I was spending couple of evenings last week looking for German hosted alternatives to Heroku.
Heroku is an absolutely awesome Platform as a Service (PaaS). We at elastic.io are active and paying customers of Heroku for the last two years. We are very happy with the value it provides, however after the NSA scandal we are being very often asked by our users about data protection and the physical locations of our servers (NOTE: we are a German company and Germany has the best data protection laws in the world).
Are there alternatives to Heroku?
While looking onto the alternatives to Heroku I suddenly found many different open-source PaaS platforms like Cloud Foundry, Dokku, Deis, Flynn and etc which is actually a strong indication of a simple fact – Platform as a Service is a commodity. Almost all of these products (may be except Cloud Foundry) are young open source projects, however based on my superficial view deliver similar set of features that one would expect from PaaS.
Good News for users: This is actually good news for PaaS users – as typical PaaS feature-set is similarly based on open source products which will lead to more players on the market, more competition and lower prices.
Bad News for Heroku: At the same time it is a bad news for Heroku (or better to say Salesforce who owns the company) and other players on PaaS market (like CloudBees, CloudControl, and many others) – commoditisation, increased competition and lower margins will push PaaS players into different higher-margin areas.
According to Gartner report on aPaaS many of PaaS vendors realised this dilemma and started to add new products/features to the their PaaS platforms – like plug-ins/add-ons marketplaces, synchronisation / data integration and RAD tools.
So, that’s the question – What do you think will be the next feature/add-on you will expect to see from your PaaS Vendor? Will it be yet another Database or a piece of middleware, or may be API Management / API Enablement tool? I would be very interested to hear what do you think. Tell us what you think on HN or in Dusqus discussion feed below. (Update September 2015: Discussions are closed.)