a quick summary:
The free tier
Like Heroku, the free tier offered will idle with inactivity. If that’s cool with you, the free tier is pretty great — for example, you can add multiple domain aliases and host a multi-site CMS using your own domains.
Custom SSL certificates
If you’ve upgraded to a paid plan, this is an option and it’s super easy to upload certs. Note: you still get the 3 small gears for free when you upgrade to Bronze.
Temp and persistent data directories
A temp directory is available for reading/writing files to. Some PaaS offerings don’t support this, which can make working with legacy apps particularly difficult. Also, non-scalable applications get a persistent data directory.
You can actually SSH into an instance — great for debugging and even for loading data/assets into the persistent data directory.
Normally when you deploy your app services get restarted. Not if you enable hot deployments.
MySQL is available & supported
An officially supported ‘gear’ is available for MySQL. It’s nice that it’s not an add-on as with other PaaS offerings.
Paid plans not available worldwide (yet)
Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t actually upgrade to a paid plan because this isn’t available for Australian customers. But you can register your interest here.
I will be keeping a close eye on OpenShift, and definitely recommend checking it out next time you’re looking for a PaaS.