Sinatra 1.0 Released

Sinatra is one of our favorite frameworks at Heroku. Many of our apps use Sinatra, and Blake even works here. All this means we’re extremely excited to congratulate the Sinatra team on the 1.0 release!

You can use Sinatra 1.0 today on Heroku. It works with both the Aspen and Bamboo stacks. Simply add the gem to your .gems file, git push, and you’ll be running Sinatra 1.0!

Memcached Public Beta

The top open request from our recent survey has been for memcached. Memcached is a simple, fast and scalable in-memory object caching system. Dynamic web applications use memcached to store frequently used data, reducing database load. The Heroku memcached add-on is built on the NorthScale distribution of memcached (NorthScale Memcached Server) which includes an advanced, per-user security model. The service is fully managed by NorthScale – a company formed and run by leaders of the memcached open source project.

All Heroku users can use the add-on today. Read the docs for full details on getting started and add away. We’ll be using this beta period to analyze usage, determine final pricing, and collect user feedback. We are aiming for a late April full release of the add-on.

Heroku Casts: Queue Depth & New Relic

New Relic RPM is an on-demand performance management solution for web applications developed in Ruby. New Relic recently introduced an updated agent. Some of the highlights include support for Sinatra and rack apps, as well as background workers.

They also added a great Heroku feature; you can now view your backlog depth history. When a request comes in to Heroku it’s passed to your dynos to process the request. If more requests are coming in than your dynos can handle, the requests queue up. Our docs provide a more detailed overview of performance. The queue is often a sign that you need to increase your dynos or speed up your app. New Relic can now show you the peak and average queue for your app.

This screencast provides an overview of the new feature in New Relic, and some guidance on how to tell when it’s time to crank your dynos.

Public Beta: Deployment Stacks

Heroku Apps run on a fully curated stack with everything from the front end caching to the base libraries selected and managed. Today, we’re making available an additional curated stack, with updated libraries and Ruby VMs. You now have the choice of running on the original “Aspen” stack, or using the new “Bamboo” stack. Both are first class citizens and the choice on which to use is yours to make.

With a single simple command, you can migrate existing apps back and forth between stacks, or deploy new apps to this updated stack. Best of all, as part of the new stack, you also have a choice of Ruby VM between Ruby REE 1.8.7 and Ruby MRI 1.9.1. And yes, you can run Rails 3 too!

$ heroku stack
* bamboo-ree-1.8.7

We’re excited about expanding the options and programs developers can deploy to Heroku. The existing Aspen stack & Ruby 1.8.6 remains fully supported; you can deploy new apps to either stack, and migrate back and forth. To get started today check out the docs.

We’re releasing the new stack as a public beta to solicit feedback from a larger audience. As a public beta, all accounts are already enabled for this feature. We look forward to hearing from you.

Winter 2009 Survey Results

In December we asked our users to take a survey on how they are using Heroku. After collecting the responses, we wanted to share some of the results with the rest of our user community.

Who’s using Heroku?
No surprise, but the majority identify themselves as in the “Software Technology” industry, at 65% of the respondents. The rest of the user base is divided between many groups, from Consultancies with 9%, to the Arts & Entertainment industry with 6% and Healthcare at 2.5%. Respondents reported annual web application budgets as high as $10M/year, with over 13 spending >$100K/annually.

How are they using Heroku?
These users are building a huge range of applications, and often more than one per user:

55.6% of respondents are now or shortly deploying production applications onto Heroku.

Respondents are at the cutting edge of cloud technology. Characteristics of these applications include thorough caching strategies, asynchronous patterns, and alternatives to traditional relational databases.

Reasons for moving to the cloud

In a strong shift from previous studies, respondents said loud and clear that agility is the #1 reason to move to the cloud. Cost, previously the #1 response, only just made it into the top 5 in this survey.

We thank all the people who took the time to fill out the survey, and hope you find the results as interesting as we do!

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