Room for yet one more?

Heroku goes all in for Enterprise Java Cloud Support

Heroku, one of the biggest and oldest PaaS providers in the industry, today announced enterprise-level support for Java. On the face of it, it's a bold move for the company, who until now have been primarily aimed at developers. But delving deeper reveals a completely logic decision as they follow the industry.

They enter a crowded market already saturated with a range of existing Java-based PaaS solutions, including Jelastic, CloudBees and Cumulogic. That’s not even touching upon the wide-reaching, polyglot preaching PaaS of Red Hat’s OpenShift or VMware’s Cloud Foundry - which Heroku seem to be imitating somewhat with today's announcement.

In fact, there are so many competing products that an API has been proposed to standardise interaction at a management level (read our interview with some of the people involved).

While the platform originally began life as a Ruby-centric platform for developers, it has slowly “gone polyglot” and embraced Node.js, Clojure, Python, Scala, PHP and Java, as is the trend these days.

Like its regular product, Heroku Enterprise for Java abstracts away the underlying infrastructure, and therefore the majority of the cost of running large apps, providing a full and up-to-date Java stack with JDK 6 or 7 (or the latest version of 8).

Another selling point of regular Heroku carried across is an emphasis on continuous delivery (utilising Atlassian Bamboo Continuous Integration Service) and dynamic runtime environments, with all scaling and traffic management dealt with behind the scenes. Heroku Enterprise for Java also natively supports the Eclipse IDE, perhaps opening it up further to that community as well, and creating seamless migration to clouds.

While a sanitised environment like this might not be to everyone’s tastes, Oren Teich, Heroku COO claims they can “bring 80 steps down to four.”

"Enterprise developers have been looking for a better way to easily create innovative applications without the hassle of building out a back-end infrastructure," he added.

"With Heroku Enterprise for Java, developers get all the benefits of developing in Java along with the ease of using an open, cloud platform in a single click."

Whilst Heroku has supported Java for many years, it has always been on a community basis and not a enterprise-focused one. A great commitment here indicates that Heroku sees great worth in tapping into the Java enterprise for PaaS, like so many before them have realised. Providing that single click option is a big deal for Heroku moving forward, properly reaching out to enterprise level Java developers, who needed a signal to say it was worth it for them.

Heroku Enterprise for Java pricing starts at $1,000 per month per application with no costs incurred until deployment. That’s a compelling offer, especially for mission-critical applications, and it could undercut others.

Salesforce are making big noises at their Dreamforce conference about making Heroku an integral cog in their strategy. Is there room for one more in the cloud corral when the Java community is already full of choice?

We reckon so, considering it’s less about community-driven individuals, but the hardcore enterprise developers who want a cost reduction and performance upgrade in this area. Heroku might just be the ones to give them that.

Chris Mayer

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