Is your "Free" Cloud Hosting Suitable for Production Apps?

| March 20, 2013

pricing1Many supposedly competitive PaaS's and cloud hosting providers attract developers by making it seem easy to start running new apps. They start by offering a small "dose" of resources for free. The accompanying marketing campaigns sometimes seem to be saying: "Take it – it’s free forever".

But as apps start growing, they need more and more resources. And those additional resources are far from free. In fact, at that point the formerly "free" pricing usually becomes very expensive.

In short, it makes no sense to host production applications on the kind of PaaS's that offer a small amount of resources for free, but are too expensive for real usage. Because when your app is ready for production, you have to migrate it to dedicated servers. And then you lose all benefits of PaaS automation. It's even worse if the PaaS you're using has lock-in features, because it will be very painful to migrate your app. In some cases it will be impossible, so you will have to stay and continue paying outrageous prices.

Recently Jelastic introduced a revolutionary pricing model designed explicitly for production applications and extensive scaling. It also includes great discounts for reserved resources and volume usage.

Let’s take a look how it works inside. I will describe the most important details.


One of the main benefits of Jelastic Java and PHP Cloud Hosting is the ability to dynamically scale resources up and down for your servers automatically - based on application demand.

Dynamic resources make that magic happen - they're added when you need them, and removed again as soon as you're done with them. This helps you to cope with celebrity endorsements (e.g. Twitter or Facebook mentions), or any other unexpected surges in demand, without any pre-planning or special coding.

Thanks to the hourly billing, you only pay for those additional resources for the limited amount of time that you need them. So you no longer need to upgrade your entire hosting package for a month or a year just to cope with a short term spike in demand!



With the introduction of Version 1.9, you can now configure Reserved resources for your servers to "pre-book" resource usage in advance. You always pay for Reserved resources, even if your actual resource usage is lower. But in exchange you get a great discount compared to Dynamic resources.

And if you want, you can get fixed pricing for your usage by simply setting all of your servers to only use Reserved resources.



But I personally prefer a mix of the two kinds of resources described above. The best approach is to use Reserved resources for your typical usage (to pay the minimum price), combined with the powerful automatic scaling provided by Dynamic resources to handle your unexpected peaks in demand. So you can get a great discount for Reserved resources and still be ready when load spikes.



Jelastic can also give you automatic discounts for your usage depending on the amount of resources that you consume - so higher-volume usage is automatically cheaper. The availability and the level of discount depends on your chosen hosting provider and the specific resource: cloudlets (RAM and CPU), disk space and traffic. When your app grows, the base price becomes cheaper. In other words, if your app consumes more resources, you pay a lower base price. This allows you to get big discounts for volume of usage.

Compared with other PaaS providers, Jelastic offers the most elastic and flexible cloud hosting platform, while providing fair pricing through a combination of Reserved and Dynamic resources.

And do not forget – Jelastic is the only Global PaaS that does not impose any kind of lock-in features.